Archbishop of Glasgow On “Low Level of Catholic Formation” … So What?

Archbishop of Glasgow On “Low Level of Catholic Formation” … So What?

Below, the text of the Pastoral Letter sent from the Archbishop of Glasgow to be read in all parishes tomorrow, Sunday, 3rd March, 2019.  Underneath the Pastoral Letter, is the text of the ad clerum – that is his letter to priests – on the same subject.  Compare the two – and weep!

Curial Offices, 196 Clyde Street Glasgow, G1 4JY
E-mail: [email protected] /          

Pastoral Letter for Sunday 3rd March 2019

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are approaching the time when, each year, young Catholics make First Confession and receive First Holy Communion.

It is incumbent upon the whole community to pray for these children, to support them in their journey of faith and to show them good example of Catholic faith, practice and discipline in the celebration and reception of the Sacraments.

I call especially upon the parents and guardians of these young Catholics to be mindful of the promises they made when they presented their child for baptism. The Church considers you as “the first and best teachers of your children in the ways of faith”. There is no doubt that the influence of parents, siblings and family is central to the faith formation of children. So, please, pray with your children, accompany them to Sunday Mass and be a good example to them of practising Catholics. Please cooperate with your Parish Priest, with our teachers in Catholic schools, with Parish Catechists and with all who are currently preparing your children.

The Sacraments are Sacraments of Christ, of the Church and of faith. Our faith teaches us that the Sacraments confer grace when they are received with the right disposition. When we go to Confession, our sins are truly forgiven through the grace of Jesus Christ. When we receive Holy Communion, we are nourished by the true Body and Blood of Christ. When we receive the Sacraments, the Lord deepens our belonging to his Church.

Please help your children to receive the Sacraments with faith, devotion and reverence. Let your families and friends rejoice with you. Let your enjoyment always be worthy of the “holy things” that you and your children have received.

I hope and pray that this Season of the Sacraments for your children will bring us all an increase of faith and of the immense joy of profound encounter with Jesus Christ our Lord. May Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for children and families, and bring them to Jesus.

Yours devotedly in Christ,

Most Reverend Philip Tartaglia Archbishop of Glasgow

18th February 2019

Dear Monsignor, Canon, Father,
Dear Rev. Deacon

Ad Clerum Letter on Preparation for the Sacraments

As you know, I have written a short Pastoral Letter on the Season of First Confession and First Holy Communion addressed to parish communities and especially to the parents and guardians of the boys and girls they have presented for these Sacraments. My letter to them encouraged them to prepare their children as well as possible for the Sacraments, to give them good example of Catholic faith and practice and to cooperate with Parish and School in the programmes and initiatives designed to prepare the children for the Sacraments. Finally, I wished them and their family holy joy in this Season of the Sacraments.

With this Ad Clerum letter, I wish to address a few words to you. I want to express my support for you in your attempts to prepare the children and their families for the Sacraments. We all know that in this time of apathy, indifference and superficiality, good preparation for the Sacraments is both rather challenging and very necessary. It is such a joy and such a consolation for priests and deacons when children and their families respond to our promptings with sincere faith and regular practice.

At the same time, my dear brothers, you know as well as I do that the faith of many families is weak and that, for them, the celebration of the Sacraments is alarmingly superficial. Much to our frustration, their personal circumstances andometimes mean that they cannot or will not cooperate with the preparation initiatives that we would like them to engage in.

I ask you to have compassion for these families and not to be too demanding with them. The whole weight of contemporary culture is against them. They are the ones who above all need the love and encouragement of their Priest and Shepherd.

I have always taken the following as a pastoral rule of thumb in discerning the threshold for the reception of the Sacraments. If the child is baptised, is a pupil at a Catholic school, if the parents request the Sacraments for their child, and if the child sincerely wants to receive the Sacraments, I believe that the minimum threshold for reception of the Sacraments has been reached. This minimum threshold is not to place an obstacle to the grace of the Sacraments (cf. Council of Trent, Decree on the Sacraments in General, Can 6).

Of course, we want more, and that is why we invite parents and candidates to engage in various initiatives. The Sacraments are Sacraments of faith (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Liturgy, 59), and we want as much faith as possible to welcome the encounter with Christ, which is the core of the sacramental event.

These are our neediest brothers and sisters. Jesus died for them. He loves them. He reaches out to them through you. I do not wish to supplant your pastoral judgment. You are there on the spot and you know your people as the Good Shepherd does. Please consider carefully what you are asking them to do. Please do not place unnecessary obstacles or hurdles in their way. Please give the child and the grace of the Sacrament the benefit of the doubt, for Jesus Christ alone is the Saviour, and we are the priests and servants of his mysteries of grace.

With the greatest respect and esteem for your priestly and diaconal service,

Yours always in Christ,

Most Rev. Philip Tartaglia Archbishop of Glasgow


Well, doesn’t that take the proverbial biscuit?  In essence, Archbishop Tartaglia tells parents to practise the Faith, show good example to their children as they prepare for First Confession and First Holy Communion,  only to tell his priests not to expect too much, and by too much, he means ignore the fact that they’re lapsed. Just let the children receive the Sacraments and get back to your golf.  Honestly, it really does take the biscuit. But don’t take my word for it – let’s examine what, precisely, the Archbishop of Glasgow is saying to his priests in the above ad clerum…  

In paragraph one, he mentions his Pastoral Letter acknowledging that he is encouraging parents to do what he later (in his ad clerum) admits they just cannot do, which is to “prepare their children as well as possible for the Sacraments, to give them good example of Catholic faith and practice and to cooperate with Parish and School in the programmes and initiatives designed to prepare the children for the Sacraments… ” [para 1]

He describes “this time of apathy, indifference and superficiality” [para 2] without mentioning the part he and his priests have played in creating and perpetuating this apathy, indifference and superficiality. Think, for example, of the many dissenters given platforms in Glasgow – even to the point of having a female Anglican vicar speak in the Jesuit church, St Aloysius College only a few weeks ago. 

The entirety of paragraph three is a damning indictment of the Catholic Church in Scotland, and the Archdiocese of Glasgow in particular: “…you know as well as I do that the faith of many families is weak and that, for them, the celebration of the Sacraments is alarmingly superficial. Much to our frustration, their personal circumstances and low level of Catholic formation sometimes mean that they cannot or will not cooperate with the preparation initiatives that we would like them to engage in. ” [para 3 – emphasis added].  Who, pray, is to blame for the fact that children are now coming forward for the Sacraments, from homes where the parent(s) have not, themselves, been adequately taught the Faith? As he laments this scandal, the same Archbishop is allowing the Scottish Catholic Education Department to push homosexual/transgender propaganda in Catholic schools.  Is the Archbishop really that incapable of joining up the dots?

In paragraph four,  the blindness becomes even more apparent: “I ask you to have compassion for these families and not to be too demanding with them. The whole weight of contemporary culture is against them.”   Talk about missing the point!  The whole reason why these families are faithless is because of negligent priests in pulpits and teachers in schools – overseen by “liberal” bishops; it is precisely because nobody has been remotely demanding with them.  Can he really not see that?  And as for this nonsense about contemporary culture – Muslims, Jews and Hindus live, move and have their being in the very same contemporary culture and they can be picked out on any street as they, literally, wear their religion for all the world to see. So, don’t gimme “contemporary culture” – gimme instead, an open admission of negligent hierarchy, clergy and allegedly Catholic teachers.  

The rest of the Archbishop’s letter to priests can be summed up thus:  don’t bother your heads if the parents are not practising; don’t put obstacles in their way – if they want their child to dress up in a pretty Communion dress, kilt or nice suit, and have their “special day”, don’t go and be a spoil-sport by talking about off-putting things like Commandments (to keep holy the Sabbath) or Church laws (like regular Confession, Sunday Mass etc)  

Left unsaid in the ad clerum:  do you really want to have to say you had no First Communicants this year?  Think of the field day Catholic Truth would have with that little nugget… 


Consider:  what SHOULD priests do when presented with non-practising families;  child is baptised and attends Catholic school – should they be permitted to make First Confession, Communion and, later, Confirmation?  Does it make sense to be confirmed in a Faith you know little to nothing about and don’t actually practise – except when weddings and funerals come around?  Let’s hear it…     

Comments (46)

  • Deacon Augustine

    He has given his priests the recipe for producing another generation of practical atheists whose souls will line the burning halls of hell.

    I know another diocese in more southern climes where the bishop is taking the opposite approach (advocated by Fr James Mallon in his book Divine Renovation).

    The rules there are that the Sacraments are only to be given to children when the parents commit to going to weekly Mass, getting involved in the parish and go through a lengthy sacramental preparation course with or on behalf of their children. The warning is to expect lots of griping and groaning and the expectation that initially numbers receiving the sacraments will substantially drop off. However, the long term aim is to produce communities of faithful who are committed to and better formed in their faith and who in turn will be equipped to evangelise and form new members of those communities when they move into the area.

    It is very early days for the strategy yet and there is always the risk that more liberal clergy who do not support the project will undermine it. However, the strategy has worked very well in the US where it has been applied consistently and there is no reason why it should not work on this side of the pond.

    Personally I would strengthen it by stipulating that there are to be no places in Catholic schools for children who are not attending Mass at least weekly….but I am a “harsh and offensive” old git so probably don’t know what I’m talking about. 😉

    March 2, 2019 at 6:32 pm
    • Lily

      Deacon Augustine,

      I think that is the way it should be – insisting that Catholic schools take only (or at least top of the queue) children from practising homes, and that the parents must practise before the children are given the Sacraments.

      My only doubt is baptism – to deny a child baptism, and therefore possibly salvation, because the parents are lapsed, worries me a bit. I’m not sure about that one, but First Communion, definitely they must be practising before that.

      March 2, 2019 at 6:46 pm
      • Petrus

        I couldn’t agree more. They don’t even tell the children they should go to go to Confession before First Communion. It’s not mentioned.

        March 4, 2019 at 5:14 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        I have heard that before, that they now don’t link confession and First Communion. The poor children, they really don’t stand a chance.

        March 4, 2019 at 7:08 pm
      • Petrus

        It’s shocking. Totally shocking.

        March 4, 2019 at 7:10 pm
  • Fidelis

    That’s a disgrace, that children will be making first Communion with no possibility of really understanding what is happening, Who they are receiving – and the Archbishop gives his blessing to that ignorance being maintained?

    To answer the question – no, I don’t think priests should just go ahead and allow these children to make their first Communion – no way. They need to take the flack if necessary, but the archbishop has said he doesn’t want to “supplant” their judgment, so it’s really up to each priest to act correctly in this situation and not use pastoral concern as an excuse to do the wrong thing.

    March 2, 2019 at 7:41 pm
  • editor

    Something I should have said in the introduction is this; instead of blaming the “contemporary culture” for the widespread loss of Catholic Faith and Morals, the Archbishop of Glasgow (like every other bishop) should be openly challenging that culture.

    Instead of permitting the proponents of grave sin – the LGBT / TIE brigade – access to Catholic schools for the express purpose of spreading their evil propaganda under the guise of preventing/ending bullying and teaching so-called equality, as if deliberate sin can ever be equal to virtue, each bishop in Scotland – including Archbishop Tartaglia – should have made a public statement explaining why such access must be denied to any and all who wish to promote beliefs and behaviours which are in direct conflict with God’s moral law. The Church is charged with defending and promoting God’s law – and if the secularists seek to challenge that right and duty in the secular courts, all any bishop has to do is grit his teeth and pray to St John Fisher, the only bishop in England who defended the Faith when it was under attack there during the Protestant Reformation. Easy.

    The bishops should be reminding teachers that if they teach Christian charity – which requires us to love even our enemies – then nobody but nobody will be “bullied” in our schools. Of course, except for the brain-dead, everyone knows that “bullying” is the excuse given by the LGBT / TIE / Scottish Catholic Education Service / Barbara Coupar, to infiltrate Catholic schools in order to brainwash pupils with the sordid material to which innocent (and nowadays, sadly, not so innocent) children are exposed as part of said brainwashing “education”.

    So, from whichever angle we look at the Archbishop’s ad clerum, the fact is, he has failed to recognise the real cause of the lapsation within his archdiocese. Negligent teachers, priests and hierarchy over a period of fifty plus years; he has to make a choice now – either he continues to write letters like the most recent ad clerum, blindfolded and deaf to all warnings that he is taking his own soul and the souls of everyone suffering spiritual, religious and moral deprivation as a result of his negligence (his predecessors already having been called to account for their neglect) or he can leave us, in due course, having done everything in his power to reverse the decline. Simple.

    Or, as St Irenaeus put it: Truth is always simple; it is error that is immense.

    March 2, 2019 at 9:50 pm
  • RCAVictor

    Following an indifferent, casual Baptism at the Archdiocese of Glasgow, the stage is set for a future Confirmation:

    Q: “Do you reject Satan, and all his pomps and works?”
    A: “Who??”

    Q: “Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?”
    A: “Sure, as long as it doesn’t offend anyone! I mean, you know, to each his own, I’m OK, you’re OK, who am I to judge….”

    Q: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?”
    A: “Could you ask shorter questions? I have 15 unanswered texts on my cell phone, and 25 comments on my latest Facebook post!”

    Q: “Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?”
    A: “Why do I have to believe all this stuff, anyway? Like, wow, I have enough tests to deal with at school! Gimme a break!”

    March 2, 2019 at 11:48 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Reading your fantastic analysis, I am now firmly of the opinion that the Archbishop will act without delay… so to speak, in the usual manner … to remedy the situation which you so perfectly describe…

      March 3, 2019 at 3:15 pm
  • Athanasius

    Maybe Archbishop Tartaglia should put the Blessed Sacrament back in its place of central honour in his Cathedral instead of hiding His Lord away in a corner, that would certainly make him appear less of a hypocrite. Then he could declare that the Blessed Sacrament is no longer to be received in the hand by standing communicants, which is an indult, a “contrary usage”, to quote Paul VI, not the Church’s Traditional and present discipline. Kneeling to receive Our Lord on the tongue is clearly more reverent and conducive to faith than standing to receive in the hands like Protestants. And while on the subject of Protestants, he wants to outlaw the Protestant practice of Communion under both kinds.

    These are just a few of the urgent changes any truly believing priest and good shepherd would make to help the faith of his flock. I agree with others here who see this letter of Archbishop Tartaglia as hollow words. The truth is that he and his confreres in the hierarchy are to blame for the devastation of the faith in this country. They are liberals to the hilt, men who changed everything of the old faith until there is barely any faith left.

    The blindness is staggering. All seminaries in Scotland have closed down under the watch of the post-Vatican II hierarchy in this country and generations have been lost to the Church, yet Archbishop Tartaglia blames “contemporary culture” and advises more indifference on the part of priests as the means to tackle it “don’t be too demanding of them”. Shocking stuff.

    March 3, 2019 at 12:36 am
    • Hans

      Athanasius – “The Protestant practice of Communion under both kinds”
      Really? How so? Catholics have received under both kinds, why restrict it?

      March 3, 2019 at 11:14 am
      • Athanasius


        You will doubtless be aware that Protestants have always argued that the Catholic Church was hypocritical in giving the faithful only the consecrated host. Their point was that not allowing the faithful to drink from the chalice as well meant that they were not really receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ, as they proclaimed.

        Well, the Church fought that heresy off for centuries with the clear answer that receiving the consecrated host alone was indeed the full body and blood of Christ. Then the liberals came along, you know, the ones who can’t leave anything alone, have to change everything while pretending that they’re returning to the early Christian practice while they are actually adopting 16th century Protestant practices.

        Restricted access to the chalice in the Catholic Church was done first of all to counter the Protestant heresy. But it was also more practical, more hygenic and more convenient with large congregations to administer the sacred host alone, which, as I say, is the full body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord.

        My question to you and all other innovator Catholics today is: Why not restrict Holy Communion to just the Sacred Host? Is it because there is no longer any who believe that it is the body and blood of Christ? I can’t think of any other reason for change.

        March 3, 2019 at 1:03 pm
    • editor


      ” Archbishop Tartaglia blames “contemporary culture” and advises more indifference on the part of priests as the means to tackle it “don’t be too demanding of them”. Shocking stuff.

      Absolutely, spot on. I would add only one more consideration; the Archbishop advocates indifferentism dressed up as mercy and compassion. Truly, truly, shocking stuff.

      In my youth, I remember the priest saying every year, as we approached Lent (as we are doing right now, this week) that for someone, quite possibly in this very congregation, this will be his or her last Lent. It always had a sobering effect on moi, at least, and I’m sure others left the church more thoughtful than when they entered.

      I hope, for his sake, that Archbishop Tartaglia reflects on the fact that this well may be his (as it may be my own) final Lent and takes time to seriously reflect on his attitude to the lost souls in his charge. Priests and people being misled, encouraged into a false (spiritual) security by his sentiments, implying that it is irrelevant whether the Sacraments are treated as precious gifts from God to take us to eternal salvation, or something much, much less important – as his ad clerum suggests.

      It is never merciful or compassionate to encourage people to sin, to play games with their eternal salvation. “The way to Life” Our Lord told us “is narrow. And few there are who find it.”

      That’s certainly true of the Archdiocese of Glasgow under this archbishop with his cavalier approach to preaching and teaching the Faith, and invoking the discipline of the Church on those who refuse to practise the Faith but demand their “rights” to various sacraments when it suits their shallow purpose.

      March 3, 2019 at 3:27 pm
  • Pat McKay

    There was a time when First Holy Communions were held at a special Mass on a Saturday, but for many years now the event has been integrated within one of the regular Sunday Masses.

    On one occasion, I recall overhearing a really breath-taking comment from a father, whose boy was about to receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist for the first time. …’now remember – you only have to do this once and you never need to do it again’….

    Is it any wonder more than 90% of school-leavers end up leaving the Faith, with ‘parents’ like that?

    March 3, 2019 at 11:45 am
    • editor


      Utterly disgraceful. No, you are right, it’s no wonder at all that the majority of school-leavers have already left the Faith, with parents like that. Coupled with the dreadful teaching programmes in Catholic schools, it’s a wonder anyone so much as adheres to a remote belief in God, never mind the Catholic religion, whole and entire, these days.

      March 3, 2019 at 3:31 pm
      • Athanasius

        Of course, let’s not forget that the parents today were the first to have the faith robbed from them after Vatican II. The 70s and 80s were the most horrific times for Catholics, heresy and revolution were everywhere and clerical ranks were mainly populated by hippies.

        March 3, 2019 at 3:43 pm
      • editor


        So true. And nowadays, those same hippy types think they’re “traditionalists” – I always have to suppress a smile when I’m in the company of Catholics seeking to reassure me that they have a “good” or a “great” priest: reasons range from “his homilies are very sound – he doesn’t preach heresy” (as if they’d recognise a heresy if it came up and smacked them on the nose) to (and this one is increasingly popular) “he wears a cassock – appreciative, very deep sigh… ”

        Here’s a photo of some Glasgow priests taken recently…

        March 3, 2019 at 5:37 pm
      • Athanasius


        There’s papabile amongst those contemplative types!!

        March 3, 2019 at 6:45 pm
      • editor


        That cartoon made me laugh a hollow laugh because it reminded me of the ridiculous fuss when Pope Benedict introduced changes to the new Mass designed to restore some semblance of tradition. What a carry on! Letters were published in the so-called Catholic press crying for a return to the “old Mass” by which they meant the novus ordo! Hilarious. The letters bleated about the injustice of making these changes which would not be liked in the parishes and pleading for them not to be implemented. You know things like “For you and for many…” – i.e. Our Lord’s own words…

        Yet, those who ask for the really old Mass, are chided for our “nostalgia” blah blah…

        Gimmer – I repeat, yet again – strength!

        March 3, 2019 at 10:44 pm
      • Theresa Rose


        True, my classmates and I made our First Communion on a Saturday morning. As fasting from midnight was the norm, we were taken into the Chapel hall for breakfast after Mass had ended.

        March 4, 2019 at 9:03 pm
      • Pat McKay

        Theresa Rose,

        I remember it well. Our teachers took us out of school for several ‘dry runs’, for which we were marched down to the church and back again (no mandatory hi-viz vests in those days!).

        At the breakfast you mentioned, someone had forgotten to order milk for the tea. We had to sit and wait until one of the St. Vincent de Paul guys went out and bought some from a local shop. Afterwards, the photo-call. I never liked that photo, I had short trousers and sticky-out ears like the handles on the football Scottish Cup.

        March 5, 2019 at 12:02 pm
  • RCAVictor

    I think His Excellency’s Ad Clerum letter is really just a re-packaging and application of the notorious and contemptible approach of Amoris Laetitia (or, as I like to call it, Amoral Laetitia). That is, the false notion that “situation ethics” trumps dogma and doctrine, which are no longer to be obeyed as dogma and doctrine, i.e. commandments, but merely acknowledged as “ideals” which may be “too difficult” for many to achieve in their “individual circumstances.” So, under such “circumstances,” partial observance of the “ideals” are now acceptable.

    That letter, along with AL, reeks of the road to hell.

    March 3, 2019 at 7:51 pm
    • Fidelis

      RCA Victor,

      I agree, that is what is happening, and what is behind the Archbishop’s recommendation that the clergy stick to being indifferent, instead of encouraging, urging, them to inspire the people to return to the faith at this time.

      March 3, 2019 at 9:33 pm
    • Athanasius

      RCA Victor

      It seems to come down to this fundamental question: How can the faithful keep the faith if the hierarchy have lost it?

      It’s getting more and more difficult to see any real semblance of Catholic Faith in any of the modern bishops, Cardinals and, sadly, this Pope. They are all so worldly now, absolutely imbued with humanism and almost empty of the supernatural. Hence the crisis, the blind leading the blind.

      March 3, 2019 at 10:07 pm
      • Laura


        I couldn’t agree more.

        When the archbishop wrote about “low level of Catholic formation”, he chose the wrong words – “NO Catholic formation” is closer to the truth.

        It’s hardly surprising that the clergy are badly formed, and no different from worldly humanists as you say. They didn’t close our seminaries in Scotland – all of them (5, I think?) because they were bursting at the seams with wonderful candidates with strong vocations. So, if the clergy have a “low level of Catholic formation”, how can the people be any better? It’s ridiculous to expect it. It really is the blind leading the blind, as you say.

        God help us all – especially us Glaswegians, LOL!

        March 3, 2019 at 10:17 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Yet again, you hit some nails on plenty of heads.

      It has been a feature of modernist (lack of) theology to use the term “ideal” to mean “pie in the sky, but do try to achieve it, if you can…” And this ad clerum is, as you say, but one more example of that nonsense.

      If they don’t want to “nag” the parents (i.e. repeatedly exhort them, teach them) about the requirements (from God) to attend weekly Mass etc. then – to clear their own consciences and offer the parents a meaningful choice – all they have to do is make a point of telling them about the dogma “outside the Catholic Church, there is no salvation”.

      Then, with a “you pays your money and you takes your pick” wave, goodbye, the clergy and their archbishop may justifiably wash their hands of these non-believers.

      Without such proper teaching, to make sure parents understand the consequences of their rejection of the practise of the Faith, however, they are washing their hands all right, but in the same damning way that Pontius Pilate washed his hands – seeking to remove himself from the responsibility of his actions and omissions. Didn’t work for him and it won’t work for Archbishop Tartaglia and his priests.

      March 3, 2019 at 10:53 pm
      • Petrus


        Whatever happened to “Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”? Archbishop Tartaglia clearly prefers his own gospel, rather than Our Lord’s!

        March 4, 2019 at 5:18 pm
  • Josephine

    You would think that Archbishop Tartaglia, who I believe has a serious heart condition, or has had a heart attack in recent history, would be making sure he fulfils his important duties before God – any of us can be called to meet our maker at any moment, but I think a heart attack should focus the mind beautifully on the things that matter.

    However, if, as Athanasius says, the hierarchy, bishops like Archbishop Tartaglia, are mere worldlings “almost empty of the supernatural” then the thought of death won’t faze him at all, since the modernists believe everyone gets to heaven anyway, no matter what. It’s just madness.

    My thoughts are with the poor children who haven’t a clue about their First Communion. We should pray that somehow God’s grace touches them on that day and leads them to the faith proper, eventually.

    March 3, 2019 at 10:28 pm
  • Lily

    Here’s something from today’s Scottish Catholic Observer. Priorities in the wrong place as usual!


    PS – I forgot to say the article talks about helping the environment, sustainable fashion etc.

    March 3, 2019 at 10:32 pm
  • Helen

    As pointed out above, other religions have no problem with being open about their beliefs as in wearing religious symbols. What’s wrong with us? The Archbishop is just so wrong in this matter.. children should not be allowed into Catholic schools unless the family is church going and they certainly should not be allowed to receive the sacraments either. Who are we afraid of offending: Almighty God or the parents?

    March 3, 2019 at 10:56 pm
    • editor


      I once asked a Muslim pupil why – in her opinion – the Muslim pupils were so ready to express their views (anti-cultural views) on morality issues, while the Catholics, including pupils in my own (then) parish whom I knew to have been taught the same thing were silent or only spoke out reluctantly when pressed to do so; her reply says it all….

      “We really believe it”.

      March 4, 2019 at 9:55 am
  • RCAVictor

    I just noticed something else peculiar about this Ad Clerum letter (as if there wasn’t already enough elsewhere in it):

    “I want to express my support for you in your attempts to prepare the children and their families for the Sacraments.”

    This does not sound like the attitude of a bishop, who, you would think, would command his priests to prepare families and children properly for the Sacraments. But no, he merely “supports” their “attempts”!

    Can you imagine Our Lord saying to the servant who buried his one talent in the ground, rather than gaining more with what he had been given, “I support your attempts at prudence and caution, my good man. The people are not worthy of investment, anyway.”

    This strikes me as not only a dereliction of his duty as a ruler, but an effort to put the blame for lost Faith on the laity, rather than on where it belongs: on himself and his priests (gee, I wonder where he got that idea?). So it is not only a surrender to the world, it is a surrender of his grave responsibility before God.

    It also smacks of the typical liberal, elitist contempt for the common man: even as they mouth empty words of “solidarity” with them, they stab them in the back by abandoning them to their own laxity and vice, in which they, the clergy, fully share.

    March 3, 2019 at 11:46 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Well spotted. I often think of examples from the Gospel which these modernists must struggle to explain, where Our Lord did not spare his audience. How the clergy and hierarchy today can seriously justify their heresies by reference to the Gospel, beats me.

      March 4, 2019 at 9:57 am
  • Lionel (Paris)

    The conciliar sect has completely eclipsed the Catholic Church, but anyway by dint of accumulating the scandals that make our adversaries have a good laugh at our expenses and who even add more, the conciliar sect will probably disappear from extinction, leaving behind the ruins of the true Church!…

    La secte conciliaire a complètement éclipsé l’Église Catholique, mais de toute façon à force d’accumuler les scandales qui font les gorges chaudes de nos adversaires qui en rajoutent, la secte conciliaire finira bien par disparaître par extinction, laissant derrière elle les ruines de la véritable Église!…

    March 4, 2019 at 8:24 am
    • editor


      I feel your frustration (!) I really do, but as you well known, we avoid using terminology that gives the impression that there are two Churches – it is true that we are in the exact same (indeed worse) predicament than the 4th century Catholics who suffered when almost the entire Church fell into heresy, and St Athanasius had cause to say “they have the churches, we have the Faith” so it is certainly right and proper to speak about the modernists who have a stranglehold on the Church today, at administrative level (Vatican and episcopal, diocesan offices) and we are right to take refuge from the changed Mass and so on; however, we stop short at talking about “conciliar sect”.

      In due course, the errors of Vatican II will be condemned and right order restored. Until then, we stick to the truly Catholic position of condemning all errors and heresies, preserving the traditional Mass and Faith the best we can and pray for our brothers and sisters in the Church, who have been and are being led astray by Modernist prelates and priests.

      I know that you know all of this only too well but I’m repeating it for the sake of passers-by who may mistake your righteous frustration and justified anger for schism. No way, Jose…. or Lionel 😀

      March 4, 2019 at 10:04 am
      • Lionel

        I completely agree with what you write and my way of saying things can be misinterpreted, therefore, I thank you for your clarification.
        When I use the expression “conciliar sect” it is precisely to avoid using “conciliar Church”, a term which within this context could cause confusion…

        March 4, 2019 at 2:53 pm
  • gabriel syme

    The letter is quite breath taking and the Bishop seems to desire a superficial system of “keeping up appearances” rather than addressing the problems in his diocese. This is surely a great dereliction of duty.

    Like the referendums in Ireland, the letter is revealing of the fact that the novus ordo Church is a rotten edifice, just waiting to collapse. It is a protestant denomination in all but name and it produces only very superficial Catholics with wholly secular attitudes.

    This tactic of “running up the white flag” and just pretending people are Catholics, rather than properly equipping them to be so, is very misguided. The Bishop probably thinks if he can “keep up appearances” then somehow everything will work out OK in the end.

    But all that will happen is (of the small amount of people the Church retains) more and more people associated with the Church are Catholic in name only. What is the point?

    I know from talking with (good examples of) parish priests that they find people respond if they are challenged, if the Church expects something from them. But presenting the sacraments as no more than just a “rite of passage” turns people off, assuming they had any interest to start with.

    I have heard stories of how a priest was having success with some people, in terms of their mass attendance, general commitment etc, but all this good work is then undermined by the Archdiocese, which steps in to prohibit any effort at Catholic formation.

    Or it is lost when the family encouraged by the priest finds out that a family in the next parish has no similar obligations and were allowed to sacrifice a goat at their child’s disco-baptism. From being earnest with good intentions, the lay people suddenly feel foolish and resentful, they feel the Church is being unreasonable with them, to ask things it does not ask of others.

    The novus ordo Church has no sense of what it means to be the Catholic Church. It has no confidence in itself or its activities. There is no sense of confidence or purpose in the Bishops letter.

    On the contrary the SSPX exude confidence – with them, things are done properly, or not at all. Look at how +Tartaglia pleads with his priests not to expect much from people. I remember when the new SSPX prior arrived in Glasgow, it was not long before he started communicating his expectations to the congregation in terms of standards of dress, appearance and conduct etc. And there has undoubtedly been a positive response to that, If you ask for more, you get more.

    Its amazing how +Tartaglia speaks of the “low level” of Catholic formation, as if he is under the impression that this is someone else’s failure and not his.

    I was at Catholic school from 1982-1995 and, typically, learned nothing about Catholicism. I am genuinely stumped, looking back, as to what mechanism the Church *thought* was in place to form us as Catholics. We learned nothing at Church, at school or in the home.

    The impression I get was that each of these potential sources of knowledge all thought someone else was teaching us, when in fact no-one was doing anything. Accordingly, we left school wholly ignorant of the Catholic faith.

    The Bishops letter confirms that there has been no improvement in these standards since my own schooldays.

    Of course, I am half convinced that ignorant Catholics is what many Bishops want. It is this ignorance which underpins, for example, the ecumenical movement and the new mass with all its attendant outrages.

    March 4, 2019 at 11:22 am
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme,

      We’re planning a rally to take place (in salubrious surroundings,, as usual!) in the early autumn (probably October) and – without giving too much away, as we are still at the early planning stage – we are inviting Catholics of all ages to share, with our audience, their experiences of Catholic schools/education.

      We already have a couple of young Catholics, and at least one golden oldie willing to speak as “consumers” of Catholic education, so I hope I can count you in, as well, since you are neither too old nor too young – you are, how can I put it… perfect!

      Any other bloggers or readers interested in participating in this rally, or advertising it (remember, the SCO and other Catholic publications won’t accept our advertisements, so we have only our own outlets, website and blog, available to us), please feel free to email me on [email protected]

      March 4, 2019 at 7:27 pm
      • gabriel syme


        Many thanks for the invite – I have sent you an email regarding this.

        March 6, 2019 at 3:20 pm
      • editor

        Gabriel Syme,

        Thank you – received. I’ve now replied. We’re getting there!

        March 6, 2019 at 4:02 pm
  • editor

    I see Pat McKay has put this link on the “trans” education thread and that is fine, but I think the clergy who will be reading this thread (plus the Archbishop of Glasgow) ought to read it and to be sure, I’m posting it here, if for no other reason than it underlines the truth of his acknowledgement that there have been generations of Catholics now, who have not been formed in the Faith. UNLIKE these Muslims…

    March 4, 2019 at 5:06 pm
  • Petrus

    Archbishop Tartaglia doesn’t seem to realise that he is responsible for the low level of Catholic formation. He’s the one that’s wearing the mitre for over a decade and has done nothing to rectify the situation.

    We now have teachers teaching Religious Education who have no real understanding of the Faith. This was brought home to me recently when I asked a class of 30 who could explain the Blessed Sacrament. No one put their hand up. I asked who had heard of the Blessed Sacrament. Again, not one student raised their hand. Seven years of supposed formation in a Catholic school and they didn’t have a clue. Tragic!

    March 4, 2019 at 5:22 pm
  • editor

    I have just sent the following, self-explanatory email to a priest in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh…

    Dear Father Gowans,

    I caught the Kaye Adams show late, as I was driving this morning, and was delighted to hear your commentary in defence of celibacy – so much so that I resolved to email my congratulations to you – until you changed tack to argue for “optional” celibacy.

    With respect, it’s already optional. Nobody forces anyone into the priesthood.

    Anyway, on hearing you agree that no Catholic in the land would object if a priest put his sick child before a call to a sick bed, I rang the show, but too late. The discussion was over.

    I rang to say that I would definitely be that Catholic who objected to a priest putting his sick child ahead of my need for absolution on my death bed.

    Some Catholics, myself included, avail ourselves of Catholic devotions such as attending Mass for nine consecutive Fridays and Mass for five consecutive Saturdays, in part, certainly, because of the divine promise that we will not die without the sacraments. Priests today have lost all sense of Catholicity. They have, in short, lost, if ever they truly had it, the Catholic Faith, which is why clear thinking on such matters has disappeared – not to mention morals. I think of stories of the Fathers of the Church – one in particular – when the wife called for the priest to attend her dying husband, who didn’t want the Last Sacraments. He shouted at the priest to go away. Eventually the priest moved towards the door, but looked back; the man shouted again, go away, I keep telling you, why are you looking back even now? To which the priest replied that he had been at many death beds where he was convinced the soul was going to heaven, that this was the first time he’d attended the death bed of someone destined for Hell. The man changed his mind, and asked for Confession. The saving of even one soul, Father, is surely at the heart of the priestly vocation. That’s what I was taught even as a child, what I’ve understood since my youngest days. Doesn’t seem that way anymore.

    Your comments this morning, sadly, are but one more piece of evidence of the almost total worldliness of our priests today. I say this, not to “offend” you for the sake of upsetting or annoying you but because it is a fact – and priests who are betraying the priesthood, in whatever manner, whether by the shocking child abuse scandals or by forgetting that they are celibate because Christ was celibate, that their vocation is to provide spiritual and religious care, for the purpose of saving souls from Hell – those priests, bishops and popes will answer for this fall from grace at their judgment. Priests are not merely an arm of the State to provide comfort in hard times, like any other social worker. You mentioned your work in prisons: there we find souls ripe for conversion – I wonder how many priests focus on that, rather than merely doing their kindly best to help them find jobs etc on release. I really do wonder.

    I’m sorry to say, Father, that while my original determination to email you was to congratulate you for your staunch defence of celibacy on the Kaye Adams Show this morning, I now write to lament the fact that you missed a golden opportunity to do exactly that. The Gospel quotes fighting for attention in my head are trumped by this one: When the Son of Man comes, will He find any Faith on earth?

    Wishing you well.

    Catholic Truth

    March 5, 2019 at 11:59 am
    • Petrus

      That’s an excellent email, editor. A very good point indeed that celibacy is already optional. If a man doesn’t want to be celibate, he doesn’t have to become a priest.

      March 5, 2019 at 4:16 pm
    • Athanasius


      An excellent letter. I hope it has an impact on this priest. Imagine the faithful now having to try to win the priests back to truth and holiness? What a turnaround that is. Incredible!

      March 5, 2019 at 10:59 pm
  • gabriel syme

    Further to +Tartaglias letter regarding the “low level” of Catholic formation, I wonder if anyone has seen these statistics?

    The stats are a comparison of traditional vs novus ordo Catholics, in terms of their faith and attitudes. Unsurprisingly, +Tartaglia is not the only Bishop shepherding CINO lay people.

    I urge people to have a read, or at least review the table of results:

    While depressing, we can take heart from the demographic trends these stats imply.

    Traditional Catholics have a fertility rate nearly 3 times that of the CINOs and they donate almost 6 times as much to the Church.

    March 6, 2019 at 3:26 pm

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