Archbishop Leo Cushley, new Archbishop of St Andrew’s & Edinburgh: there’s no crisis in the Church in Scotland…

Archbishop Leo Cushley, new Archbishop of St Andrew’s & Edinburgh: there’s no crisis in the Church in Scotland…


The new Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh has been consecrated at a ceremony in Edinburgh…

Speaking to the BBC last week, Archbishop Cushley said he did not believe the cardinal (O’Brien) would or should return to Scotland.

But he denied that the Catholic Church in Scotland was in crisis in the wake of the scandal.

He added: “I think the fundamentals are very solid, very sound, but I can’t deny there are important issues that I’m going to have to deal with.” Click on the photo to read the rest of this BBC report.

Then reflect:

According to Edinburgh’s new Archbishop, there’s no crisis in the Church in Scotland. That’s a relief. Either that, or it’s a classic case of “being in denial”, as all the best psychiatrists say…

Personally, I doubt there will be any noticeable change for the better within the Catholic Church in Scotland in the foreseeable future – what do you think?

Comments (52)

  • John Shacklefree

    He needs to change his glasses. None so blind as those who will not see.

    September 22, 2013 at 9:55 am
  • catholicconvert1

    How are you defining crisis in the Church in Scotland? I assume that you are looking at it from a liturgical level. If you how have you managed to distinguish this from the crisis anywhere else. In my view, the Church is leaving the crisis of the 1980s-90s, because the number of seminarians and members of Holy Orders are growing, as is the number of converts, not to mention the growth of the Latin Mass.

    September 22, 2013 at 11:23 am
    • Petrus


      No, we do not look at it from a “liturgical” level. The Church is in complete crisis at every level. In a nutshell, we have bad bishops being appointed. This has been the case for decades. These bishops do not preach the Catholic Faith. Therefore, the priests do not preach the Catholic Faith. When the priests do not preach the Faith, lay Catholics don’t understand the Faith. The result is confusion.

      We have a pope who preaches confusion. A pope who appoints a heretic as the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. This man should be investigated by the Congregation he leads. It’s like appointing an arsonist as the head of the Fire Brigade.

      What happens when the Faith is lost? Morals are cast aside. Look at the child abuse scandal. This is the result of the loss of Faith. Look at the broken families – children conceived out of wedlock, siblings with different fathers or mothers etc. We will never know how many babies have been aborted due to this loss of Faith. The majority of Catholics contracept. Quite openly. Co-habiting and contracepting couples feel quite at ease receiving Holy Communion.

      Then we have the whole homosexual scandal. The “Gay” Masses in Soho (not to mention quite a few in Scotland) are a prime example. Successive Archbishops of Westminster refused to deal with these Masses. In fact, those of us who campaigned against these terrible events were told to “hold our tongue” by the current Archbishop. Here in Scotland, we had quite a public funeral for a homosexual Catholic lawyer which was attended by the First Minister of Scotland and many other members of the Scottish Government. During this Mass the parish priest publicly acknowledged the dead man’s “gay” partner.

      As for the growing number of ordinations and seminarians, I take that with a pinch of salt. If you three ordained one year and four ordained the next year, that is an increase, but it is a tiny increase. Big deal. So, I don’t believe that vocations are increasing significantly. Of course, it’s not a numbers game. Even if we had 40 priests ordained, I’d bet that the vast majority wouldn’t hold the authentic Catholic Faith. Throughout the West of Scotland, I know of only three priests that could be described as Catholic priests in the true sense of the term. In Scotland we have gone from three seminaries to one and parishes are closing left, right and centre.

      What about Catholic education? Have YOU stepped foot in a Catholic school recently? Looked at the materials used? Spoken to the teachers? Let me tell you this, they are about as Catholic as Masonic Halls. The Bishops of this country allowed a RE scheme to be used for almost two decades that was barely Christian, nevermind Catholic.

      So, CatholicConvert – these are just some of the reasons why the Church is in crisis. Have a look back, I didn’t even touch on the issue of the liturgy.

      September 22, 2013 at 3:01 pm
  • Theresa Rose

    Well said Petrus, I agree with you.

    Adding to what you say about the Pope preaching confusion. And, appointing a heretic as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. There is a very small article in one of Scotland’s newspaper, The Sunday Post titled ‘Pope removes Cardinal’.

    “Pope Francis has effectively demoted an Italian Cardinal who led the Vatican’s department on clergy.
    He removed Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, with a reputation for being highly traditional on matters of Liturgy and priestly celibacy. from the important post of Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy”.

    The article can be found on page 11 and is so small an item, that it could be easily missed.

    September 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm
  • Student

    I think we shouldn’t be so harsh…. Remember Archbishop Cushley has to try and keep the morale of the priests and laity up. What is good though is that he seems to be a step in the right direction. The consecration Mass yesterday was about as traditional as you’re going to get, his words and actions, though nuanced, were a strong rejection of the current culture in the Scottish Church. What’s more, I’ve heard well placed rumours that there is going to be big structural changes afoot in time to come

    September 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm
    • Whistleblower

      Sorry, student, but the time for nuanced comments is well and truly over. The great prelates of the Church didn’t used nuanced comments and neither did Our Lord.

      The Church in Scotland is going through an absolutely unprecedented crisis. The Cardinal Archbishop resigned in the most scandalous of circumstances, yet Archbishop Cushley rejects the notion that the Church is in crisis. That’s not a rejection of the current culture – that’s denial.

      As for serious structural changes, do you mean similar Pope Francis’ reform of the Curia? I’ll believe it when I see it!

      September 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm
    • editor


      Slightly off topic (although it does go to the crisis in the Church in Scotland0 but I’m curious to know if your group did stage something at the university when Hillary Clinton visited to collect her honorary degree. How did you get on?

      September 22, 2013 at 11:45 pm
      • Student

        Due to security concerns the students had to hold what they did on the Friday before she received her honorary degree. But they sure did it! Though I think it was a SPUC organised thing

        September 23, 2013 at 12:33 am
      • editor


        National and other “security” is a euphemism for keeping “nuisances ” in their place. They clearly wouldn’t want the media focusing on the pro-lifers instead of Mzzzz Clinton, now, would they?

        Still good that they some students did something positive to counter the scandal.

        September 23, 2013 at 12:42 am
      • Constantine the Great

        Comment removed

        September 23, 2013 at 8:00 am
  • catholicconvert1

    Thanks, Petrus for clearing that up. That’s also truly shocking about what the Pope has done to Cardinal Piacenza.

    September 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm
  • neri

    I’m sad to hear about Cardinal Piacenza, who hoped perpetual adoration would be in place in at least one part of every diocese in the world – i see nothing now in st andrews and edinburgh. I’m sadder to read of criticism of the pope here, i refuse to criticise the holy father in any way.

    What i believe was pointed out by the archbishop was that the fundamentals are fine – the church will always be built on rock. However – the o’brien scandal has made us a world embarrassment.

    Lets think about that, the goings on in the church in Scotland have embarrassed and humiliated the catholic church throughout the whole world – during a papal election.

    I think the first place to look will be the Cathedral itself, where a milquetoast and faintly anglican sensibility holds sway – i find it bizarre that no serving priest, in what is presumably the most important church in Scotland, actually appears to be Scottish.

    This is to say nothing of the continued presence of new age practices, chi -gung, yoga etc which are still advertised and held on site – with the staff of the cathedral cafe being members of the beltane pagan organisation to boot.

    Clearly something is wrong.

    September 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm
  • chardom

    The lot of You, especially Petrus, STOP WHINING AND WHINGING: Spend that time in PRAYER and FASTING. You might find that it will do more good for all concerned but PLEASE PLEASE cut the whining its getting boring

    September 22, 2013 at 11:01 pm
    • editor


      Hilarious – thanks for that bit of light relief…

      September 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm
      • chardom

        Editor, You may mock and belittle me to your hearts content, You are very talented in belittling others whose views are not yours. However to mock the suggestion of prayer and fasting, to ask for divine intervention, is not from me but from Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; who left us many examples of Prayer and Fasting in the Holy Scriptures. To mock Our Lords example in such a manner is truly shocking. No TRUE Catholic would ever permit themselves to do such a thing. You are no true catholic!!!!!! You have shown your true colours and they are not acceptable. Perhaps you should rename this blog Catholic Banality.
        Such mocking of Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ has only one source; Satan!!!

        September 23, 2013 at 5:25 am
      • editor


        YOU are the one doing the mocking. You belittle the truth you find on this blog and label it “whining and whinging”.

        You say Our Lord left us many examples of prayer and fasting in the Scriptures, but you forget that he also left us a clear instruction not to boast about it. We are not supposed to let our right hand know what our left hand is doing in that regard.

        If you don’t want to participate in the discussions here, then keep your opinions about us to yourself. We are not interested. The sheer arrogance of those, like you, who haven’t got a word to say on the topic, but want to be nasty towards other people who wish to discuss the various issues, beggars belief.

        Now, any future nasty posts are going to be deleted. Be warned. You don’t get warnings on other blogs – you just get deleted, so forget about claiming I delete people with whom I disagree – baloney. You say nothing on the topic so where’s the “disagreement”? You might have nothing else to do but engage in nasty pettiness but the rest of us are very busy people. Your choice is simple: engage with the topic or disappear.


        September 23, 2013 at 9:26 am
    • Whistleblower


      I guess Our Lord should have quit whinging when He drove the tax collectors from the temple?

      September 22, 2013 at 11:50 pm
      • editor


        Sure thing – and what was all that about “whited sepulchres”?

        September 23, 2013 at 12:45 am
      • chardom

        Comment removed

        September 23, 2013 at 5:26 am
  • Theresa Rose

    The above link is from the Scottish Catholic Media Office about the consecration ceremony of Archbishop Leo Cushley. It mentions some of those who attended, plus a homily given by the new Archbishop. What do you think?

    September 23, 2013 at 11:35 am
  • catholicconvert1


    Ignore Chardom, you’ve never belittled me or anyone else to my knowledge? You and I have had our disagreements, but never deleted any of my posts which disagreed with you.


    I’m intrigued, how have you come to the conclusion that Editor is not Catholic? Be honest are you daft or dopey?

    September 23, 2013 at 11:58 am
    • editor

      Catholic Convert,

      Thank you for your kind words. I do not – ever – delete comments because I disagree with them. I’m a teacher by profession so my instinct is to correct and discuss with a view to clearing up misunderstandings etc. Only if there are personally nasty remarks or similar uncalled for nastiness aimed at leading us into acrimony, have I ever deleted comments. I’m taking it that your final question to Chardom is offered in a spirit of light-hearted banter so let’s just hope that she is mature enough to see it that way.

      September 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm
  • cbucket

    It seems the Archbishop has been taking advice from the Iraqi information minister.

    September 23, 2013 at 11:59 pm
  • scottish priest

    Archbishop Cushley is not going to give food for the lions of the media to devour by admitting there is a crisis in the Church that would be deeply foolish and naive. In the first year he will listen and meet with his priests then I think we watch watch for the changes that will indicate whether he is dealing with said crisis or not. It takes a long time to heal and only Jesus who never leaves His Church can bring thaty lasting tru and authentic peace and transformation.
    Cardinal Piacenza I here has a heart condition and has asked to step down although this does not seem to be public knowledge


    On a previous thread I forgot to answer: the priest should make a simple bow before entering the sanctuary to the Altar as it is the place of “sacrifice” when the sacred hosts are returned to the tabernacle he would genuflect at that point. In this way, the Mass as sacrifice is maintained in the gestures. If you don’t bow and walk past the altar it can lead to considering the altar as merely a table of fellowship rather than the altar of sacrifice.

    September 24, 2013 at 8:47 am
  • Nolite Timere


    What about Catholic education? Have YOU stepped foot in a Catholic school recently?

    I’m always amazed that you have an amazing knowledge of what goes on in a Catholic School when you choose not to work in one but instead work in a non denom school teaching about false gods

    September 24, 2013 at 7:43 pm
    • editor

      Nolite Timere,

      Maybe it’s because Petrus, like my unworthy self, is in frequent contact with parents who have chosen to home-school rather than risk their children losing the faith and/or being morally corrupted.

      You are also being disingenuous in your parting shot. Petrus is doing what YOU do in Catholic schools, teaching ABOUT false gods – except, in Catholic schools teachers have been heard saying that these false gods are OK. Indeed, one of the home-schooling parents who asked me to contribute some English lessons to her programme, was finally forced to withdraw her daughter from any lessons where religion was being taught or even mentioned, she said, after her daughter remarked that she hadn’t known (before teacher told the class) that the Muslims worship the same God as we do and such like.

      And when I was a student teacher at Bearsden, we were told (a) that Original Sin was much too difficult to teach – forget that BUT (b) don’t forget to teach about all the Hindu gods – the kids love that. (No they don’t, in fact!)

      So, don’t be silly, Nolite Timere unless you really do want us wondering whether YOU are a real, live teacher or not.

      September 24, 2013 at 7:57 pm
    • Petrus

      Nolite Timere,

      I was in a Catholic primary school a few weeks ago talking to a Catholic teacher who hasn’t been to Mass in about 10 years. She was telling me that the children recently took part in an ecumenical service, held in the Catholic school, presided over by a Baptist minister.

      I had a look at the materials used to deliver the RE programme. I wasn’t overly impressed. If that material was used in a Church of Scotland Sunday school class, no one would bat an eye lid. Believe me, I would know!

      So, from my many years teaching in Catholic schools, my constant contact with teachers in Catholic schools and my contact with parents who would rather home educate than send their children to the Roman Protestant schools in the West of Scotland, I can conclude that I couldn’t recommend sending my pet guinea pigs to any school starting with “Saint”.

      September 24, 2013 at 9:39 pm
      • crofterlady

        You said above that there is one seminary left in Scotland? Which one? I thought that they had all closed.

        Great comments about “Catholic” schools.

        September 26, 2013 at 11:10 am
  • catholicconvert1


    You said that you were a teacher in Catholic schools for many years. What did you do to make sure the children were educated in accordance with Catholic beliefs? Also, what do you do to protect your 3 children from sin? I don’t know how old they are, but would you pull them out of sex education lessons?

    September 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm
    • Petrus

      Catholic Convert

      The first part of your post is quite complicated to answer. The short answer is that I didn’t do enough to make sure children were educated according to Catholic beliefs. I was part of the problem. I did sense that things weren’t right and I taught from the Penny Catechism, but all in all I didn’t do enough. I wasn’t a Traditional Catholic at the time.

      What do I do to protect my own children from sin? Well, for a start I he educate them. Catholic schools are so unbelievably appalling I wouldn’t send the next door neighbour’s budgie. Secondly, I use sound material to teach them. Most importantly, I try (but often fail) to set a good example. We avoid the Novus Ordo Mass and try to cling to Tradition.

      September 27, 2013 at 6:21 am
  • scottish priest

    another question that needs answered: what makes a school authentically Catholic?

    September 27, 2013 at 8:23 am
  • editor

    Scottish Priest,

    My answer would be the same as the answer to the question “what makes a school authentically good at teaching Maths” – that the Maths is soundly and thoroughly taught.

    A school where the Faith is thoroughly and soundly taught – contrary to what Pope Francis seems to be saying – is a school where pupils will be set on the path to an authentic “relationship” with Christ, where, as St Paul says, they are able to give reasons for the hope that is in them – the Faith, whole and entire. Focusing on a “touchy feely” “relationship” with Christ first, so to speak, is like building a house on sand. The Catholic religion does not make sense in bits and pieces – it’s only when it is understood as a whole, that it “hangs together”. Carefully planned, a school should be able to do that in a relatively short time-span.

    All the rest, the much lauded “ethos” etc then falls into place. Walking around a school with statues and crucifixes galore (unlikely these days, I know) where they are teaching that one religion is as good as another, or it doesn’t really matter if you’re married or cohabiting etc. THAT makes no sense to young people (or anyone else) at all and leads them to dismiss the Church as an irrelevance.

    “Authentic” means “the real thing” – unless they get the real Catholic Faith taught and presented to them in the lives of their teachers, notwithstanding that there will be some non-Catholics teaching of course, there cannot be any authentic Catholic school.

    September 27, 2013 at 10:29 am
  • catholicconvert1


    So I take it you, or your wife, homeschool your children?

    September 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm
    • Petrus


      My wife and I both homeschool our children.

      September 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm
      • Nicky


        I admire home-schoolers but what do you say to people who think you are denying your children the school experience and the chance to mix with all sorts of different children?

        September 28, 2013 at 11:49 am
      • Petrus


        I suppose it’s a question of what you consider most important. The “school experience” isn’t, in my opinion , vital. Ensuring your child keeps the Faith and saves his or her soul IS! I’d rather my children were bin men and got to Heaven than doctors and lawyers who end up in hell.

        As for giving my children the opportunity to mix with all sorts of children, is this really necessary? What about rural communities where the school has a tiny roll? For the record, my children mix with lots of children, but I tell you something – I’m glad I can chose who they mix with because there are some types I really wouldn’t want them mixing with.

        As for supporting Catholic Schools and “keeping check” on what’s going on – no, we are long past that. I’d have to ensure the entire curriculum was thrown out and that the new Mass and Sacraments weren’t used. In other words, “it ain’t never gonna happen.”

        September 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm
      • Nicky


        I wonder about supporting the Catholic school system – wouldn’t a parent like you (and your wife) be able to keep a check on what is being taught and help to uphold standards by refusing to accept teachers who don’t teach Catholicism properly and so on? So many, probably most, don’t bother and just take what’s given but if educated parents are not slow to speak up, surely that would help raise standards in Catholic education?

        September 28, 2013 at 11:51 am
  • Miles Immaculatae

    I am very supportive towards the idea of home schooling. If I had the time and resources, I would certainly consider it if I have children in the future. There remains a aspect of romanticism about the idea however, since my mother had a very poor standard of education, my stepfather couldn’t even read, and they simply wouldn’t have had the confidence nor even the competence to guide our learning in literacy and numeracy, let alone the sciences and humanities and critical thinking which form the essentials of a good education.

    Most Catholics rely on Catholic Schools for the education of their children. Catholic schools are vital, home schooling cannot generally be considered a feasible alternative. This is why it is such a scandal our Catholic education system is in such a mess. My family, although not Catholic, has experience with Catholic schools, and our view is pitifully low. My mother eventually withdrew my younger siblings and sent them to a C of E school, which was excellent. My younger siblings attended Anglican prayers at the village church next door every Friday.

    September 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    Contrary to popular belief about homeschooled children being insulated and socially ‘backward’ for want of a better, numerous sources say these children are more developed, mature and responsible than their publicly educated counterparts. Follow this link and go to Section 7.1- I know it’s wiki but there are some excellent sources from the USA, where homeschooling is most popular.

    After my confirmation, I’m seriously considering becoming a Catechist. I will educate those who are wanting to be confirmed using the Tridentine Catechism. The best thing is the Priest and the nuns won’t be there with me taking the lessons. We can but hope.

    September 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae

      The Roman Catechism would rarely be used for Confirmation catechesis: it’s very heavy, and in that sense, although an outstanding work, it is not that good a ‘catechism-for-catechesis’; well not teenagers at least, unless they were particularly bright. Try some other materials, like the penny catechism, the Baltimore, the Catechism of Pius X etc..

      Do you think you would pass the RCIA selection process?

      September 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    ‘Do you think you would pass the RCIA selection process’?

    I can’t be that much of a thicko, if that’s what you are implying, because I start my 2nd year at University on Monday. However, i’m sure I could grasp it.

    September 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    Ooh, I didn’t know there was a selection process. My Priest never mentioned it.

    September 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae

      I wasn’t criticising your intellect CC. I was saying that precisely because of your intellectual understanding, and specifically rather your zeal for the Catholic Faith, you would be looked down on by the liberal priests and lay catechists who hold the majority of power over RCIA in many parishes in England.

      You might be suspected for your orthodoxy. That’s what I meant. And for this reason, you might not ‘pass’ a kind of unofficial ‘selection process’, much in the same way orthodox candidates once found/find it difficult to be accepted in certain seminaries and religious houses.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:09 am
    • Miles Immaculatae

      There isn’t one, sorry to confuse you. I meant it metaphorically, if that’s the right word. I wouldn’t mention it to him.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:11 am
  • max

    There is no selection process. the first stage of “inquiry”is precisely that – a stage where people interested in the CAtholic faith can come along and find out more. Since the RCIA was created for the church in africa many years ago most priests have to change and adapt it for the needs of the group and the various abilities therein.

    September 28, 2013 at 11:32 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae

      You have misunderstood. There is most definitely a selection process for catechists. Or at least one would hope the parish priest would employ some kind of selection criteria, otherwise any old nutter could lead RCIA.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:01 am
      • scottish priest

        I cant speak for others I do my catechesis with another chap I know to be orthodox and traditional. it is crucial that the p be involved or other ideas leak into the programme and that is a worry for sure

        September 29, 2013 at 8:38 pm
      • Miles Immaculatae

        As I thought. That is simple prudence.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm
  • editor

    Miles Immaculatae,

    Since “any old nutter” may apply to be an EMHC and “any old nutter” can read at the NOM, I don’t see why “any old nutter” can’t lead the RCIA.

    You need to get with the “diversity” programme, Miles, where nutters (young AND old) are very welcome!

    September 29, 2013 at 12:12 am
  • catholicconvert1

    I thought, from your reply, where I thought you said I might not ‘get the Trent Catechism, you said the Catechumens had to go through a selection process. Mea Culpa.

    September 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    Is it you that lives at Manchester, or am I getting you muddled up with Sixupman?

    September 29, 2013 at 8:22 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae

      My family lives in Cheshire, near the border with Greater Manchester. I did RCIA in Manchester, at the university chaplaincy. When I visited home I used to attend Mass at the Manchester Oratory, which used to be at the Holy Name, before it moved to Saint Chad’s. I live in Scotland because I am a student. When I visit home I usually attend the SSPX chapels in either Liverpool or Whalley Range Manchester.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm

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