Church in Scotland – A Tragic End…

Church in Scotland – A Tragic End…

The video below actually came to me from the Holy Family Apostolate in Edinburgh, as a PowerPoint slide show. Our webmaster managed to get it into video format for use on this blog, but, unfortunately, without the music. The music served to underline the tragic poignancy of the pictures of this once beautiful Catholic church in the Scottish diocese of Paisley, St Joseph’s, Lochwinnoch (which actually borders Galloway and Paisley) now in ruins. No slip of the keyboard there: both the parish church at Lochwinnoch and the diocesan churches across Scotland lie in ruins. If you think differently, of course, tell us.

Acknowledgement to the Holy Family Apostolate in Edinburgh, for sending us the original, very moving, power-point presentation.


Comments (45)

  • Crossraguel

    I think Lochwinnoch is over the border in Paisley?

    September 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm
    • editor

      Thanks Crossraguel – that is what comes of typing at almost 100 wpm and not checking my geography! Mind you, I did think as I typed the original that this could be any diocese in Scotland. In fact, I had planned to do a similar photo-post of the tragic ruins of Our Lady of Fatima church in Dalmarnock, Glasgow, when I stumbled across some photos online some time ago but didn’t get round to it.

      Anyway, I’ve now changed some of the text. Thanks for the alert. I can be such a numpty!

      September 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm
    • editor

      Crossraguel, what did you think of that video? Do you agree that it is like a microcosm of the state of the Church in Scotland or are you thinking of joining the growing band of “new springtime” Catholics in the mould of “Holy Father Francis” (as the dissenters love to call him! Previously, you wouldn’t hear them using the title “Holy Father” – interesting?)

      Your views welcome – after all, you don’t want me thinking you’re just reading this blog waiting for me to make a mistake so you can pounce, would you! Of course not. Let’s hear it then…

      September 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm
      • Crossraguel


        I acknowledge having contributed little in recent weeks, hopefully the safe delivery of our latest addition to the family under the patronage of St. Therese tomorrow will somewhat remedy this, or at least be the start of the end of it.

        Of course I don’t seek just to criticise, indeed thought it appropriate to highlight the error quickly to avoid any criticism being levelled on the basis that it targeted the wrong diocese. Nor have I lately subscribed to any springtime for VII or other new dawn stuff, though am still clinging to the belief that there may be an upshot for the Church from initiatives emanating from His Holiness which appear on instinct to be wholly going in the opposite direction. We’ll see, will take medicinal advice from any bloggers who have already plumbed the depths o despair if and when I eventually join them…

        September 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm
      • editor


        I didn’t know you were expecting a new arrival in the family – that’s wonderful! And on the Feast of my favourite Saint, too! I’m delighted. Ignore my jibes about “pouncing” then – I’m not only a right old numpty today but I’m a very uncharitable numpty at that!

        As for your take on the possible outcome of the new Pope’s worrying (to say the least) utterances – that’s an entirely new way of thinking about things: talk about optimism over realism! Actually, I think you are right, at least in part. The really thinking Catholics, seeing and hearing what this new pope is saying, will begin to “get it” – already the SSPX chapel in Glasgow is seeing a rise in newcomers.

        Which brings us full circle to your expected new arrival tomorrow. You MUST let us know when he/she arrives, name (if it’s a girl, do you really have a choice???) My own latest (great) niece is named Theresa-Marie so tomorrow is a special day for her, as well, although at seven months, I doubt if she’ll realise it!

        Thinking of you and your family tomorrow and looking forward to hearing about the safe arrival of the latest addition to the Crossraguel family…

        September 30, 2013 at 6:54 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    It looks a beautiful Church. You can still see the Spirit at work there. It’s such a pity. Why did it close? No more attendance perhaps? Was it a traditionalist Church?

    September 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm
    • Vianney

      Well it would have been Traditional before Vatican II. Actually it was the chapel of St. Joseph’s college, a seminary for the Mill Hill Fathers but they closed the college in 1985. The parish church of Lochwinnoch is Our Lady of Fatima which is still in use.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:39 pm
    • Whistleblower


      I’d be interested to know how you can see “the Spirit at work”. I’ve never heard that before….

      September 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm
  • Oscar Romero

    Isn’t it terrible? So tragic. Speaking of the Dioces of Galloway, did anyone read the Catholic Observer this weekend? A priest of the Diocese has written an article claiming that the Bishop has said things to make people think there is some scandal about his priesthood. Shocking.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm
    • editor

      Oscar Romero,

      Yes, it’s truly tragic what is happening to the Church in Scotland.

      I’ve just read that article by Fr Lawson, but please do not jump to any conclusions about this.

      As I’ve already said on this blog when the subject of Fr Lawson’s dismissal was first publicised, Catholic Truth has had occasion to contact this priest in the past. I do not think for a second that Bishop Cunningham has acted improperly at all. I rather think he’s had very good reason for acting as he has done and I am sure it is actually in Fr Lawson’s best interests for no more to be said on the matter, certainly at this time.Hence my amazement at his article in today’s Scottish Catholic Observer.

      In any event, it is one kind of scandal or another involving clergy (and of course hierarchy) – together with the liturgical desert that is the Catholic Church in Scotland – which has led to the sorry state of affairs in the Church here today. Fr Lawson would be well advised to remain silent now.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm
      • Whistleblower

        have real sympathy for the Bishop of Galloway. Father Lawson’s insinuation that the Bishop is leading people to speculate about the possibility of scandal is appalling and Liz Leydon, the editor of the Catholic Observer, should be ashamed that she published that.

        It appears that Father Lawson’s protestations that there is no scandal is not entirely accurate. I’m led to believe that as recently as last month, information was placed into the bishop’s hands regarding Father Lawson’s time as parish priest in Dalry. Considering that Catholic Truth had cause to investigate Father Lawson some time ago (I could be wrong but I’m sure it was around the time that CT investigated the extent of homosexual activity within the priesthood) and now recent information has come to light, I think Father Lawson was incredibly foolish to claim so forthrightly that there is no scandal.

        September 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm
      • editor


        “Considering that Catholic Truth had cause to investigate Father Lawson some time ago (I could be wrong but I’m sure it was around the time that CT investigated the extent of homosexual activity within the priesthood)”

        You are correct. Fr Lawson’s name was passed to us, along with several others (by a concerned priest) during our homosexuality research.

        Now, for the record, Fr Lawson denied, outright, the allegations put to him which meant that we would not and did not publish them. We will not publish them here, either. If they are now before the Bishop, that’s fine. No need for us to publish a thing. Far from “outing” anyone, our aim was to expose those determined in their duplicitous lifestyle while allowing an opportunity for those who realised they were doing the wrong thing, to stop. We were called “naïve” at the time but from my reading of St Thomas Aquinas, I fail to see how we could do anything else.

        Personally, I’m amazed that Fr Lawson wrote the article published in the Scottish Catholic Observer this week and even more amazed at the letter from a parishioner published in the same edition, withholding money from the parish collection plate, etc until Fr Lawson is re-instated. There appears to be a real campaign going to undermine the bishop’s authority and to force him to re-instate Fr Lawson. I think the parishioners should put some of that much lauded “obedience” to work – you know, the “obedience” that is only mentioned when modernists wish to attack the SSPX – and allow the bishop to do what he is supposed to do under Canon Law. When information is passed to any authorities – police or church – they must investigate.

        If the information turns out to be false, Fr Lawson will be re-instated. If not, he is setting himself up for a great deal of humiliation and his parishioners for serious disappointment and disillusionment.

        We should pray very hard for both Bishop Cunningham and Father Lawson in this very serious situation.

        September 30, 2013 at 11:07 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae

    Some Catholics in Scotland will see it differently. Some people will claim there is lots of evidence we are experiencing a New Springtime. Someone has mentioned it on this blog before. The analogy to the frog in boiling water. If you put it in boiling water it will jump out. If you put it in cool water and slowly heat it up, it will stay there as long as the water heats gradually. It will literally allow you to boil it to death.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:24 pm
    • Lily

      Miles Immaculatae,

      That’s a very good analogy about the frog. I think that describes most Catholics in Scotland today, especially about the Mass, since most just go with the flow on this.

      Here’s an interesting remark:

      “St. Alphonsus Liguori (Bishop, Doctor of the Church and Patron of Theologians) explains that “The devil has always attempted, by means of the heretics, to deprive the world of the Mass, making them precursors of the Anti-Christ, who, before anything else, will try to abolish and will actually abolish the Holy Sacrament of the altar, as a punishment for the sins of men, according to the prediction of Daniel: ‘And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice’ (Dan. 8:12).”

      I’d be interested to know what others think about this since it seems to be saying that the new Mass is foretold in Scripture as part of the attack on the Holy Sacrifice. Or am I not reading it right?

      September 30, 2013 at 12:22 am
  • Nicky


    I think people get confused about this because the new Mass is in common use. But the Traditional Mass has never been abrogated and is still in quite widespread use, when you count all the SSPX, FSSP, and Summorum Pontificum Masses, so I personally don’t think that the new Mass is “foretold in Scripture as part of the attack on the Holy Sacrifice”.

    September 30, 2013 at 8:15 am
    • sixupman

      Circa 1960, one of the memorable sermons of the then parish priest at Redhill, Surrey, foretold the demise of Latin and the dominance of the vernacular and a diluted form of Mass. He spoke as a warning of the trend which started with the introduction of the “Dialogue Mass”.

      Salford Diocese: one Sunday Diocesan TLM; one Friday and one Thursday evening and one Saturday morning; hardly widespread in a diocese of the size and component of Salford. One SSPX Mass Sunday and Holydays.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:56 am
    • Petrus


      What you have missed is that the Traditional Mass is only still in use and we only know that the Traditional Mass was never abrogated because of one man – Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. It is because of him and him alone that we still have the true Mass. No Archbishop Lefebvre = No SSPX, No FSSP, No Summorum Pontificum and therefore no Traditional Mass.

      The introduction of the New Mass was an attempt to destroy the Roman Rite. Of course, it was a cunning move. The enemies of the Church couldn’t have simply abolished the Mass because the Catholic world wouldn’t have allowed it. No, they quietly introduced hybrid after hybrid until the New Mass made its grand entrance in 1969. Even then, we had none of the abuses we had no. So, the liturgical revolution IS indeed an attempt to destroy the Catholic Mass.

      What is clear, though, is that Christ has not abandoned His Church. In times of trial, Our Lord raises up a hero. Archbishop Lefebvre was that man and one day he will be raised to Sainthood. The New Mass and the liturgical revolution do not take away from the indefectibility of Christ’s Church. Bad churchmen, including popes, have introduced these abuses – not “The Church”. When Pope John Paul II kissed the Koran, the Church was not proclaiming that we should all go out and kiss Korans! A bad pope made a bad decision and will be answerable for that.

      What is encouraging is that more and more lay Catholics are becoming clearer on this. They can see that these abuses do not impinge upon the indefectibility of the Church. The SSPX church that I attend has more and more young families coming every week. Thank God they know that Christ has not abandoned his Church.

      September 30, 2013 at 9:35 am
  • Theresa Rose

    Well said Petrus.

    It is heartbreaking watching the video of St Joseph’s, Lochwinnoch, simply left to rot following its closure.

    If, as Vianney says St Joseph’s was part of the seminary of the Mill Fathers, it speaks volumes of the lack of entrants, who wish a vocation to the priesthood. Entrants to seminaries worldwide is in a downward spiral generally. This link shows only what is happening the United States of America.

    I wonder if the Mill Fathers would have considered selling, or at least handing over this College to the SSPX.
    But then I suppose not.

    September 30, 2013 at 10:15 am
  • crofterlady

    Does anybody know who now owns the chapel? I wonder why the owners don’t sell it? If it still belongs to the Mill Hill Fathers they could be approached re a sale or perhaps there are none left!

    September 30, 2013 at 11:34 am
  • catholicconvert1

    Theresa Rose,

    You are quite wrong about the Church in the USA. Your stats only go to 2002. In 2013, there are 39,600 Priests, an increase of 636, 511 Ordinations, an increase of 57 since 2005, 3,694 Seminarians, an increase of 386 since 2005, 17,325 Permanent Deacons, an increase of 3,000 since 2005. The Church will always have a faithful remnant. This will all end as soon as the Consecration takes part.

    September 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    As for Seminarians and Priests declining, you are also wrong. In 2011 there were 120,616 seminarians, up from 112,244 in 2001 and 413,418 Priests in 2013, up from around 405,000 in 2002. Europe is seeing increases in Seminarians.

    September 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm
    • Whistleblower

      All very well and good, Convert. As we all know, however, it’s not a numbers game. The increases you describe are not earth shattering. More importantly, how many of those seminarians, priests and Permanent Donkeys are likely to be in any way Traditional?

      September 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm
      • editor


        I am afraid I have to move you down the pay scale. I note that both Catholic Convert and Scottish Priest have expressed their dislike of your use of “donkey” here and – while I have my own concerns about the way the Permanent Diaconate is being used at the present time – it is unnecessarily provocative to use “donkey” as a pejorative replacement for “deacon”.


        September 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    Why would you show your ignorance by mocking the title of an ordained clergyman? Grow up. There are very many good Priests who are not Traditional. Just because you don’t attend the Latin Mass doesn’t necessarily mean you are not a good Catholic.

    September 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm
    • Whistleblower

      In what way, by using that term, an I displaying ignorance? I await your answer…. Tell me this, new kid on the block, what’s YOUR understanding of the history of the diaconate? What is the history of the Permanent Diaconate? What are the implications of this “new” diaconate on vocations to the priesthood? Let’s see how well informed you are.

      Permanent Deacons are like donkeys because they are part of the problem. The damage they do to vocations to the priesthood is immense. It’s a totally Protestant concept.

      There are many good Catholics who attend the New(est) Mass because they do not know any differently. Those who do know differently, through reading and contributing to blogs etc, and still choose to attend the New Mass and everything that goes along with it (New rosary, new catechisms etc) will need to make a decision . Are they part of the problem or the solution. Those who know better and choose to remain involved with the Roman Protestantism that is on offer in parishes are very much part of the problem.

      September 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm
      • Whistleblower

        One other point – there is only one type of Catholic – the traditional type. There are poor Catholics, who through no fault of their own, who have been denied the true Catholic faith. That’s a different matter. But if someone chooses to be liberal, they are no longer Catholic. Accept the whole faith and nothing but the faith….or find your local C of E!

        September 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        Whether you support Permanent Deacons or not does not matter. They are ordained clergymen, who have had a vocation from God. I know that the traditional Church had Deacons, and several were made Cardinals, but I fail to see what is wrong with them, and how they threaten the celibate Priesthood. You will know that Deacons cannot marry after ordination. Protestants have the transitional Diaconate before ordination, but there are very few, who remain as Deacons.

        September 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm
      • Whistleblower

        Catholic Convert,

        Do not have the time to respond to your post. Look at the editor’s post below for a real education on the damage the Permanent Diaconate can do.

        For the record, I do believe that a Permanent Deacon is an ordained minister. Do I believe that married men are given a vocation by God to the Permanent Diaconate? No, I don’t.

        Again, I refer you to my post to Scottish Priest. Only Protestants look back to the early Church and attempt to reduce the Church to its primitive form. The early Deacons of the Church were not at all similar to modern day deacons.

        September 30, 2013 at 9:47 pm
  • scottish priest

    I think referring to a deacon as a donkey is very insulting disrespectful and inappropriate. I know several holy deacons who are orthodox and faithful – also the history of the diaconate came from St Stephen a deacon; St Francis was never ordained is he a donkey too the history of the Church is open to all sorts of interpretation but biblically one could argue for a permanent diaconate

    September 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm
    • Whistleblower

      Scottish Priest,

      I did not refer to Deacons as donkeys. I referred to Permanent Deacons as donkeys. I remember a very well written piece on the dangers of the Permanent Diaconate in Catholic Truth. It’s not biblical, it’s Protestant.

      A traditional, orthodox permanent deacon is an oxymoron. A traditional, orthodox man would have nothing to do with the permanent diaconate. Just like a traditional, orthodox priest would have nothing to do with extraordinary ministers and Protestant worship songs!

      September 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm
      • Whistleblower

        Neither would they give communion in the hand!

        September 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm
      • scottish priest

        It’s still inappropriate rude and somewhat conceited as well as self righteous. IT IS biblical and and a proper orthodox person would recognise the biblical roots in it. As for protestant worship songs – some of them are far better than what we have in the current hymn books available. Liturgical hymns old and new number 854 “who put the colours in the rainbow” 844 there’s a rainbow in the sky and its okay” I could go on at least the theology in many worship songs is biblical and based on the sacred scriptures unlike many in our hymn books.

        I think Archbishop Conti wanted to promote the permanent Diaocanate not do away with the priesthood. At least there is some strength in your argument in that it could possibly weaken the argument for celibacy although I sincerely hope not. At a recent meeting with the clergy in Glasgow the new bishop never mentioned diaconate at all not once Im told he focused on praying for vocations to the priesthood; novenas rosary and holy hours etc as we ll as the Bidding prayers at mass for vocations.

        September 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm
      • Whistleblower


        The Permanent Diaconate is not biblical at all. The diaconate is, certainly, but even then, the role of the Deacon was very different to what we have now. The exact ordained roles of bishop, priest and deacon did take a couple of centuries to solidify.

        By the way, are you familiar with Pope Pius XII condemnation of antiquarianism? It is not in any way Catholic to want to reduce the Church to it’s primitive state. His Holiness compared it to reducing the great oak tree to a tiny seed.

        Your justification for certain priests using Protestant worship songs is illogical. It’s like saying being a drug addict is bad, so let’s become alcoholics because that’s not quiet as bad. Why not just ignore the awful hymns in the Catholic hymnal and stick to traditional hymns? It’s astounding that some priests introduce Protestant pop songs to try to inspire the young and make themselves look cool. It’s like dad dancing at the disco – I couldn’t think of anything LESS cool!

        September 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm
      • Whistleblower

        “A proper orthodox person”? Why don’t you tell us what that is, Father?

        September 30, 2013 at 9:48 pm
      • editor


        I think Father was talking about me. Well, we can’t ALL be humble like the Pope…

        September 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm
    • sixupman

      My main experience of the Diocesan Diaconates has been in Lancaster Diocese and Clifton Diocese, the former was genuine, in Clifton I only witnessed exercises in self-aggrandisement. The particular smallish parish was infested with the same, going hand in hand with the parish priest and his occasional locum [adjacent parish – ex-CofE] to a man complaining about the Magisterium and the Papacy. One preached about himself and his experience, another paraded about if full clerical (suited) garb. Not impressed at all. In Liverpool Archdiocese they are listed as man and wife in the Directory, together with the diocesan association of clergy members they ridiculed a priest for attending the Chrism Mass in a soutane.

      The Diaconate is a deliberate attempt to undermine the Priesthood, indeed the bishop of Galloway Emeritus did not believe in it either.

      September 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm
      • Whistleblower

        It’s a complete waste of time. There’s very little a Permanent Deacon can do that a lay person couldn’t do in an emergency.

        I must admit that it puzzles me what certain priests of this blog choose to get worked up about. They remain silent about real abuses and heresies but feel the need to speak out on superficial matters. A certain sign of the diabolical disorientation.

        September 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm
      • editor


        Are you saying that Bishop Taylor (formerly of Galloway) did not believe in the diaconate or the priesthood? Sorry if I’m being a numpty again but your final sentence is a tad ambiguous.

        September 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm
      • sixupman

        A day for apologies, it appears!

        He disparaged the Ordained Priesthood when preaching to a full, and I mean full, church on the occasion of the 25th. ordination anniversary of a priest friend. He promoted a “lay [priesthood] led church.

        As to your response to “Scottish Priest”, I respond: verily!

        September 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm
      • editor


        That is terrible – he’s even worse than I thought.

        If you have the details of that, and feel you can publish them here without identifying yourself or source(s), I’d be very grateful.

        September 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm
      • sixupman

        I was present at that evening Mass, nothing was published and it probably went-over-the-heads of many of the congregation.

        As with a parish priest friend in Lancashire when referred to the “Smoke of Satan infiltrating Mother Church” at a Saturday evening Mass. I suppose his Ordinary would not have approved, but he is past seeking, if he ever did, promotion. He has also been known to preach on Hell and Sins. A vanishing breed?

        September 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm
    • editor

      Scottish Priest,

      There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Bishop Conti of Aberdeen (and later Archbishop Conti of Glasgow) was determined to recruit Permanent Deacons in preference to priests. No question whatsoever. Married Permanent Deacons – what better way to undermine the celibate priesthood?

      We need priests to absolve us from sins and administer Extreme Unction when we are in danger of death. A Permanent Deacon, married or otherwise, is of no use at all to me at that time.

      At one time, visiting the Archdiocesan website section on vocations, there was a single sentence about the priesthood. The rest was a massive advertising campaign for Permanent Deacons. You suggesting there’s no agenda there?

      It was when I lived in Aberdeen that I first encountered married deacons and where I first heard the laity say “well, if deacons can be married (and they give the sermons and all) why not the priests?”

      Agenda: end celibate priesthood. No question about it. For a good priest like yourself to support this agenda is like (the old ones are the best) turkeys voting for Christmas…

      September 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm
  • sixupman

    A genuine mea culpa, Father, I forgot that I was responding to a priest and omitted your title. Again, apologies.

    September 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    The assistant Parish Priest told me that Deacons could get married before VatII. I am aware that Paul VI abolished the sub-Diaconate for whatever reason.

    October 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm
    • Whistleblower

      The assistant Parish Priest doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A simple google search confirms this.

      October 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm

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