Cardinal O’Brien Scandal: Update…

Cardinal O’Brien Scandal: Update…

Report into Cardinal O’Brien is with the Pope and ‘hot enough to burn the varnish off his desk’  Cardinal O'Brien2 16 March 2015 10:52 by Brian Morton

The Church in Scotland has responded to media reports suggesting that the Church is “sitting on” a report on allegations regarding Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the former Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh who stood down in 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh said that Pope Francis had “tried his very best to handle the case of Cardinal O’Brien with great justice and compassion” and was now considering the report. “We hope and trust that he will reach a decision that is fair and just to everybody involved,” the spokesman said.

Following public accusations by a number of priests and one former priest, and following the cardinal’s resignation, the Pope appointed Bishop – now Archbishop – Scicluna, to speak to all those involved and report back to the Vatican.

One of the men who have accused Cardinal O’Brien of inappropriate sexual conduct said that despite Archbishop Scicluna’s report being “hot enough to burn the varnish” off the Pope’s desk, the Church was moving with “glacial” speed when it came to making public its findings.

The cardinal’s alleged victim expressed disgust that while a parish in Edinburgh was being closed, the Archdiocese had reportedly spent £200,000 on a retirement home for Cardinal O’Brien, in Northumberland.

The statement explained that the decision to buy a property for Cardinal O’Brien was made by the Archdiocese’s trustees “in accordance with their obligations to make provision for elderly clergy in line with similar provision in place with other retired clergy and after taking appropriate professional advice.” The archdiocese retains deeds on the property bought for Cardinal O’Brien and it is understood that funds from any future sale of the house will be returned to the Archdiocese’s accounts.  Source


To the best of my knowledge, the identities of the Cardinal’s accusers are still not officially in the public domain, although just about everyone knows someone who knows who they are, so maybe “hot enough to burn the varnish off [the Pope’s] desk” signals disclosure, in full, at last. Then, we can make a judgement about the credibility (or otherwise) of the Cardinal’s accusers, who have been treated, to date, as victims.  Be that as it may, we ought to pray now for all involved, as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of St Patrick tomorrow. Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien is – unsurprisingly with a name like that! – Irish-born, so if even more publicity is looming on publication of the “hot” report on the pontiff’s desk, we ought to ask the great Saint Patrick to intercede for him.   


Friday, 20th March

Click here to read statement from Scottish Catholic Media Office

Click here to read statement from Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien

Comments (37)

  • Nolite Timere

    It’s now 2 years on… Should we not just let the matter rest. Cardinal O’Brien is now out the picture I’m not sure going over old ground is good for anyone!

    March 16, 2015 at 8:55 pm
    • editor


      That was my own gut reaction, to be honest. However, since The Tablet broke the news of the “hot” report on the papal desk, I felt I really ought to allow our bloggers to discuss the issues, if they wish. There really isn’t anything new to say, I agree, so this may be one of those short and sweet threads, who knows. I knew, remember, that St Patrick would be hot on the Cardinal’s heels, so to speak! So, post a joke on the St Patrick’s thread before you disappear into thin air again.

      Speaking of disappearances, I note your avatar has disappeared and wonder if you are using a different email address – the avatar is linked to the email address you used when you signed up with Gravatar. There’s nothing to stop you signing up again with Gravatar using a different email address. You can still use the same avatar.

      Go on, you know it makes sense – these mystery men drive me nuts! Sorry all you mystery men, but that’s the truth.

      March 17, 2015 at 12:26 am
  • Christina

    I think that full disclosure is necessary. The accusers have not been treated as victims by all who have commented on this blog, and in fairness to all concerned there should be sufficient information available to enable all parties in this sorry story to be fairly judged.

    In passing, I think it disgraceful that, whatever the full truth of the matter, this ‘retired cleric’ should be provided with a home worth £200,000. Unless property prices in Northumberland are unusually high, which I very much doubt, a much smaller sum should ensure that he has an adequate roof over his head. And whateverr happened to priests’ retirement homes? The retired clerics I know live either in these or in modest semis or flats.

    March 16, 2015 at 10:17 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      I couldn’t agree more. Scots Catholics have been left in the dark about the truth of the O’Brien scandal and we deserve better.

      I wonder how many people will go onto The Tablet site and complain about them reporting this in the first place? If they can report it, we can surely discuss it? I remember thinking that the accusers got off scot free after causing all that mayhem, and none of them named publicly, so I hope that changes now. It’s a matter of justice IMHO.

      March 16, 2015 at 10:34 pm
      • editor


        I’m pretty sure there’s not a journalist in Scotland who doesn’t know the identity of these accusers. The mystery is, why is nobody “scooping” the story?

        The plot thickens… Unlike my gravy. Why can’t I cook … why does everything burn or whatever? Why won’t my gravy thicken? I demand to know!

        March 17, 2015 at 12:36 am
      • catholicconvert1

        Dear Ed,

        Regarding your gravy, I suggest you take the advice of a proud Yorkshireman, and use oxo and bisto. It will end up like sludge!

        March 17, 2015 at 10:35 am
    • editor


      I think you are right – full disclosure would help bring this whole sorry saga to an end. And you are right that not all of us here regard the accusers as victims. I certainly do NOT regard them as victims: I’ve said that all along.They were all adults at the time of the alleged incidents.

      As for the price of the property – a bungalow, I believe, in a residential area… Whatever happened to the “simple” living advocated by Papa Francis?

      Yeah right.

      March 17, 2015 at 12:33 am
      • Christina

        I’ve one or two unwanted and slightly damaged tents he might like.

        March 17, 2015 at 12:14 pm
      • Vianney

        Pope Francis’ idea of simple living is to take over two floors of a hotel with more rooms than the Papal apartments have.

        March 19, 2015 at 12:07 am
  • catholicconvert1

    I genuinely do think that this is a vengeance job, and that there is something strange about the whistle-blowers. If they’ve got the guts to point the finger, then they must have the guts to show their faces. There probably was an illicit relationship between the Priests in questions and Cardinal O’Brien, fully consensual, and now these priests have seen the compo which abuse victims have received, then they want in on it too. Some would say O’Brien forced himself on them, and because of his power, they couldn’t refuse his advances. Sorry, that doesn’t wash with me. If a man came on to me, he’d need new kneecaps.

    ‘The cardinal’s alleged victim expressed disgust that while a parish in Edinburgh was being closed, the Archdiocese had reportedly spent £200,000 on a retirement home for Cardinal O’Brien, in Northumberland’.

    Do I smell a rat? Sounds like this Priest was angry and wanted to bring O’Brien down a peg or two. Maybe this priest didn’t ‘do’ anything with O’Brien, and is making it all up, like many abuse ‘victims’ did?

    March 17, 2015 at 10:40 am
    • editor


      I don’t think the accusers are looking for money. All the signs were, at the time, that they reacted to his outspoken criticism of the same-sex marriage legislation being proposed at the time. Here’s one report

      In other words, we’re dealing here with a homosexual group of priests. Explains why they don’t want to identify themselves. Not into “coming out” so to speak.

      March 17, 2015 at 11:05 am
  • Spero

    Many people think they know the names of one or more of the priests concerned. Those in the inner circle, and some journalists, will know exactly who they are.
    One at least had a long term relationship with the Cardinal, and, I believe it was he who contacted the ex priest, and he may have galvanised the others into action. I think this priest had been “spurned” by the Cardinal, and has been motivated primarily by the ” hell hath no fury” adage.

    I think, like the Editor, that the complainants are/ or have indulged in homosexual activity, and this may make them reluctant to give their names.

    It may be too that one, or more, of them was notorious in the media and his various actions were widely seen as quite outrageous: perhaps he believes that once named, much evidence would come forward to prove that he is certainly not a person to be victimised by anyone!

    A comment on a previous thread( Pope Paul 6th and liturgical abuse or something like that) said it all. It was made by SARTO2010. The thrust of it was that the Cardinal was a fool, surrounded by cunning foxes. I disagree slightly as I believe he too was extremely cunning, or became so in order to survive, and become a cardinal. But it is blatantly true that for many years, abuses of all kinds were rampant and those involved were allowed free rein, because they had something on Cardinal O’Brien.

    This is the real abuse so far as I’m concerned: the damage that was wrought.

    March 17, 2015 at 12:55 pm
    • editor


      “It may be too that one, or more, of them was notorious in the media and his various actions were widely seen as quite outrageous: perhaps he believes that once named, much evidence would come forward to prove that he is certainly not a person to be victimised by anyone!”

      THAT is what is termed “hitting a nail bang on the head”. Got it in one!

      March 17, 2015 at 9:40 pm
  • Frankier

    He should never have taken the red, or scarlet, or purple or whatever colour of hat in the first instance knowing how vulnerable he would be. You wouldn`t trust these types as far as you could throw them.

    As for letting it rest. Plenty of ordinary Catholics in the workplaces, especially in Scotland, who have to listen about us all (Catholics) being paedophiles would wish that it had never arisen in the first instance.

    Of course, Cardinal O`Brien and his like don`t give a damn for the ordinary law-abiding Catholics no matter how much abuse they have to suffer for fear of losing their jobs.

    That makes him an even bigger rogue in my books.

    March 17, 2015 at 5:23 pm
  • Nolite Timere

    Ed – I had to re-register as it had been so long between visits that’s I had forgotten all my log in details (unfortunately the onset of premature old age) so was easier to start again, I tried to update the avatar but for some reason it didn’t like the size…I am trying to sort it out!!

    The accusers are certainly not victims- they were grown adults beyond the age of reason and consent. That’s hardly abuse. I’m not sure we will ever get full disclosure of all the facts nor may we be entitled to the full facts, maybe we should just accept that the competent authority has investigated and acted.

    Unlike some I have no real problem with the housing issue. Let’s be honest the last thing we need is Him returning to Scotland and the media circus that would involve. At the same time the archdiocese are canonically responsible for his care, so investing some money in property when the market is low isn’t that bad an idea. When the Cardinal finally departs to meet his maker the house can be sold and a profit recouped. This is not an uncommon situation there are a number of retired bishops and priests living in such accommodation all bought by the Church!

    March 17, 2015 at 8:47 pm
    • editor


      It’s great to see your avatar again – I see what you mean, seems to have cut off at the bottom but that is easily corrected (not that most people would notice.) Just use the downward arrow at Gravatar to resize it, keeping an eye on the image on the right hand side (if I remember correctly). It’s still a vast improvement on the mystery man. Frankier, you listening?

      As for the housing issue – I would agree with you but the problem is that the Archbishop of Edinburgh will be (I don’t doubt) repeating all the blether about simple lifestyle and so on, meaning you and I should be satisfied with a simple home and lifestyle, but the hierarchy, even the shamed hierarchy, get to live in the best areas, in the anything but simple properties etc etc.

      Jealous? Moi? You kidding? Sure am!

      March 17, 2015 at 9:44 pm
      • Frankier


        Your remark about the simple lifestyle reminds me of the time Cardinal O`Brien advised the hoi polloi to watch our carbon footprints, holiday within half a mile from your home and all that, while he turned and placed his footprints onto an aeroplane.

        The next time I saw him was in a photograph in a SCIAF begging letter standing in a paddy field (further away than Athenry) with Alex Salmond.

        March 18, 2015 at 9:57 am
  • Christina

    Invest in property by all means, but let it be used for worthy purposes – certainly not so that a prelate who has been a disgrace to his calling should be seen to be rewarded by being given a more than averagely comfortable home in which to live out his days.

    March 17, 2015 at 9:40 pm
    • editor

      Well said, Christina. It really does annoy me when somebody says something better than moi. Our posts went up together. Wish I’d waited, seen yours, said the same thing and implied that you were quoting me. Will I ever learn?

      March 17, 2015 at 9:45 pm
    • Athanasius

      Once upon a time a disgraced prelate would have been sent to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance at a monastery. The problem in this case is that there are no monasteries left, mostly closed for want of prayer and penance.

      My only hope is that Cardinal O’Brien and his priest friends (?) will be granted the grace by Our Lord to comprehend what lies ahead for them in eternity if they do not beforehand repent of the very public scandal they have become to the souls entrusted to their care. Imagine that these men are supposed to be “other Christs” and yet seem oblivious to the fact that their behaviour has been that of antichrists. They are all more worthy of pity than contempt.

      March 17, 2015 at 10:25 pm
      • Prognosticum

        But how do you know that he hasn’t repented? It must be great to be so perfect.

        March 19, 2015 at 3:16 am
      • editor


        Nobody here has claimed to be perfect. If you read my blue comment in the blog introduction, we are really focusing in this thread on the as yet publicly unidentified accusers. Unfortunately, the contrast between the much lauded papal exhortations to clergy and hierarchy to live the simple life is contrasted with the money spent on housing the cardinal. We’re not perfect, but we ARE human!

        March 19, 2015 at 9:45 am
  • Vianney

    What is wrong with a little retirement flat somewhere?

    March 19, 2015 at 12:09 am
  • crouchback

    Probably…..alegedly. ….the truth….”might be”….mibees….that Cardinal O’Brien had skeletons in his cupboard. …we all have those, to a greater or lesser extent. …but very few of us….vanishingly few of us.. play big boys games that end up with the defenestration of a Pope….Cardinal O’Brien did both….and lost the personal battle….but won the war of the Papal Succession. …….if only the spoils of war were reversed……I can find it in me to forgive the Cardinal his personal short comings…..but if he is festering in Northumberland over the price he had to pay for the victory of Francis over Benedict….and all he personally gets is ignominy and a seat in some God forsaken hole….then truly I worry for him…..and his allies in the church….who are clearly on the wrong side of history…..the church in Scotland is on suicide watch….the Vatican II charade can only end one way……Gotterdamerung…

    March 19, 2015 at 12:28 am
  • Prognosticum

    I have always maintained that this is a thoroughly bad business, and I am truly loathe to comment upon it at all.

    Let us start with a basic tenet of our faith: we are not to judge people, for if we do we will be judged ourselves and found wanting. And let us remember that as Catholics we have a sacred duty to promote forgiveness and reconciliation. God does not want the death of the sinner, but that he converts and comes to eternal life.

    One of the greatest obstacles to forgiveness an reconciliation today is the Mainstream Mass Media. It is not just that the internet means that there is no way in which a repentent sinner can escape his past deeds. It is the way in which the media, for whom controversy and and division are second nature (they are, after all, worthy sons of their father below, the prince of this world), never allow for even the possibility that people can change. But we Catholics, who know, or should know, about the workings of grace in the human heart, cannot follow such a pagan mindset, not even remotely.

    Let us take the case of a hypothetical great sinner. This great sinner comes to repentance, which is always the working of grace in the human soul. He goes to confession, receives absolution and fulfils the penance which has been imposed. At this point he is retored to the life of grace and his past life should not be the object of speculation amongst fellow Catholics. Our attitude must be one of prayerful gratitude.

    Of course, the communion of saints is one thing, the law of the land is quite another. If the law has been broken, consequences will follow and will have to be accepted. This is often the tragedy of the sinner, i.e that he has been restored to grace but must still face the justice of men.

    A question, however, remains. Has the Church in Scotland learned anything from this sorry tale? I would love to reply in the affirmative, but overall I don’t think that it has. The Church here, especially her priests, needs a serious injection of authentic Catholic spirituality. But this will never come about unless we get back to Truth and stop trying to sell Christ short in order to have plaudits from the world.

    March 19, 2015 at 3:11 am
    • editor


      This “we are not to judge people” has become tedious. Nobody is judging anyone in the definitive Gospel sense. Find me anywhere on this blog where any of us have cast the Cardinal into Hell. THAT is the judgment we are forbidden. We are not asked to pretend that all is well in the Church when we have Cardinals openly admitting to homosexual conduct with some of his priests, NOR are we asked to turn a blind eye to the identities of those accusers who could, in theory, some, at least of them, be the very same priest ministering in our local parish. We are effectively asked to blame the Cardinal without knowing anything about them in order to assess their credibility; they’re certainly not victims, that is clear to me. And I suspect they have no credibility – certainly if they are who I believe they are. No credibility whatsoever.

      However, let’s clear up this business of “forgiveness”. It’s not up to any of us to “forgive” the Cardinal – who knows if he’s even sorry for his sins, as opposed to sorry for being caught? I’ve no idea, have you? Nobody can forgive anyone who hasn’t expressed repentance, and since he hasn’t offended me, personally – “only God” – it’s not up to me to express forgiveness. I believe he has publicly admitted his weakness and apologised for damage caused to the Church. Good. We can admire that, but it is not about any of us “forgiving” him – that’s not the issue.

      Having said that, almost as soon as the news broke of the Cardinal’s misbehaviour, I was invited to participate in a discussion on the matter on Radio Scotland where I immediately expressed my sympathy for the Cardinal, hitherto (wrongly) regarded as a “Vatican hard-liner” and now exposed as a cause of great scandal.

      As for your question about the Church in Scotland learning anything from this sorry tale. I doubt it. The Cardinal’s replacement said, on taking up post, that he didn’t even think there was/is a crisis in the Archdiocese, let alone the entire decimated Church in Scotland. He’s a diplomat, you see. Keeping up appearances is the name of his game. For which he will answer at his judgment. That’s not me judging him – just a perfectly obvious observation.

      March 19, 2015 at 9:55 am
  • editor


    Statement from the Scottish Catholic Media Office…

    Friday 20 March 2015

    Church welcomes Pope Francis’ decision to accept Cardinal O’Brien’s resignation

    The Catholic Church in Scotland has welcomed the decision of Pope Francis to accept the resignation of Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the rights and duties of a Cardinal.

    In what is an unprecedented action, Cardinal O’Brien has now removed himself from the key duties that pertain to the office of Cardinal: the election of any future Pope and the assistance of the Holy Father in the governance of the Universal Church. Cardinal O’Brien will also be reduced to a strictly private life with no further participation in any public, religious or civil events.

    Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh said; “As most people are aware, Pope Francis is a good and prayerful man whose character embodies justice and mercy. I am confident therefore that the decision of the Holy Father is fair, equitable and proportionate,”

    “Cardinal O’Brien’s behaviour distressed many, demoralised faithful Catholics and made the Church less credible to those who are not Catholic. I therefore acknowledge and welcome his apology to those affected by his behaviour and also to the people of Scotland, especially the Catholic community.”

    Today’s announcement follows the decision by Pope Francis to send a personal envoy, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, on a fact-finding mission to Scotland last year. Based upon that investigation – the content of which is fully know only to Pope Francis and Archbishop Scicluna – Pope Francis has reached his canonical conclusion.

    Cardinal O’Brien’s decision followed a private discussion with Pope Francis. This was preceded by a period of prayer and penance in order to allow the Cardinal to reflect upon his misconduct.

    Archbishop Cushley added:
    “For my own part, I would like to express sorrow and regret to those most distressed by the actions of my predecessor. I also pay tribute to those who had the courage to come forward to speak to Archbishop Scicluna. I hope now that all of us affected by this sad and regrettable episode will embrace a spirit of forgiveness, the only spirit that can heal any bitterness and hurt that still remains”. ENDS

    Friday 20 March 2015

    Statement from Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

    Responding to the decision of Pope Francis to accept his resignation from the rights and duties of a Cardinal, the following statement has been issued by Cardinal Keith O’Brien:

    “I wish to repeat the apology which I made to the Catholic Church and the people of Scotland some two years ago now on 3rd March 2013. I then said that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me. For that I am deeply sorry”.

    “I thank Pope Francis for his fatherly care of me and of those I have offended in any way. I will continue to play no part in the public life of the Church in Scotland; and will dedicate the rest of my life in retirement, praying especially for the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, for Scotland, and for those I have offended in any way”. ENDS

    March 20, 2015 at 1:40 pm
  • editor

    I’ve just watched the news reports on local television here about the Pope accepting the Cardinal’s resignation (but allowing him to keep the title etc.) and that woman is being interviewed again – Catherine Deveney, the journalist who broke the scandal and who knows the identities of the accusers – I mean, she knows officially, but refuses to divulge the identities to the rest of us. She really has a cheek then, whingeing on TV that the findings of the report are known only to the Pope, there is no transparency in the Church, things are just as they were when the accusers first brought their “abuse” into the public domain, blah blah, whinge, whinge.

    SHE demands transparency from the Pope while withholding it herself! What a blankety blank nerve! A nerve that is, I repeat, blankety blank! Same old Catherine Deveney, same old moan, same old hairstyle. Gimme strength!

    March 20, 2015 at 6:51 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    Don’t forget the earrings! Same old earrings!

    March 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm
  • editor

    Of course! Those earrings!

    Here’s Archbishop Cushley’s statement which came to me via our French reader/blogger just now!

    March 20, 2015 at 10:41 pm
    • editor

      Deveney’s clever “get out clause” is her insistence that the accusers are not anonymous because the papal nuncio knows who they are. Earth to Catherine Deveney – gerragrip!

      Would she have accepted that explanation at the time of the MPs expenses scandal if the Prime Minister of the day had said that umpteen MPs had fiddled their expenses but HE knew their identities and it was not in the public interest to publish their names? Then rebuffed every journalist who questioned their anonymity with “But they’re NOT anonymous. I know who they are…” Does she think we’re all as daft as the allegedly professional journalists who interview her?

      March 23, 2015 at 8:06 pm
  • Athanasius

    This woman Deveney speaks of accountability, but I wonder if it has ever crossed her mind that she will have to account to God for her part in making this great scandal public without due cause. Had there been criminal activity involving, say, children, then I could understand. But to speak of adult priest/victims of Cardinal O’Brien is just ridiculous. Does she, and they, think we came down with the last shower? The Cardinal would only have needed to try it on once with me and he would have found himself singing two octaves higher for a considerable time afterwards!

    I think this latest news from Rome brings the matter of Cardinal O’Brien to a close. He has been stripped of his ecclesiastical dignity in all but name and has again made his apologies to the faithful he scandalised. We must now leave him to the mercy of God and hope that he is truly sorry in his heart. No truly repentant soul is beyond God’s infinite mercy.

    As regards the Scottish hierarchy, I doubt very much that it will learn lessons from this horrendous episode. I fear the bishops will remain blinded to the consequences of a conciliar reform which has stripped the Mass and priesthood of its sanctity. The closure of all Scottish seminaries should have alerted them that something was supernaturally wrong a long time ago!

    March 20, 2015 at 11:07 pm
  • Prognosticum

    Athanasius, because we are all sinners, we are all in need of God’s mercy, including you and me. And rather than leaving Archbishop O’Brien to God’s mercy, I do think that that it would be more Catholic to accompany him with our prayers.

    But Athanasius does hit the nail fairly and squarely on the head when he days that ‘supernaturally’ something was wrong a long time ago.

    I know that it will be to court controversy to say so, but I do think that, scandal apart, Cardinal Winning bears a much greater share of the blame for the state of the Catholic Church in Scotland than Archbishop O’Brien. Mother Nature had cast O’Brien irredeemably in the mould of a supporting player (hence the utter stupidity of Rome in even countenancing his being made an Archbishop let alone a Cardinal), but Winning was leading man material from the outset, but with a flaw that was going to be fatal. With Winning everything was conjugated in the first person. He was far too centred on himself to whom he seemed, consciously or unconsciously, to subordinate anything and everything. And any stocks deemed to be taller than himself … the were simply and unceremoniously lopped off.

    Winning careered, and I use the term advisedly, between one public event and another, but in all of his long reign there was no-one putting in the spadework as far and the sanctification, teaching and governance of the Archdiocese of Glasgow was concerned. There was no strategic vision for Glasgow, or for Scotland for that matter. It was as if the Archdiocese moved by dint of inertia until, as always happens, the frictional forces of this world intervened to stop it dead in its tracks. And Winning’s influence extended well beyond the boundaries of Glasgow. Priests in both Motherwell and Paisley are only too keenly aware of the damage wreaked on their own dioceses by Winning appointees.

    It was under the extremely media conscious Winning that there opened up a chasm between the real state of the Church in Scotland and the media perception of it which led to both Church and media essentially feeding off a reciprocal lie. Now, for the media to feed off lies nothing new, for it is essentially a lie. But for the Church it is different. Under the cosy Winning-Mass Media settlement, ordinary Catholics were lulled into thinking that everything in the garden was more or less rosy when in fact the garden was largely a projection of smoke and mirrors. This situation was captured extremely well by a little pamphlet of the time (the title of which I am afraid escapes me), co-authored, I believe, by our esteemed Editor, and published by Christian Order.

    One could go on and on and on, but (and it may be because I am getting on in years) what would be the point? To reflect let alone write about the Church in Scotland has for at least three decades been an increasingly disheartening, not to say acutely painful task. But please don’t misunderstand me. Catholics are creatures of grace and we have to be open to the working of grace around us as God seeks to redeem us. I do undeniably see green shoots, but they are small, fragile and far from uniformly spread, all of which points, as paradoxical as it may be, to their being authentic.

    Let us look to the future with Christian hope. Let us pray above all that God will raise up in Scotland priests who love the Catholic Truth more than themselves and who are willing, by God’s grace, to testify to it in charity.

    March 21, 2015 at 6:55 am
    • editor


      I think you refer to this pamphlet

      We were told at the time that Archbishop Winning was outraged when he read it – no doubt, especially Michael McGrade’s article on the dire state of the Church in Scotland.

      March 21, 2015 at 8:51 am
    • Athanasius


      I should perhaps have emphasised that I have prayed for Cardinal O’Brien, as for the other fallen priests in this scandal. I take no pleasure in discussing their very public disgrace and I pray God that every one of them will do what is necessary before death to make their peace with Him and save their souls in eternity.

      As to your diagnosis of the problems in Scotland being attributable more to Cardinal Winning than Cardinal O’Brien, I think it fair to state that they were/are all faithless men, careerists, who share the blame equally for the apostasy in this country.

      I recently attended my cousin’s funeral Mass, the first time I’ve been in a Novus Ordo chapel for many years, and I was sickened by the Protestant, nay pagan, performances I witnessed during that event, right down to the David Bowie song at the graveside. It was quite obvious to me that even the celebrating priest has lost all sense of the Mass, the Real Presence and the Church’s teaching on sin, death and judgment.

      Catholics? No longer in the Traditional sense of the word, it grieves me to say. The poor wretched souls in this country, as in many others, have been so divested of the Catholic spirit by their Modernist bishops that they hold open conversations in church, take the Blessed Sacrament in their hands, drink from the chalice, etc., etc. It’s like being present at a Pentecostal service.

      If I sound angry it is because I am angry, with a just anger at what these bishops have done to our holy faith by their Modernism. Just look at the Sanctuary in St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow and tell me that it remotely resembles a Catholic Sanctuary. There is no tabernacle, there are no altar rails and the high altar has been replaced with a butcher’s block. No wonder priests and people, especially the young, are losing the faith in such numbers that all five Scottish seminaries have been shut down.

      This is where the root of the problem lies and it’s about high time every Catholic priest and lay person worthy of the name stood up and said so. The only way to restore holiness to the Catholic religion in Scotland, as elsewhere, is in a radical return to the ancient Faith, as it was believed, preached and practiced prior to Vatican II and the subsequent “revolution in cope and mitre”. Otherwise, despite all good intentions and expressed desires, the rot will continue apace, as will the scandals, because the faith has been weakened to the point of death by command of the bishops.

      March 21, 2015 at 1:07 pm
      • editor


        “The only way to restore holiness to the Catholic religion in Scotland, as elsewhere, is in a radical return to the ancient Faith, as it was believed, preached and practiced prior to Vatican II and the subsequent “revolution in cope and mitre”. Otherwise, despite all good intentions and expressed desires, the rot will continue apace, as will the scandals, because the faith has been weakened to the point of death by command of the bishops.”

        Absolutely! Spot on!

        March 23, 2015 at 8:05 pm
  • Helen

    How very very tragic 🙁

    March 23, 2015 at 8:30 pm

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