Scotland: Bigotry Official… Anti-Catholic Petition Heard in Holyrood

Scotland: Bigotry Official… Anti-Catholic Petition Heard in Holyrood


[Catholic] Politics news Alert

16 January 2014

 Have your say on the role of Church representatives on
Education Committees

 Responding to proposals to remove the obligation on local authorities
to appoint  religious representatives to Education Committees


In recent times in Scotland, various groups have been making attempts to bring about changes to legislation in order to limit the presence of religion in public life, particularly in schools.  John Finnie MSP is currently consulting on his proposal for a Bill in the Scottish Parliament to change the current arrangements whereby Councils are obliged to make 3 places available for Church representatives on their Education Committees.  This follows on a recent petition to the Scottish Parliament which has resulted in a wider review of this issue.  There is a danger that, if the main voices raised in this debate are secular, the contribution of Church representatives to Council discussions of Education issues could be lost.

Why are there Church representatives on Council Education Committees?

Long before education authorities ever existed, schools had been established and were run by the Churches.  So, when they were transferred over to be managed, initially by local Public School Boards and later by local education authorities, the ongoing involvement and expertise of Church representatives was seen to be invaluable.

Today, the majority of schools are non-denominational, and Churches are not directly involved, although religious education and religious observance are still part of standard school provision.

Denominational schools, which educate approximately 20% of Scotland’s school pupils, offer an ethos and values which emerge from their particular religious traditions and they work closely with local parish communities.  Their approach is supported by a legislative framework which governs both the appointment of teaching staff and the content of religious and moral education programmes.

[What] is the argument for having Church representatives today?

Those people who are nominated by the Churches to contribute to the work of education committees live in the local community.  Most are laypeople people and many have significant experience of working in senior education posts.   Their contributions are focussed on the needs of the local community and are influenced by their own particular expertise.  Their input to the local democratic process is often greatly appreciated by education officials and by elected representatives.  Like other non-elected members on Councils, they freely give up their own time to serve their local communities and operate on a non-political basis.  In short, they make an invaluable contribution.

Catholic schools were β€œtransferred” into state ownership in 1918 in the same Education Act which established local education authorities.  That arrangement came about as a result of assurances given that the specific characteristic of the Catholic school would be protected in legislation.  One of the mechanisms for monitoring the State’s ongoing commitment to those assurances is the presence of a Catholic Church representative on every Council where there are Catholic schools.  While Catholic Church representatives play a wider role than merely safeguarding Catholic schools, their role in doing so is seen by the Church as vital to the welfare of Catholic schools.  Thus the Church is opposed to any attempt to dispense with the role of Church representatives on Education Committees.

How you can help

1       Respond to the consultation on the Proposed Local Government Acccountability and Transparency (Scotland) Bill which can be found at

Responses are due by 27th January 2014 and comments can be sent by  email to  [email protected]

or by post to

John Finnie MSP

Room M3.19

Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh EH99 1SP

2       Contact your MSP with your views on this proposed bill.

3       Contact your local Council to let them know your views on the proposed Bill.

Comments (30)

  • Frankier

    Bigotry in Scotland has been official for a long time now and unofficial for a lot longer.

    January 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm
  • Frankier

    And if this is the same Finnie who was a Northern Constabulary police officer it also proves that anti-Catholic hatred isn’t just confined to the West of Scotland, as the Scottish media would like us to believe.

    January 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm
  • editor

    What I’m interested to learn, is whether bloggers think it makes any real difference – given the current crisis in the Church – whether or not there is a Catholic representative on the Education Committees.

    If NHS Lanarkshire could send out letters for distribution in Catholic schools giving notice of their intention to offer “information sessions” on how to avoid syphilis (and one piece of information/propaganda to be peddled is “use a condom”) what’s the point of (a) separate Catholic schools and (b) Catholic representatives on Education Committees?

    Me, I can’t see any point, right now. Prove me wrong…

    January 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm
  • Frankier

    I agree. Though, to be honest, I wouldn’t like to see them go if only for the sake of keeping the saints’ names alive in the public’s brains, which I know isn’t a very great reason, but otherwise I really don’t see what good Catholic schools are now doing.

    As I have said before, there are Catholic (?) children who have been regular enough attenders at Mass but never in a Catholic church. No wonder they don’t attend church after they leave school. Most of them won’t even know where the church is and it would be pointless to ask directions from a teacher.

    It is well beyond the joking stage now.

    January 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm
    • editor


      I smiled at your very perceptive quip anyway, whether or not we’re beyond the joking stage now.

      “Most of them won’t even know where the church is and it would be pointless to ask directions from a teacher” calls for one of those smiley faces that I don’t see you practising πŸ™„

      January 20, 2014 at 11:25 pm
    • Josephine


      I agree that we ought to keep the reps on the committees if only for the sake of keeping things going until the crisis of faith is over and we can have our schools back.

      It is concerning that the Holyrood parliament takes the secular groups so seriously, first over same sex marriage and now this. I think we’re all going to have to think long and hard before any elections in the future. I know I will. So much tolerance for seculars but the UKIP councillor gets sacked because he said he thought the floods etc were a punishment for same-sex marriage. Where’s the tolerance for him expressing his private views?

      January 20, 2014 at 11:28 pm
  • editor

    Frankier (and anyone else who’d like to master the art of posting the little funny, sad, mad etc faces)…

    This thread is slow to take off, so if you want to practise the smiley and other faces, feel free to do so here and I’ll delete them once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

    I copied the instructions from 3LittleShepherds over at General Discussion. Here goeth…

    Try these wordpress smileys, but remember there are no spaces between colons and words. The spaces are put in below, to show the detail. Once you omit the spaces, the faces appear – when your post goes up.

    : – ) is πŸ™‚
    : roll : is πŸ™„
    : shock : is 😯
    : wink : is πŸ˜‰
    : cry : is πŸ˜₯
    : arrow : is ➑
    : oops : is 😳
    : lol : is πŸ˜†
    : grin : is πŸ˜€

    There’s also some others:

    : evil : is πŸ‘Ώ
    : mad : is 😑
    : cool : is 😎
    : ! : is ❗
    : ? is πŸ˜•
    : ? : is ❓

    January 21, 2014 at 12:34 am
    • Frankier


      As you can see by the time it is a bit late now but I’ll have a go at the wee faces after I get the kitchen tiles sorted out tomorrow.

      Meanwhile, :–)

      Ed: Frankier, I came in to check out the “face” because it looks from the outside that you’ve hit the correct keys, but when I got through instead of one small dash (-) there are two. To remember to take your finger off the shift key when you come to do the dash.

      January 21, 2014 at 1:21 am
  • Graeme Taylor

    It is vital to fight against the world, here is a very clear agenda…anti catholic proposals from the state. We must fight.
    And Oh YES! The state of Catholic education is so poor at present, but if we let it die ( even in it’s bad state) it will be so so difficult to get it back in this society.
    When any poor soul sees Catholic schools and churches around Scotland it is a beacon of light (even as we know the last 40+ years have been dire)
    Seriously, we must fight for Catholic schools.

    January 21, 2014 at 8:40 am
  • Christina

    With respect, I think that, if I’m reading them aright, Graeme Taylor, Franklin and Josephine are being naive in their pious hopes that if we keep representation going, even with the type of ‘Catholic’ currently speaking for the Church and of Catholic interests on committees, panels and what have you, them some day it will all get better. No it won’t. Rotten branches need to be cut off, otherwise their rotteness continues to infect the tree. The parable of the vine and the branches says it all.

    As a Catholic teacher who, in the 70’s, appalled at what was so rapidly happening to ‘Catholic’ education, I had only one option – to get out of Catholic schools to use what gifts I have been given in the world of further education, where religion plays no part.

    The presence of ‘Catholic’ representatives, Franklin, won’t keep alive the names of a few saints – they have been long forgotten in the mainstream. ‘Celebs’ are the new saints in our rotting society and fill the world of the young and those, desperate to be popular, who teach them.. And, Josephine, how will these ‘Catholics’ ‘keep things going’. what things? They will simply lead others further and further into the mire. As I say, they need to be cut out off completely, for they are deadly dangerous.

    The very rapid descent of Catholic education, from the 70’s, began in the childish enthusiasm of that generation of very young schoolchildren for the merging of the Mass with 60’s pop-‘culture’. The male religious and nuns who had played such an essential role in Catholic education were either abandoning their vocations or being blown about by every wind of change that the second Vatincan Council had unleashed. Sister X, the headmistress of the school in which I taught, quite suddenly espoused such heterodox ideas of what should be taught in religious lessons that I was unable to comply. Make no mistake – it took only a few years for the world of Catholic education to be turned on its head and the passing on of the faith in the schools to be seriously damaged or lost.

    So, we are now in the position where those who were educated in the faith, and who taught it faithfully, are too old to be actively involved. Those who are involved in it have inherited something unrecognisable as ‘Catholicism’, the ugly fruit of forty-odd years of ever-increasing heterodoxy. Get them out of the way and forget ‘Catholic’ schools until, with the consecration of Russia, the Church will recover from all that ails her now.

    I believe that for the present it is better if schools, like colleges and universities, confine themselves to secular education. Religious education should be a matter for believing parents and the groups they set up to help them teach their children the faith. That way they will not be taught that every religion is as good as another. If Religion, as a subject, is off the menu, then the teaching of, and kow-towing to, the assortment of false religions to which many pupils belong will be off the menu as well,

    January 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm
  • Frankier

    Christina, have you made your views known to the local bishop?

    With all due respect, if catholic schools are done away with in Scotland the seculars will have won with their divide and conquer policy. Anyone who knows me know what I think of catholic schools as such but to allow them to disappear altogether would be a grave mistake. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

    Anyway, there are protestant chaplains in the “non denominational” schools so I can’t understand why they are classed as that.

    I was at a Catholic secondary school well before the 70s, coming from a convent educated primary, and the old (I thought he was old anyway) French/Latin teacher (Irish) used to tell us that all we were use for was saying prayers. So it is not just the modern Catholic teacher who has lost the faith.

    No, instead of knuckling down to these people it is time for standing up and fighting the corner. The only problem is finding someone with the guts in Catholic education to do it.

    Mind you, I met a few ideal Catholic candidates when I was in the construction industry who would have managed to sort things out.

    January 21, 2014 at 1:42 pm
  • Frankier


    Franklin? D. Roosevelt do you think? πŸ™‚

    January 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm
    • editor


      WOW – you’ve made my day! ❗

      January 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm
      • Frankier


        Yes, thanks to you I have managed to put an identical likeness of myself on screen.

        January 22, 2014 at 2:01 pm
  • crofterlady

    I don’t think it matters as others have said: “Catholic” schools are no longer Catholic. However, I would agree that there is gross anti Catholic bigotry in Scotland and that is the main reason why none of my family or friends would dream of voting for Scottish independence. Imagine what it would be like to be a minority religion in Presbyterian Scotland!

    January 21, 2014 at 3:32 pm
    • Vianney

      We ARE a minority in Presbyterian Scotland already so our situation wouldn’t change with Independence. Also, Presbyterians are actually a minority in Scotland with half the membership that the Catholic Church has.

      January 21, 2014 at 10:43 pm
      • Frankier

        The difference being that Presbyterians are allowed to go about their business without anyone giving them a second thought. Being in a minority doesn’t mean that you will be persecuted, it all depends on other issues.

        Personally, I think Catholics, especially those of an Irish persuasion, will be worse off in an independent Scotland whose three main pillars of society are
        (allegedly) The Church of Scotland, The Bank of Scotland and R4ngers FC,
        now Sevco FC.

        January 22, 2014 at 5:47 pm
  • Frankier


    I agree.

    Can you imagine what it would be like in a “non-denominational” school in bigoted Scotland for the minority Catholic children? To be told to sit in the back of the bus would be back in fashion.

    It’s funny how we never heard many laments about Catholic schools when they were a handy tool for determining the “ability” of certain football players.

    January 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm
    • editor


      You forgot to put πŸ™„ in your reply to Crofterlady ❗

      January 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm
      • Frankier



        January 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm
  • Christina

    Frankier, No I haven’t made my views on this issue known to the local bishop because he ignores my letters and also because I’m south of the border πŸ˜₯

    Pre 70s individual cases of teachers who were not faithful Catholics don’t affect my argument. The point is that before this time Catholic education throughout the system was just that. There was at least one religious lesson a day. Sound doctrine was universally taught from ‘the syllabus’ and the teachers were subjected to in-class inspection to make sure they were getting it right.

    What I am saying, and generalising of course, is that Catholic schools are no longer places where the Catholic faith is taught, and furthermore that what is taught in them is too often contrary to the faith and dangerous to souls. They no longer provide what they came into existence to provide, and I do not see that any good can come of ‘Catholic education’ while the faith is being so attacked from within.

    Having said that, I don’t know anything about the Scottish bigotry issue, so I understand that that might be affecting the thinking of bloggers who live in Scotland.

    January 21, 2014 at 9:16 pm
    • Frankier

      Christina, I agree entirely with you. And I’m glad you understand the situation in Scotland where football issues could arise in playgrounds (or campuses after the 70s) that could have very serious repercussions in shared schools.

      Of course Catholic schools are now a waste of time as far as spreading the faith goes but we can only hope and pray that there will be a miraculous turnaround, it will need to be miraculous, in the future.

      As for the Scottish bigotry issue, it has got worse since Alex Salmond has started courting the “unionist” side despite him hoping for independence. The Catholic vote only got him a one seat majority while the other side managed to get him an
      overwhelming majority, so it’s not difficult to work out.

      Big Eck knows what side of his bread is buttered, I can assure you.

      January 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm
  • Christina

    So much for your smileys, Editor – I knew it wouldn’t work!!!!!!!!

    January 21, 2014 at 9:17 pm
    • editor


      Your smiley face did work – you’d done it absolutely correctly, except added a full stop. I went in and deleted the full stop – see above… πŸ™„

      January 21, 2014 at 9:42 pm
  • Vianney

    Religious bigotry is one of my two pet hates. the other is Episcopalians!

    January 21, 2014 at 10:45 pm
    • editor


      The old ones really ARE the best! πŸ˜€

      January 25, 2014 at 12:16 am
  • Christina

    Many thanks, O cleverest of Eds, but you didn’t need to do an eye-roll “Who will rid me of these pestilent ninnies?” smiley, did you now?

    Hear, hear, Vianney – to the Episcopalians. Religious bigotry was never a serious issue in my limited experience here in England, although there were tales, round about the Orange Lodge ‘marching time’ in Liverpool, of folk running to their Irish priests saying “Fer God’s sake, Farder, will yis hide dis hammer (hatchet, etc) ferruz? De cops is afteruz”. In Scotland my only experience came last year after the CT Conference when we got a taxi from the venue at Celtic back to our hotel. The driver gave us a running commentary which included, on passing Rangers’ ground, “Ahh, the Powers of Darkness are across there”. Impossible to tell if he was joking or not.

    January 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm
    • Frankier

      No, Christina, he wasn’t joking. He was actually being nice saying that.

      January 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm
      • editor


        You beat me to it!

        January 25, 2014 at 12:18 am
    • editor


      I love the eye roll – can’t resist it πŸ™„

      And what a terrific Irish accent!

      But still no wee faces, smiley or otherwise. Here’s a grin using a colon = : word, grin = grin and finally another colon = : to make a wee grin like this πŸ˜€

      That’s by way of an apology for doing the roll in your post! No offence intended, but I apologise anyway, even though it’s not the fashion to do so these days πŸ˜₯

      January 25, 2014 at 12:19 am

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