Bishops of Scotland: Anti-Catholicism Rife – Please Review “Hate-Crime”

Bishops of Scotland: Anti-Catholicism Rife – Please Review “Hate-Crime”

Press release from the Scottish Catholic Media Office…

Catholic Church suggests Hate Crime review, offers opportunity to consolidate rather than separate legislation.

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Church comments come in response to the Scottish Government’s Review of Hate Crime legislation, chaired by Lord Bracadale:

The review is charged with considering whether existing hate crime law represents the most effective approach for the justice system to deal with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill-will or prejudice..

Commenting on the review, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan who submitted a detailed response on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said:

“This process is an opportunity, ultimately, to ensure that the legislation is just and that every group is protected. This does not have to be a “zero sum game” where one group “wins” and another “loses” but rather could be an opportunity to rationalise and simplify legislation. A desirable outcome would be a single aggravation such as section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. Applied to all protected characteristics equally, it would be a simple and straightforward “message.” which would foster harmony in that all groups would be treated equally in the eyes of the law.”

Mr Horan added:

“It is important that any legislation, preserves judicial discretion recognising that Scotland has a Criminal Justice System populated by highly trained prosecutors and Judges. They are best placed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of individual cases and should be free to do so in the absence of their decision being “politicised” by legislation which creates a perceived “scandal” where none exists.”

The Church response also highlights Scotland’s long history of anti-Catholicism and urges Government recognition be given to the historic roots of present conflicts. Pointing out that for over twenty years successive Scottish Governments have dedicated significant resources into programmes and projects designed to tackle the symptoms of sectarianism. The submission adds, that in the same period the growth in such funding has been matched by an increase in religious hate crime.

The response notes, that “an opportunity exists to acknowledge that anti-Catholic sectarianism is qualitatively and quantitatively different from other types of religious hate crime in Scotland. Instances of anti-Catholicism outnumber all other type of religious hate crime combined, in a country where Catholics represent only 16% of the population. This is a product of the Reformation Parliament of 1560 and its condemnation of Catholic doctrine and worship including the ban on the celebration of all Catholic sacraments. No other religion or belief has ever been so proscribed in Scotland, the legacy of this proscription continues to the present day. A recommendation by this review, that the Scottish Government consider issuing a collective, retrospective apology could go some way towards building, repairing and renewing bonds between communities harmed by historical wrongdoing. It could also be the first step in addressing historical iniquities.”  ENDS

Click here to read the full text of the Church’s response to the Hate Crime review 


We can’t speak for lapsed Catholics, but it is simply not possible for a truly practising Catholic to be filled with hate and that’s what defines bigotry.  Many of us, myself included, count members of non-Catholic communities among our families and friends.  There is no way that I can even begin to comprehend what it must be like to hate someone for any reason – let alone on account of their religion.  Christ told us to go out into the whole world and convert – not kill, not hate. He explicitly told us that it is just not possible to love God if we hate our neighbour (1 John 4:20). 

The fact is, though, that there is much hatred directed against Catholicism, and it is sadly true that anti-Catholic behaviour is tolerated in Scotland –  to the point where it is effectively institutionalised.  Below, a short video clip showing an annual public demonstration of this institutionalised bigotry – the Orange Walk(s) which take place throughout the summer.  These events, which are permitted by the local political authorities and supported by the police, testify to the tolerance of anti-Catholic sentiment and behaviour by the powers-that-be in Scotland.   The participants sing offensive songs – some of the lyrics of one of the most popular Orange songs  is placed under the video, to give a flavour of what goes on during these marches, although the one on film below is relatively mild. 

As you watch, ask yourself if such a hate-march would be permitted against Muslims. Ask, yourself, too, if the Editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer was right to invite the Grand Master of the Orange Lodge to write a column in the paper a few short years ago…  Is that really what Catholics want to take home and leave lying on the coffee table?  Albeit in the name of fostering ecumenical relationships? Howzabout the Grand Master cancels the annual Orange Marches in the name of ecumenism?  

“The Sash My Father Wore” Lyrics
Sure I’m an Ulster Orangeman, from Erin’s Isle I came
To see my Glasgow brethren all of honor and of fame
And to tell them of my forefathers who fought in days of yore
All on the twelfth day of July in The Sash My Father Wore.
It is old but it is beautiful, and its colors they are fine
It was worn at Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne. From my orange and purple forefather it descended with galore
It’s a terror to them Papish boys, The Sash My Father Wore.   [emphasis added].


Comments (21)

  • Fidelis

    It is a sad fact that anti-Catholic bigotry is rife in Scotland, especially down the west coast. It seems to be getting worse, too, despite all the ecumenism.

    The Orange Walks won’t be banned though, because that would cause mayhem. I try to avoid being in town when they are on the march, but when I do see them, I feel more sad than anything. How can they hate the Church so much, especially since they all have their roots in it, if they’d only stop to think.

    November 29, 2017 at 7:38 pm
  • Allan

    I definitely agree about anti-Catholicism in Scotland. It really is rife, and I am glad that the bishops are now speaking out more plainly about it.

    After watching the video clip on the introduction, I was taken through to this clip of an Orange Walk in Belfast as they march by a Catholic church and you really see the hatred there. Imagine if Catholics were to march to mark the victory over the Muslims at Lepanto, targeting mosques! All Hell would break loose and the media would have a field day, but this is okay – it’s only a Catholic church after all.


    November 29, 2017 at 7:50 pm
  • Lionel

    It is strange to see freemasons parade, here they tend to be discreet and even secret! …

    November 29, 2017 at 11:17 pm
    • Allan


      They are not freemasons – they are members of the Orange Lodge

      I’m sure they’re also tied into freemasonry, but the Orange Lodge is chiefly an anti-Catholic Protestant organisation. They talk about keeping their heritage alive, that sort of language, but in reality they are just anti-Catholic. Watching their parades is painful, to say the least. If you watch the video of them passing the Catholic church in Belfast, their hatred intensifies as they pass the church, banging frantically on their drums etc. It’s shocking that those marches are allowed in Northern Ireland after years of troubles – you’d think they would want to nurture the hard-won peace and not risk losing it over a bunch of bigots.

      November 29, 2017 at 11:54 pm
      • Frankier


        It’s only Northern Ireland to them. There’s no such place in Nationalists’ eyes. It should be referred to only as the north of Ireland. It is only a geographical region of the whole of Ireland.

        They talk about the six counties of Ulster but there are nine counties in the Province. You musn’t mention that though. It doesn’t suit the agenda.

        November 30, 2017 at 5:36 pm
      • Lionel

        Ok, I better understand, Allan!
        Here, in Paris, it is difficult to grasp these complex subtleties… Thank you for this clarification!
        We should send them Pope Francis to teach them to dialogue!…
        It comes to my mind that a few years ago, when I went to Aberdeen with a French diplomat, we were refused a hotel room on the grounds that we were Catholics; that did not disturb us overmuch!

        November 30, 2017 at 10:52 pm
  • Nicky

    I’m really surprised at the press release from the bishops of Scotland because there is so much in the papers about the success of the ecumenical movement, and plenty of photos of bishops and ministers together at this or that event.

    I wonder what’s brought about this change – why are they suddenly acknowledging the anti-Catholic bias?

    November 29, 2017 at 11:59 pm
    • DANO

      Are you seriously saying the bishops and minister’s, shouldn’t come together?setting àn example.You would (presumably) like to see an end to bigotry with Catholic and Protestants getting on like a house on fire.But God forbid that bishops and minister’s should ever share a coffee? Honestly, my heart sinks.

      November 30, 2017 at 10:43 am
      • editor


        Nobody minds bishops and ministers enjoying a coffee together, but if the conversation is centred on “discussing what unites us, which is more than divides us” – well, that is a downright lie.

        That’s been the problem with ecumenism all along. It’s a pretence.

        When I discuss matters of faith with non-Catholics, I take the opposite line; what unites us is, essentially, that Jesus is God, what divides us is a multitude of gravely serious and essential, divinely revealed teachings. Key dogmas, revealed by God, which dissident priests in the 16th century – whether by accident or design – caused to be set aside by the “reformers” and so contemporary non-Catholics are denied the grace of the Sacraments, the help of the Communion of Saints, a beautiful devotional life, the knowledge that they are worshipping God in the way He wishes – the Old Testament being full of divine warnings against offering false worship – and so on.

        Now, we know that Christ is not bound by His Sacraments, but the final command of Our Lord on this earth, before He ascended into Heaven, was to “go out into the whole world” to convert – obviously to the Church which He had established. He did not suggest His disciples discuss and dialogue everyone to death, and minimise the seriousness of His teachings in the interests of “good fellowship”.

        Hope that clarifies things, Dano. Your heart should not sink, but soar at the prospect of being able to take the faith to those in your own circle (and beyond if you use this blog!) to comply with your Confirmation duty as a Soldier of Christ. Soldiers don’t JUST drink coffee – they fight! Remember?

        November 30, 2017 at 11:21 am
      • Frankier


        They’ve been sharing coffees together for long enough now, too long, but the anti-Catholicism has got a lot worse. It seems to me that the coffee isn’t strong enough.

        Maybe it’s time for them to try the Poteen. Failing that, just get back to the way it was in the past. Catholics got more respect when at arms length

        November 30, 2017 at 5:46 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    I am very surprised at the statistics in the Bishops’ document – I know we have anti-Catholic bias, but didn’t realise it outnumbers all other types of bias combined. That is shocking. It’s even more shocking because it’s not mentioned in that way and the public is left with the impression that “Islamophobia” is the big issue.

    November 30, 2017 at 12:33 pm
  • editor

    Wishing everyone a very happy Feast of St Andrew today.

    This thread seems the appropriate place for such greetings, as we pray for an end to the hatred of that Faith which St Andrew shared. There were no apostles who were members of the Orange Order!

    Here’s an extract from the Hymn to St Andrew, sung at the conclusion to Mass for educators at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow. Archbishop Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith attended.

    If anyone can find a rendition of the entire hymn, feel free to post it here.


    Happy Feast Day to one and all!

    November 30, 2017 at 12:40 pm
    • Lily

      Happy Feast of St Andrew, bloggers! I LOVE that hymn to St Andrew – so rousing!

      November 30, 2017 at 2:57 pm
    • RCAVictor


      Here, I believe, is the entire hymn – from Motherwell, no less!


      November 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm
      • Michaela

        RCA Victor,

        I think this is the entire hymn – but it is sung solo by a young girl, without the accompanying music. Still, she is the only one to sing the whole thing including the verse about Scotland, so it’s worth listening to right through,IMHO. I note that none of these recordings has the dramatic drum effect which I was used to growing up – at the join of verse and chorus – stirred the soul!


        November 30, 2017 at 7:41 pm
      • Michaela

        I forgot to say Happy Feast everyone!

        November 30, 2017 at 7:42 pm
  • liberanos

    I really don’t mind watching Orange shuffles.The music is appealing even if the words are not. At least what you see is what you get. There is much more hatred towards the Church from Politicians, humanists,Secular society etc. They are more dangerous and usually better educated than your average orangeman, or woman.

    November 30, 2017 at 4:06 pm
    • gabriel syme


      There is much more hatred towards the Church from Politicians, humanists,Secular society etc. They are more dangerous and usually better educated than your average orangeman

      That’s a very good point regarding where our attention should be.

      November 30, 2017 at 10:32 pm
  • Michaela

    I think it is very brave of the bishops to call out the bigotry against Catholics and to show that it is much worse that “Islamophobia” that we’re told is everywhere. Reading the bishops’ submission was sobering. I’d no idea things were that bad, but in fact they’re worse than I could have imagined.

    God help Scotland, this Feast of St Andrew.

    November 30, 2017 at 7:44 pm
  • gabriel syme

    I am impressed that the Church response had the gumption to ask for a Government apology. They must have opened the Sherry!

    Sturgeon et al fall over themselves to make apologies when it comes to empty gesture politics (as per the recent apology to homosexuals) but are tardy when it comes to addressing real prejudice.

    It is a disgrace that the Scottish Government panders to the TIE campaign etc, seeking homosexual propaganda in classrooms, yet does not address anti-Catholicism – a poison which to this day rears its head repeatedly even at the highest levels of sport, the legal profession, the police and even the Holyrood Parliament itself. When it comes to gender, race or sexuality, these same institutions are models of virtue.

    Unlike other forms of prejudice, the Government always shys away from tackling anti-Catholicism head on. Instead of simply addressing the matter, there is always an attempt to obfuscate or create some bogus analogy. Then they can sit back, claiming a two way problem exists which is difficult to address or even define – despite all evidence to the contrary. A previous Scottish administration actually destroyed hate crime statistics, rather than face the reality they revealed.

    The Orange Walks are a good example from the article. They are permitted every year, with a taxpayer funded Police escort. Yet, when certain unsavoury groups attempt to hold anti-Islam marches – the same Police corral the participants (often assisted by protestors) so the march cannot go ahead. We are then treated to a round of empty back-slapping and comment on how tolerant Scotland is. The double standard is glaring.

    A big part of the problem is that, for many Scots, an antipathy to Catholicism is the only thing they have as an identity and means to understand themselves. Everything else has either failed, like the Protestant ‘churches’, or has declined greatly in relevance and is now just an empty vessel, like the Protestant Monarchy.

    And so anti-Catholicism – the residue of failed institutions – is all some people have left and today its expression is hitched to the wagon of football and politics. It is fostered in the drinking clubs which masquerade as religious or charitable organisations, such as the Orange Order.

    The failure of Protestant Scotland means Scotland faces reinventing itself for the 2nd time in less than 500 years. (I can hardly wait to see whatever garbage is produced.) Yet you can bet the anti-Catholicism will live on, much like how cockroaches are predicted to survive a nuclear war.

    If muslims faced the same level of prejudice as Catholics, you can bet their religious, political and community leaders would wring the absolute maximum publicity, political clout and public money out of it. That is not a criticism, they would be entitled to do so.

    But the fact our Bishops say very little and expect nothing from politicians or the police is a indictment on them. They should use the example of Czech restitution* to exert influence at Holyrood, via compensation for historical anti-Catholic acts by the Scottish State / others.

    (*this compensated religious groups, mainly the Church, for the thefts and oppression they faced under the communists. $Billions worth of property was returned and $Billions of compensation paid.

    Its also disappointing that our ecumenical partner (!), The Church of Scotland, does not play a strong public role in combatting the prejudice they previously did so much to foster – especially as it is increasingly scratching around for relevance in the modern day.

    I am nearly 40 and not much has changed in this matter in my lifetime, which should shame politicians and Bishops both. How sad it is to see my own children now growing up in a society which unquestionably tolerates hatred of their identity.

    November 30, 2017 at 10:29 pm
    • Lily

      Gabriel Syme,

      I missed that about the apology – yes, that’s really great that the bishops have actually asked for one, at last. Hell will freeze over before we get one, of course, but at least the “ask” is on the record.

      December 2, 2017 at 6:53 pm

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