Priest: Celtic V Rangers V Mass. Oops!

Priest: Celtic V Rangers V Mass. Oops!

Pseudonymous Father Justin Thyme, a Glasgow priest, responsible for two parishes in Glasgow,  found himself in a bit of a bind when he realised that the kick-off for the Celtic Vs Rangers game on 31 March, 2019 was at 12 noon. Mass in one of his parishes is at 9 a.m. on Sundays, but in the other… well, that’s at 11 a.m.

You see the problem? Either miss the kick-off, arrive late at the game, or

And that turned out to be the solution. That “or” – Father Thyme  simply arranged for a supply priest to celebrate the Mass for the 4th Sunday in Lent while he, Father Justin, made the supreme sacrifice and toddled off to the Celtic game instead.

But, is it easy to preach the primacy of the Sunday Mass obligation if the priest is able to justify attending a football match instead? Even if, as the defence will go, he’s celebrated either the vigil Mass, or the 9 a.m. Mass, tell that to the parishioners of the 11.a.m. Mass in “parish number 2”.

Not a good look, as they say these days – or as we used to say in the bad old days “doesn’t look good…”

“I’m sure that” – Father Thyme was heard saying solemnly to a friend en route to the game – “Pope Francis would approve.”

There’s no arguing with that, unfortunately…

Scots boy presents Pope Francis with Celtic top.  Click on photo to read more…

Comments (70)

  • Petrus

    It’s appalling that a priest did this. Absolutely appalling. I’m as big a Celtic fan as you will find, but to skip a Mass to attend football is just wrong.

    April 6, 2019 at 7:27 am
    • Margaret Mary


      I agree that it doesn’t look good, but if he’s said a Mass in the other parish, doesn’t that mean it’s not really such a scandal as it would be if he missed Mass to attend a game?

      April 6, 2019 at 1:40 pm
      • Petrus

        Margaret Mary,

        I see what you are saying but I think here the intention is what is the problem. I don’t think priests should be attending football matches at all on a Sunday, nevermind prioritising that over the Sunday Mass.

        April 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm
      • Fidelis


        I totally agree with you. I know parents who won’t allow their children to attend a Celtic game because of the bad behaviour and foul language. It’s hardly a wholesome environment so priests should not be present. That sets a terrible example. Just imagine a child who is nagging his parent to let him go and saying “But Father So & So goes and other priests go.” Talk about undermining parents – Catholic priests (and possibly even bishops) condoning very poor behaviour by their presence.

        It’s a disgrace.

        April 6, 2019 at 4:37 pm
      • Laura


        I also know parents who won’t let their sons attend Celtic Park – even on the news today there’s been more trouble at a Celtic game.

        It definitely sets a very bad example for priests to attend and as if that’s not bad enough, attending on a Sunday when they should be saying Mass!

        The wicked part of me is tempted to say maybe we should just be thankful that “Father Justin” isn’t up to anything worse, as we read too often in the news these days, but still, if we want high standards in the priesthood, I can’t imagine getting in a supply priest for such a trivial reason, fits the bill.

        Does anyone know if he told his parishioners why there would be a supply priest or are they left in the dark?

        April 6, 2019 at 4:58 pm
      • Fidelis


        To be frank, I don’t think most parishioners would turn a hair these days. They like their priests to be “ordinary guys” – that seems to be the way they judge success. If he is just like everyone else, that’s fine. The “who am I to judge?” type, I call them.

        A few years ago, a friend of mine told me about how her priest (also in Glasgow archdiocese) announced he’d be racing through Mass to finish in time to see a Celtic game, I’m not sure if it was on TV or if he was actually going to the game, but it was a Sunday Mass. Apart form herself and a few others nobody else thought anything of it, and just laughed.

        I think there’s a new type of priest these days unlike the “priestly” priests we used to have, and I, personally, don’t appreciate that part of the Vatican II reforms.

        April 6, 2019 at 5:09 pm
      • Josephine


        I think you’re right that most people in the congregation wouldn’t be bothered at all, because the faith has really been diluted to the point where it’s almost non-existent. If they like him as a person, there’ll be nothing he could do that would bother them. It’s all very sad, to see the standards fall so low when at one time they were very high.

        April 6, 2019 at 5:34 pm
      • Petrus

        I have to say that I’ve been to Celtic Park many times and I haven’t ever seen any trouble. With regards to bad language, it depends where you sit. There are family sections which are full of young families. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to completely avoid going to football games.

        April 7, 2019 at 9:43 am
      • Fidelis


        It’s been on the news a couple of times recently that fans were throwing stuff onto the field which erupted in smoke. I think you’ve been very lucky if you’ve not seen trouble – just driving past Celtic Park on a match day makes me nervous, the atmosphere is hardly wholesome.

        I dare say a parent can be careful and try to protect their children from the worst of the bad influence but I think a zero-tolerance attitude is preferable, to be honest – that’s not to say I’m right but it’s just my opinion.

        April 7, 2019 at 3:34 pm
      • Petrus


        I follow every Celtic game and there is never any trouble at Celtic Park . The trouble tends to happen at away games when more “hardcore” fans go to games. I definitely wouldn’t take children to an away game. In fact, I wouldn’t go to an away game myself. However, there is a big difference between home games and away games.

        April 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm
      • editor


        For the record…

        In my student days I was (long story don’t ask) tricked into attending a Celtic game.

        I was appalled at the foul language coming from behind us, directed mostly at the goalkeeper, calling him all the idiots of the day with adjectives which would never make it into any decent dictionary, and so eventually I turned around and said: “Goodness me, it’s only a game. Gerragrip. Watch your language” Which brought howls of “Who the ***** is she? Who brought ***** her?” and when I turned, for support, to the (three or four lads) who’d brought me to this den of iniquity, they’d disappeared 😀

        They more or less went into hiding (in anticipation of getting one, so to speak!) and next day the college chaplain, now deceased, I think I’m right in saying, approached me to say that he’d heard I’d taken up a mission that he wouldn’t dream of undertaking: wiping out swearing at Celtic Park!

        Thankfully, I didn’t see any trouble (although I was lectured later for almost causing some, by my so-called friends, who disappeared, I now realise, in the face of a possible crisis, leaving me to my fate. Sir Galahad has nothing to fear from any of these hitherto friends of mine.)

        Not, I have to say, the most wholesome environment and I’ve had no desire to return. Much to the relief of the entire stadium…

        April 7, 2019 at 7:20 pm
      • Petrus


        This made me laugh. I couldn’t imagine you at a football match. I didn’t know you were a Celtic fan!

        Certainly there are more “hardcore” sections of the stadium, but in my experience the stewards are now very good at telling people not to use bad language. In fact, when I was last at Celtic Park, a few fathers stop up and asked a man to stop screaming and shouting. When he wouldn’t the stewards came and asked him to leave.

        As I said, there are family sections of the stadium which are very family friendly.

        April 7, 2019 at 7:55 pm
      • editor


        People often say that to me… “you make me laugh.” but I’m not sure I like their tone… 😀

        April 7, 2019 at 11:48 pm
      • Margaret USA

        Disgrace doesn’t cut it. It’s…sorry, I’m so mad now I can’t think straight.

        April 8, 2019 at 2:25 am
      • Margaret Mary


        I’m inclined to agree about priests except that I thought we were permitted to engage in recreational stuff on Sundays – it’s only servile work we are forbidden to do. Is that wrong?

        April 6, 2019 at 4:52 pm
      • Michaela

        Margaret Mary,

        I think there’s the issue of enabling others to work, like those employed at Celtic Park – also the footballers who are paid obscene money for their “game”.

        April 6, 2019 at 8:49 pm
    • Lionel

      He simply gave in to temptation… May God not hold it against him!
      Let us pray for him!

      April 6, 2019 at 9:42 pm
    • Margaret USA

      That’s insane! Then again: “There but for the grace of God go I.” – St. Philp Neri.

      April 8, 2019 at 1:10 am
    • Summa

      On another note, congratulations Brother to you and your wife on your reception to the OP.
      (I read it in the Newsletter)
      God bless
      Br. Mungo

      April 8, 2019 at 2:03 pm
      • Petrus

        Thank you, Br Mungo. I hope you are well.

        In Sancto Patre Dominico,

        Br Martin Mary

        April 8, 2019 at 2:38 pm
  • Nicky

    I think if I was a parishioner in the “parish number 2” and I had maybe waited all week to have a quick word with the priest after Mass about a family matter or to make an appointment or whatever, and I found out that he wasn’t there because he was out having fun, 4th Sunday in Lent and all that, I’d be giving him a piece of my mind next time I saw him.

    April 6, 2019 at 4:41 pm
    • Laura


      That’s a good point. If someone specially wanted him to sign a Mass card, say, and then found out he was absent through illness, that’s one thing, but to be off at a Celtic match? I’d be livid.

      The only thing that puzzles me is why there is a shortage of vocations these day. They seem to have a perfectly ordinary lifestyle and, as we are finding out, there’s not necessarily a lot of sacrifice in the “celibacy” area of life, although I don’t want to be unfair to the priests who do live faithful lives. I know there are some, and I’m privileged to know some very good priests myself, but I think it can be made into a comfortable enough life for those who just want an easy life of it.

      April 6, 2019 at 5:02 pm
      • Nicky


        I agree about the faithful priests – in fact I know there are quite a few priests in Glasgow who would not be at all impressed with this priest’s selfish behaviour. It’s a crying shame that, at the very time when the Church needs to do everything possible to improve the image of priests, we get men like this one indulging their appetite for fun and games – and during Lent, of all times ! It’s unbelievable. Do they learn nothing at all in seminary? Did they not read the lives of the great priest saints and their sermons? What inspired them to become priests? I’m at a loss, honestly.

        April 6, 2019 at 5:16 pm
    • Margaret USA

      Give him 5£ worth. I’d be hopping mad

      April 8, 2019 at 2:27 am
  • Josephine

    This is terribly disappointing. When Our Lady appeared at Fatima, she told the children that many souls fall into Hell because there is no-one to pray and make sacrifices for them. Would it be such a huge sacrifice for priests to stay at home on Sundays, pray their Masses, Divine Office, Rosary etc and enjoy some light entertainment, rather than risk causing such a scandal by going off to a football game (with the foul language etc around them, as others have pointed out) when they should be at Mass? I take the point that he probably said an earlier Mass but it’s still unacceptable, IMHO, to bring in a supply priest just to let him go off to a game.

    I think priests have truly lost sight of the beauty of their vocation and priestly responsibilities. This sermon helps to remind us that there isn’t any other vocation like it.

    I suggest we all pray for this priest – he is probably young and not been taught the faith properly himself, maybe thinks the whole point of being a priest is to be like everyone else, just working more to improve the world. That seems to be the narrative now, and has been for quite a few years. The language of “prayer and sacrifice” was probably not part of his seminary training.

    April 6, 2019 at 5:32 pm
    • Margaret USA

      You’re extremely charitable. Thank you for helping me calm down. ☺

      April 8, 2019 at 2:29 am
  • cbucket

    Why Father Justin, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for Celtic!”

    April 6, 2019 at 7:45 pm
    • editor


      You cleverly remind us of the powerful words of St Thomas More at his trial…

      April 7, 2019 at 11:57 pm
      • Margaret USA

        Dear Madame Editor,

        You beat me to it!

        Also, please thank the brave soul who told you about this incident. He or she should be commended if not in this life then hopefully on Judgement Day.

        In Christ,

        Margaret 🇺🇸

        April 8, 2019 at 2:33 am
  • Michaela

    It really is disappointing but is it that surprising really in this day and age, with what is going on in the Church? It’s fine to talk about high standards but we just do not have high standards in the Church these days. We have liturgies that are a joke, full of females playing different parts in the performance, and the prayers sound more like party political broadcasts or appeals to “save the planet”. We need to have named people appointed for “safeguarding” to make sure children are not abused. Who could have foreseen this 50 years ago when we were being told the Church was about to blossom in a new springtime. What a joke.

    I just wish the better priests, the ones who are at least aware that they are held to a higher standard, would speak out about this sort of thing. Where are they on this blog, for example?

    April 6, 2019 at 8:54 pm
  • Lionel

    That is a pretty good one!
    This is probably a joke? British Humour, is it not?

    April 6, 2019 at 9:33 pm
  • Theresa Rose

    This is a matter of a priest putting a football match before God, on a Sunday of all days. Post Vatican II days have the effect of a nuclear winter rather that a new springtime.

    April 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm
  • Rose

    Does the people who read this blog actually read the Bible? Today’so Gospel should give them an insight as to how they should behave! Judging what’s in a person’s heart and being highly critical. No pat in the back for carrying out their duties and perhaps visiting dying people during the night, whilst the just man sleeps! I say take the splinter out of your own eye and he who is without sin…..

    April 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm
    • Fidelis


      I’ve read the Bible, the bit that says “Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day”.

      There’s been no judging a person’s heart – some of us just think the priest shouldn’t have prioritised football over Mass. Aren’t we entitled to our view?

      April 7, 2019 at 3:37 pm
    • Petrus


      It’s forbidden to judge intentions; however we can judge objective actions. Surely you know this?

      April 7, 2019 at 6:38 pm
    • editor


      I am wondering if you are an agent of Father “Justin Thyme”, who has not responded to my email alerting him to this discussion. If so, it’s very good of you to come on to try to defend him.

      However, I must correct your false claims about the bloggers here.

      Firstly, even a cursory glance through our various topics, reveals that we are, indeed, familiar with the Bible. Not showing off, or anything, but I used to teach A Level Theology, Old AND New Testament. Celtic is not mentioned therein, but, as Fidelis has pointed out, there is an exhortation to keep holy the Sabbath Day – which means not just the hour we spend at Mass (as one Celtic supporter told me this morning after Mass when we mentioned this issue, in passing) but the entire day. He said that, even as a layman, he would not feel right attending a Celtic game on a Sunday. I suppose, too – the thought has just come to me – that we can’t really complain about the erosion of Sundays due to commercial interests, if we are aiding and abetting those same commercial interests.

      Secondly, I don’t have time to trawl the thread to see who said what and when, but I know that bloggers have made a point of acknowledging that there are faithful priests doing their best out there, and not all of them are to be tarred with the same brush. Implicit in that praise is an acknowledgement that those faithful priests do their duties, which may involve visiting dying people during the night although, to be blunt, I haven’t heard of any such cases for a very long time.

      Indeed, here’s a couple of examples of what I HAVE heard…

      1) priests being turned away in hospitals by elderly patients who don’t want Confession because they believe they don’t sin. That takes some dilution of the Faith over time, to place oneself on the same spiritual, theological and moral level as Our Lady. What kind of homilies was SHE listening to, these past 50 years? The four last things… Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell? I think not.

      2) sick people, unable to attend Mass, being on the receiving end of the “lay ministry” where (usually) women bring them Holy Communion on a regular basis. No sign of a priest unless they specifically ask for one to hear their Confession. And since the signal has been, for years now, that the important thing is to receive Holy Communion and remember that God is all-merciful, so even if you have sinned, don’t worry about it – God doesn’t really mind…

      3) In one case that I know of personally (although not in Glasgow, this happened in England) a dying person in hospital who DID ask the Extraordinary Minister to send the priest to give him the Last Sacraments, hurried home to ring the priest only to be told BY the priest (drum roll….) that it was his day off so to ring the Anglican (I repeat that) Anglican chaplain instead.

      Rose, none of us is unaware of our own shortcomings and sinfulness – myself, least of all. I’m full of imperfections. Goodness, only this morning I tried to make an arrangement to meet with someone I’ve annoyed to try to put it right but she more or less told me to shove off! So, I’m not at all criticising Father Justin Thyme from any great height of holiness. Just as I’ve criticised Dr Harold Shipman for falling a tad short of the behaviour that we expect from a professional doctor (when he murdered over 200 patients!) so, I feel it is a false charity to cover up situations – when they are brought to my intention; I don’t go looking for them – in which members of the clergy fall short of the Church’s expectations.

      If I’m wrong about this, and Father Justin’s conscience is completely clear, so be it.

      However, priests today have been sold down the river, sold short in their seminary training and, as a result, are, sadly, not well formed. Perhaps this thread will enable this particular member of the clergy to reflect more on the lofty nature of his vocation and on whether or not he ought to take a little more care before engaging in activities which risk breaking the Sabbath Commandment.

      Worry not, therefore, about our “splinters” – speaking for myself, I’m only too well aware of the wooden beams in my own eye, which is why there is no attempt whatsoever, to pass any judgment on the soul, or even the intentions, of Father Justin. Our criticism here, is a professional judgment only, not a personal one. Father Justin may well be the kindest, most pastorally concerned priest in the archdiocese, for all I know. If so, my guess is that he will welcome this objective criticism… and maybe, who knows, actually reply to my email, if only as a courtesy to acknowledge it, given the well known observation of the writer Hilaire Belloc that “the grace of God is to be found in courtesy.”

      April 7, 2019 at 6:55 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        That is beyond belief that any hospital chaplain would recommend sending for the Anglican chaplain to a patient who is dying and asked for the Last Rites. I think I’ve heard it all now.

        April 7, 2019 at 9:22 pm
      • Margaret USA

        Truth really IS stranger than fiction.

        April 8, 2019 at 2:44 am
  • editor

    I have now received a reply to my email from Father “Justin Thyme” . Below, his reply to my original email (I had promised him that I would post any reply here) and my reply to his reply… !


    Thank you very much for your email and I would just like to clarify for you that I said Mass last Sunday at 9.00am in [parish no. 1]. Given that I have used very little of my annual holiday allowance so far this year I decided several weeks earlier to use the rest of this particular day as a holiday. As I usually do when I take holidays, I asked a local supply priest if he could cover the second Mass in [parish no. 2] i.e. from 11.00am in order that I could take the rest of the day off. I do cover a hospital pager from 7am until 10pm for three to four days every week and I am very grateful to get the opportunity to get a break now and then, even sometimes on Sundays.

    I am also very grateful that you have given me the opportunity to practice more what I actually preached about in this weekend’s gospel- namely the invitation from Jesus not to judge or condemn any of our fellow human beings – but instead to show compassion and understanding- especially when we might know very little about them. So I can only respond to your email with sincere heartfelt and genuine compassion towards anyone who would rather make the choice to simply judge or condemn in the name of an opinion, in regards to the situation about which you emailed me, and also opened up a blog in the newspaper for which you are the editor. I do at the same time accept and recognize we all have a choice to how we view each other but just to let you know that I am so happy to be personally more and more aware that condemning and harshly judging others does not help me in any way whatsoever or indeed anyone else.

    Finally, thanks once again for your email and I wish you an abundance of God’s Blessings through the Spirit of our now risen Lord. Ends.


    Dear Father,

    Thank you for your reply. I will post it on the blog [as promised].

    Firstly, the issue is not whether or not you are entitled to an extra day(s) off – the issue is exclusively the attendance at a Celtic match on a Sunday, with, in your case, the use of a supply priest to cover one of your Masses. Opinions are divided on the idea of any Catholic attending a football match on a Sunday, but, in the main, most of the bloggers and a couple of other non-bloggers to whom I’ve mentioned it, think that it is not right for a priest to go to Celtic Park on a Sunday. Given the dire state of the Church, I dare say the majority opinion would be that it’s not the end of the world, but that is the issue under discussion. Not the fact that you have a day off or an extra day off.

    Secondly – Groan! This is the stock response to any reports or commentary in Catholic Truth; we are/I am judgmental, condemning others, blah blah, simply by reporting matters of concern. Nobody says anything like that, however, when they are reading in newspapers or watching on the TV news, various reports about politicians or other public figures. Nobody castigated the journalists from The Telegraph who, in recent memory, exposed the scandal of MPs fiddling their expenses. Nobody said those journalists were uncharitable and should be ashamed. Quite the reverse!

    As for today’s Gospel – like everyone else who quotes that as evidence that what we are doing is wrong and that Our Lord would disapprove [you] omit his final five words – “Go and sin no more.” Makes all the difference to provide, always, the complete context when quoting Scripture.

    So, that won’t wash. It is, therefore, disappointing to read that what you have learned from this encounter with Catholic Truth is that we are the baddies and you, in imitation of Christ’s exhortation to those who wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery, are the good guy. Well, it’s a view, I suppose. It’s one interpretation of Sacred Scripture but only if you take Christ’s words out of context because elsewhere, Our Lord tells us that action is required, good example, to secure our salvation. Christ teaches: “If you love Me, you will keep My Commandments”. And he made no exception of the Commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day.

    Kind regards – God bless you.

    Later that same day…

    Father Justin emailed again briefly, in more friendly vein, as follows:

    “Thanks for your reply and in regards to your further comments in this connection I will continue to discern on how to best move forward in my own every day life. ”

    For which I thanked him and I think now we can call it … er… game, set and match!

    April 7, 2019 at 9:28 pm
    • Margaret USA

      When our priest takes his annual vacation, he puts it in the bulletin at least 1-2 weeks prior and puts in the contact information of the priest who will be substituting for him. No one begrudges him a day off but at least let people know about it in advance! (And a soccer match doesn’t qualify as relaxation imho.)

      April 9, 2019 at 1:27 pm
      • Petrus


        I think what does, and what doesn’t, qualify as relaxation is highly subjective.

        April 9, 2019 at 1:30 pm
      • Margaret USA


        April 10, 2019 at 12:29 am
  • Athanasius

    Comparing the priestly spirit of St. John Ogilvie with that of many modern clergy says all that needs saying really. I’m sure many of the modern priests, exposed, as they have been, to a far less supernatural formation than seminarians before Vatican II, probably think there’s nothing wrong in their attending a Celtic Vs Rangers match on a Sunday. It’s not easy to convince them that their presence is unseemly and potentially scandalous to the faithful who expect them to be ministering to their faithful on a Sunday.

    I suppose the ultimate question for priests who limit their ministry in this way is to ask themselves what Our Lord example would be today. I feel certain that He would not abandon His flock to take in the match. We need to pray for priests that they really begin to understand the very grave responsibility they embraced when they accepted ordination, it meant that they died to the world for the love of God and the salvation of souls.

    April 8, 2019 at 12:12 am
    • Laura


      I do sometimes wonder if modern priests ever read the lives or the sermons of the great priests like St John Ogilvie and St John Eudes. You can actually read some of these saints online without having to buy the book. I copied this book by St John Eudes on the priesthood.

      You’re right about the ultimate question for priests being what would Our Lord do, and I can’t imagine him going into a game environment on the Sabbath.

      The problem is, the idea of saving souls is not one that is part and parcel of the modern priest’s thinking. They are all about helping people with their life’s problems, and improving this world. The next world doesn’t really rate a mention in most homilies. Any time I’ve heard judgement mentioned it’s only in terms of Matthew’s Gospel about feeding the hungry etc. separation of the sheep and the goats. I think most priests today think that is ALL we are going to be judged on! They are in for a shock!

      April 8, 2019 at 10:48 am
      • Athanasius


        The one other point I would make is that Rangers v Celtic games are particularly bad for blasphemy and vile language. It is not unusual for Rangers fans to chant horrendous things against Our Lady, the Pope, etc., and it’s not unusual for Celtic fans to respond in kind. I really don’t think any priest should want to be a part of that.

        April 8, 2019 at 11:36 pm
  • Chris McLaughlin

    1. I think the consensus above is that there’s nothing inherently sinful about attending a football match, and I certainly would say so. Football is not to everyone’s taste, and if some people don’t like it that’s fine. However I do believe that much of the popular criticism of footballers and football supporters is wholly unfair and essentially just poorly disguised snobbery. I’m sure that’s not the case on this forum, but much of the critique against the sport in the press boils down to middle class people who just don’t like working class people. Especially those working class people who have become millionaires despite their lack of a lower second class degree from a plate-glass university.

    2. I’m not convinced that attending a football match on a Sunday is sinful either. We are required to keep the Sabbath day holy. That of course means attending Mass,but part of the third commandment instruction is to emulate our Heavenly Father’s behaviour on the seventh day of Creation and rest from serville works. Therefore Sunday is arguably the day which is best suited to leisure, not least suited, and is arguably therefore the very best day to attend a football match. None of us require to reminded that we are not Calvinists.

    3. Points one and two above apply the same to priests as to everyone else. The laws of morality are wholly independent of your vocation or occupation. What’s wrong and right for me is just as wrong and right for the Pope and vice versa.

    4. Our priests are dreadfully overworked. In my view every parish should have a minimum of two priests. Which is beneficial in many ways for clergy and laity alike, but among other things allows them to share tasks so that situations like this don’t arise in the fiorst place. The fact a priest has two parishes to cover is quite wrong in my view. If there aren’t enough priests to go around we either need more priests or fewer parishes. We certainly need more priests, but we also need fewer, bigger parishes, but that is a probably a matter for another time. Priests are entitled to some rest too. The worker deserves their wages, they also deserve a day off now and then. Priests are human, and human beings need a break from time to time. I have known priests who have been physically and emotionally burnt out through overwork. That’s good for no one, and it also discourages vocations to the priesthood.

    5. In the particuilar case above the priest took some time off and arranged for another priest to stand in. I imagine he will reciprocate the favour at some point in the future, precisley as used to happen in the days when there were several priests in a parish. Within reason it is my view that what a priest does with his own time off is entirely his own affair, and nobody else’s business. A priest should of course avoid scandal, but as I said above at points one and two, these were non-sinful behaviours, and in my view peple have no right to be scandalised.

    April 8, 2019 at 5:59 pm
    • Michaela

      But, Chris, what do you say to the point I made earlier about enabling others to do servile work – football is big business these days, so there will be players to be paid and stewards, and the people who provide food and drink etc.

      I can’t see it as a recreational activity suited to the Sabbath, for anyone, including priests.

      Just to be clear, I’m not saying it’s a damning offence or anything but I think we are called to a higher standard than the generality of the population, especially in Protestant Scotland!

      April 8, 2019 at 7:49 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        I think you are saying that it’s not football, per se – it would be OK to go to a park to play or watch an amateur game – just professional football because that’s a business and enabling the breaking of the Sabbath? That makes sense.

        April 8, 2019 at 9:10 pm
      • Chris McLaughlin

        I take your point regarding the fact that anything we do requires others to work. But now you’re into second order consequences, and where do we stop with that? When I go to Mass on Sunday it requires someone, somewhere, to staff the electricity station which powers the lights inside the church, but it would be silly to suggest I stop going to Mass, so that those people can have the day off.

        The fact is most people who work on a Sunday are not in any meaningful sense Christian, so they don’t have any religious problem with working on a Sunday. If they weren’t working at Celtic Park, they would be working somewhere else. If enough people refused to work on a Sunday, then these events simply wouldn’t take place, and maybe that would be a good thing. But the fact that isn’t the case isn’t principally the customers’ fault, it’s the workers’ fault.

        The Church has also always recognised that some people have little or no choice as to whether they work on a Sunday and those people are usually encouraged to make an effort elsewhere in the week. I remember as a boy in Catholic Spain, that it used to be commonplace for restaurants, cafes and bars to be closed on Mondays. This was because the staff had to work Sundays in order to accommodate the family gatherings which were such a commonplace feauture of Spanish family life. There is something noble in that which we ought not to fail to recognise – that many of the cafe owners, waiters etc. essentially gave up their own Sunday so that others could have a more active family life. The fostering of close family relationships were often very worthwhile to society as a whole and spiritually for the individuals concerned. We ought not to think of them as essentially frivilous, there was much more to it than mere leisure. My own relationship with my father and grandfather was largely formed by our weekly trips to Celtic Park when I was a boy, although in those days games were on Saturdays. It was very beneficial to me to have close, Catholic, upright, and respectable older men to look up to. I learned to be a man and a father there, and it was probably just as valuable to us as Spanish families sitting around a cafe table on a Sunday evening.

        April 9, 2019 at 10:21 am
      • editor


        You know, a big part of me agrees with you and I can see the truth in what you write. At one time I’ve have said, “for goodness sake, it’s only a game, what’s the issue…”

        However, in more recent times I’ve been meeting parents who home-school their children and the fact is (and, as a former RE teacher I take no pleasure in saying this) they tend to arrive at higher standards. I say “arrive” because I’ve watched the change, certainly in one particular parent, from a carefree, typical gal-about-town, career women – children at school and child-minder, Sunday Catholic (novus ordo Mass attending) to a mother who, having done her best to keep her children within the diocesan structures and schools, actively seeking to engage with the school to express her concerns about what was/is being taught and met only with hostility, despite her pleasant disposition and helpful attitude, is now attending the traditional Mass and intent on protecting her children from any hint of bad influence.

        When I told her about this thread and asked her opinion, she reminded me that a relative had tried hard to obtain her permission to take her young sons to Celtic Park but she steadfastly refused. I come from an ardent Celtic-supporting family where my father and brothers would not only attend the matches but return home to listen to the same game on the (blaring) radio, while watching it on the TV. I headed for the door. Could never see the attraction myself. Of football, I mean, not the door. The door was fine 😀

        Thus, I found it of interest to listen to this young mother’s rationale for protecting her sons from Celtic Park. She thinks that it’s pointless – in their formative years – teaching them that it’s wrong to swear and misbehave, and to take the right attitude in sport, not to be annoyed or angry if they lose or their team loses, only to see the misbehaviour of the “bad losers” during and after a game. In the case of the poor goalie whom I mentioned above, the misbehaviour related to the mere danger of losing a game! Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up!

        I take Petrus’s point about family sections – and I imagine that’s where my father took my brothers and where my brothers take their offspring – but this young mother simply doesn’t want them to get into the habit of going to Celtic Park or following a team because she really wants to aim for them to be exposed only to the highest standards, and she feels if she does everything she can to make sure they receive only good example, as far as possible, then whatever they choose to do in their adulthood, they have a solid base from which to recognise the difference. She’d explain it better herself but, for what it’s worth, that’s the gist of her thinking. For the record, she does ensure that her children enjoy sports – they are enthusiastic competitive swimmers and at least one of them plays tennis.

        Your closing remarks about good Catholic men to look up to is a very good argument; sadly, though, as I’m sure you know, all too often nowadays, the average Celtic supporter has replaced the Faith with the game. Being a Celtic supporter equates with being a Catholic. They forgot to check Canon Law, not to mention the catechism.

        To finish the sentence with which I began, however, I need to acknowledge that the crisis in the Church has affected us all and led to a lowering of standards in all sorts of ways. In the bad old days before the Second Vatican Council “reforms” took hold, would I have been OK with my parish priest bringing in a supply priest to offer Mass so that he could attend a Celtic game? I’m not so sure…

        April 9, 2019 at 12:23 pm
      • Petrus


        I agree with almost all of what you say. I think the mother you speak of gives very good reasons for her choice. I also agree that the vast majority of patrons at Celtic Park are not remotely Catholic. Spot on!

        However, I would guard against a couple of things. First of all, I don’t think any sports arena should be a place to necessarily look for good Catholic male role models. I certainly do my best to keep football and religion completely separate. Football is for recreation; it’s not an expression of Faith.

        Secondly, it’s a fantastic example to all parents that the young mother you speak of aims for the highest of standards. However, I do not believe those of us who take our sons to football matches are any less ardent in this regard. Football can be wonderful and a wonderful way to experience recreation and joy, as can all types of sport. Incidentally, the only time I’ve felt in danger at a sporting event was when I played in a tennis tournament in Spain. Some young, English lads were passing the court and I said, in the umpire voice, “Quiet please” as a joke. Well, it was like a red rag to a bull. I escaped unharmed (and won the tournament!), thankfully.

        Having said all that, I have to admit that there’s only certain games I would take my children to. I tend to take them to games against small teams (like Rangers :)) that will be quieter and less emotional. I certainly wouldn’t take them to a competitive football match on a Sunday.

        April 9, 2019 at 1:24 pm
      • editor


        I certainly do my best to keep football and religion completely separate. Football is for recreation; it’s not an expression of Faith.

        Well, I’m surprised to read that. I don’t think it’s possible to keep football and religion separate or ANYTHING and religion separate. To take an extreme example, think of the person who watches porn saying the same thing – that “this is a recreational activity” and so it is not an expression of faith, to be kept separate from it. I’m afraid we’re Catholics 24/7 as they say these days.

        I remember on one occasion having to take my nieces and nephews out of a cinema during a film that was advertised as a child’s film, suitable for up to 12 years. I couldn’t believe it. Without going into details, I felt, in conscience, that I had to take them out during one particularly bad scene and complained to all and sundry on the staff – some of whom nodded in agreement that it really had come to something when such garbage was included in children’s films. All part of the de-sensitising process, of course, as we now know. I couldn’t have sat there and separated what I’d been taught about purity as a Catholic, from my recreational activity – especially since their mother would have hamstrung me!

        I do understand that the football game isn’t quite the same and, in fact, it’s probably much easier to teach “on site” (so to speak) or later, that any swearing etc witnessed is not good and use it as a means of teaching for the future. I do get that and I do always say to that young mother that it is important to make twins of “protection” from bad influence/evil in the world and “preparation” for it. She agrees and does her best to avoid extremism, but, to quote Mrs May, she had a couple of red lines when she launched her home-schooling enterprise and that was one of them. However, believe me, she’d be the last to claim superiority over your good self – she knows you and holds your wife and yourself in the highest esteem, as model parents. She just won’t listen to me… 😀

        April 9, 2019 at 3:32 pm
      • Petrus


        You are quite right to point out the error in my point about religion and football being completely separate. That’s not what I meant, but I realise that the way I worded my comment gave that impression. Thank you for pointing that out and giving me the opportunity to explain.

        What I meant was in the context of those Celtic supporters who think that being a Catholic means going to Celtic games/supporting Celtic. One certainly doesn’t equate the other. That’s what I was trying to say.

        April 9, 2019 at 4:06 pm
      • editor


        “You are quite right…”

        Those are my very favourite words on this entire blog 😀

        April 9, 2019 at 5:50 pm
    • Summa

      Is this just a storm in a Scottish Cup? 🙂

      April 9, 2019 at 11:45 am
      • editor



        April 9, 2019 at 12:02 pm
  • Patrice Mcentee

    This board is absolutely outrageous. My Mother had previously left a comment in this Priest’s defence but it has since been deleted – funny that. It is shocking that a Priest who put in for annual leave and willingly said a 9am mass, that he didn’t need to say in public, has been crucified like this. Why should he not attend a football game that he chooses to do so in his ‘ holiday period’. I wonder had it not been ‘celtic vs ranger’ would there be such a focus on it?! Personally, anyone who has commented on this should be ashamed of themselves and especially the sole indivudual who has reported this untrue story – god forgive you.

    Editor: nobody’s comments on this (or any other) subject have been deleted. If your mother’s name is Rose, who appeared – in defence of the priest – on this particular thread for the first time, her post should still be there because I have not removed it. Look again. I’m sure you will find it. It may be that it’s not where she expects it to be, due to the WordPress system. When people reply to various posts, the dating is often not in sequence, but I assure you I did not remove her, or any other, comment on this subject.

    Seconds later – I’ve just checked and Rose’s comment is up there, underneath Theresa Rose and above Fidelis.
    Rose’s post is dated April 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Catholic Truth at your service!

    April 9, 2019 at 11:19 pm
    • Patrice Mcentee

      Okay, well it has clearly been reversed towards the end. To those saying ‘ has he not learned anything from when he became a priest?’ How absolutely disgraceful. Enjoy your summer holiday when it comes up because a day off for a priest is few and far between. Let’s hope you don’t have any bad times when you suddenly need to call on a priest.. because maybe, just maybe, you will regret your words.

      April 9, 2019 at 11:37 pm
      • Athanasius


        Sunday is the one day no priest should ever take off, barring illness. Think about that in the supernatural way Catholics are supposed to think. This is not a debate about workers rights, it’s about priests going to secular events enjoying themselves on the very day they are supposed to be on Calvary.

        April 10, 2019 at 12:14 am
      • editor


        As Athanasius says, we need to think of this issue in a much more spiritual way than seculars think of it.

        I know a young mother who has been doing her best to get her children to engage in spiritual reading on Sunday afternoons, after Mass. It’s been a bit of an uphill struggle, because they can always find something “fun” to do, as I’m sure you know.

        Hard as it may seem in the world in which we live today, when everything and everyone, just about, is so lax about rules, and all of us, even priests, tend to slip into thinking in the same secular way as everyone else, this is precisely the time when we ought to be seen to be different.

        Instead of making excuses for going to Celtic Park on a Sunday, shouldn’t the supporters/fans be questioning why the matches were switched from Saturdays to Sundays?

        We really are called to make sacrifices and never have we been in more need of self-sacrificing priests. Note, too, when lay people who HAVE made sacrifices of this kind witness priests indulging in worldly pursuits (for want of a better term) it is disappointing.

        I remember one family where their eldest daughter had been learning Irish dancing from a very young age – four, I think. She was a very good dancer, but when she became 12 or 13, the competitions she was expected to enter were all on Sundays. Her mother was very disappointed. Other Catholic parents said they just went along to the Vigil Mass on Saturday (that gets THAT “problem” out of the way!) but she was, by then a regular attendee at the Traditional Latin Mass and was unable and certainly unwilling to do that. Sunday Mass comes first which was what she was teaching her children and so the Irish dancing classes/competitions came to an end. Pity, but if a young mother can see the importance of keeping the Sunday obligation to keep holy the entire day and not just one hour at Mass, and if she can teach her children that this is an example of what we sometimes need to do as Catholics to keep holy the Sabbath, surely priests can do the same.

        Anyway, thank you for your loyalty to your parish priest. Check out the newest thread which I’ve just posted to see some very DIS-loyal parishioners at the other end – down under – of the world. And weep for that poor priest, who finds himself up against parishioners who want – to all appearances – to destroy him, not just, as in our case, seek to help him, as best we can, to become an even better priest.

        April 10, 2019 at 12:29 am
    • Dale

      Correct Patrice, the folks running and commenting on this board are mostly all Lefebvrists, and ironically, their own Chapel in Glasgow (St Andrew’s) is hardly ever open during the day or during the week, apart from Sundays, when there is only ever one single Mass (Not two).

      Yet, here they are attacking this priest for once not saying two Masses on a Sunday? Daily Mass, frequent Exposition, frequent Confessions, regular Rosary and Benediction throughout the year and during the week are a rarity in many of these canonically irregular Churches.

      They’ll tell you its because they don’t have the Priests but more people would pop in to light a candle and say a quiet prayer during the afternoon if some of the SSPX laity on this forum stepped away from their keyboards and opened up their chapel for use during the week.

      Stick to Priest and parishes of good standing, at least they have daily Mass


      1) There are no “Lefebvrists” here. Neither, as far as I know, do we have any “Ignatiusists” (people who attend the Jesuit church in Garnethill).

      2) If you are referring to the SSPX chapel in Glasgow, it’s open several times a week for weekday Masses, plus facility to light candles etc. The sort of thing modernist Catholics laugh at these days and write off as “superstitious nonsense”. Confessions are available before every Mass (and sometimes afterwards as well) and there is regular Rosary and Benediction. In May we’ll have the crowning of Our Lady’s statue – what about your parish? Will YOU have such “old Catholic” traditions to show the Catholic love of Our Lady? Or will you settle for some Taizé chants instead?

      3) Nobody “attacked” anyone. We discussed contemporary standards of priestly life, priest saints, football, the Commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day. No attacks on anyone that I can see. Maybe need to work on your charity, Dale.

      4) About those folk popping in to light a candle etc. In most, if not all, diocesan churches, the priest lives in a house on site – right beside the church. Yet the diocesan churches are all locked up right after morning Mass and remain so until the next morning when they are opened to allow entry to the people (usually a handful of elderly women) who attend the morning Mass, then the church is locked up again… and so the cycle goes on of keeping the diocesan churches locked throughout the week. So, you concentrate on having candle-lighting facilities provided during the week for those fortunate enough to live next door to their parish church, but who are denied access on the excuse that the church might be vandalised if left open (as they were in the bad old days before the New Springtime of Vatican II took us all by surprise…)

      5) Regarding your recommended Mass – click here to read the opinion of some top cardinals who wrote to Pope Paul VI about it when it was first concocted…

      Thanks for dropping by…

      April 11, 2019 at 11:18 pm
      • Fidelis


        I don’t know why you have to turn this thread – which I’ve found very helpful to clear my own mind about keeping Sunday holy – into an attack on the SSPX. You obviously don’t know anything about them or at least you can’t place them in the context of the history of the Church, or you wouldn’t be so silly about how open their churches are during the day, how many priests they have, etc.

        Don’t you know that at the time of one of the previous major crises in the Church in the 4th century, the bishop, Athanasius, was excommunicated twice for not going along with the heresy that Christ was not divine, and he said “They have the churches, we have the faith.”

        A lot of us in the “mainstream” Church see a clear parallel there. The people I know who attend the SSPX churches suffer the deprivation of not being able to visit their churches as often as they would like, because they know that the main thing is to support the priests who are giving them (and any of us who are able to attend) the traditional Mass.

        I must say, I think of how blessed they are every time I find myself at the novus ordo watching the women dominated sanctuary. Compared to the peace of a traditional Mass, I can understand their willingness to sacrifice being able to pop into the church whenever they wanted. I know my parish church isn’t open during the week. Even in Lent few parishes have had Stations of the Cross and the ones that do add on number 15, Resurrection. How idiotic is that?

        Two questions for you. (1) does you priest live beside or close to your church? (2) Is your church open every day, all day?

        April 12, 2019 at 1:32 pm
  • Dale

    Is the word which you’re perhaps looking for ‘Ignatian’?

    Editor: not unless the word for which you were looking was/is ‘Lefebvrian’?

    With regards to the aforementioned Jesuit Church in Garnethill; I pass both St Aloysius and St Andrew’s (Canonically irregular) on my way to work and on my way home every day. St Aloysius is always open, sadly the Lefebvrist Chapel is rarely open…as you are aware.

    Editor: Oddly, I was in town today and paid a visit to St Aloysius. Nice to have such a large, beautiful church all to myself. Really peaceful.

    St Gregory’s in Maryhill is also always open btw, so is St Alphonsus at the Barrowlands, indeed most Churches of good standing in Glasgow are open during the day. Not just in the city but all over the country – St Mary’s in Greenock, St Charles in Paisley, Star of the Sea In Largs, St Ninian’s in Knightswood, St Mary’s Clydebank and so on…all open in the afternoons. You are either greatly mistaken or poorly informed about the mainstream Church.

    Editor: I’ve only had time to check out the first parish named on your list – St Gregory’s – and found the priest advertising a Lenten Retreat run by the Ignatian Spirituality Centre (ISC); it’s seriously unthinkable for any priest to expose his people to that dreadful influence; we’ve reported on the ISC more than once in our newsletter. Just a glance at the photos should suffice to warn any real Catholic of the dangers therein. Take a look hereSo, having the church opened all day long is great insofar as it goes. But there’s a great deal more to being a Catholic than having the churches open. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a start. WOW! Is it a start!

    I repeat, please get off the internet and get your places of worship open more often, rather than castigating priests of good standing, when your own canonically irregular clergy only celebrate a single Sunday Mass at your chapel.

    Editor: I just LOVE your inclusive attitude, your diversity, your tolerance, your enthusiasm for dialogue. How DID we get by in the bad old dogmatic days before Vatican II?
    Our Fact-Checker tells me that the SSPX priests in Scotland offer Masses on at least two weekdays (Tuesdays and Fridays) plus Saturdays and Sundays in Glasgow and Edinburgh, before heading off to offer Masses in the north of England. Apparently, quite apart from their excellent sermons on the importance of keeping holy the Sabbath Day, they’ve never been seen racing off to the nearest golf course on Sundays; nor, dare I say it, Celtic Park?

    I respectfully appreciate that SSPX laity have a very limited say and control of the society’s buildings but surely the itinerant Priests which you bring in, could hand over the keys, so that the locals might be permitted to open the Chapel during the day?

    Editor: Our Fact-Checker, very respectfully indeed, tells me that there ARE members of the laity who are very often in the Society churches on weekdays, sacristan, cleaners, various duties being performed so just check it out next time you’re in town or ring the priest to ask the best time to make a visit. The church will certainly be open this evening for Stations of the Cross (14!) followed by Mass (6.30pm) so be sure to pop along – you’ll be more than welcome. And worry not, you won’t be committing a sin and you definitely won’t go to Hell. We know that because our very mainstream Pope Francis says there isn’t one! You’re in luck! See you there! Er… SSPX chapel I mean…

    Kind regards

    Editor: shucks, kind regards to you, too… 😀

    April 12, 2019 at 12:38 pm
    • Josephine

      LOL! Thanks for that, Ed – restores my faith in “dialogue”! LOL!

      April 12, 2019 at 4:33 pm
    • Vianney


      I think you are the one who is poorly informed about the “mainstream” Church. Many churches throughout the country are closed during the day. Anytime I am in a town or village I try to seek out the local church but I can count on one hand the number of times they are open. Even in Catholic Coatbridge I was confronted by a locked church and a passer-by told me that it was only open at Mass times. In cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh you will find that, while city centre churches are usually open, most of those in housing schemes are closed. Of the three churches in my area one is open all day and the other two only open at Mass times. It would be nice to be like Barra or South Uist where the churches are open 24 hours a day but sadly that is not possible.

      April 12, 2019 at 10:24 pm
  • Summa

    You’ve got to laugh when you read the old “canonically irregular” chestnut.
    Like St Athanasius was “canonically irregular” too. 😇

    Look Dale, I do not attend my local SSPX parish, but there is nothing irregular about them. We can argue all day about Canon law and supplied jurisdiction, but the bottom line is that the order was authentically approved by the Church authorities, have validly ordained priests, offer the legitimate Mass (call it EF if you will, I care not) and dispense the sacraments. Even Pope Francis himself, arch modernist, has nodded to the faithful that the sacraments are valid at SSPX churches, not that we needed any confirmation, but it seems some do.

    April 12, 2019 at 10:54 pm
    • Michaela


      Like everything that goes on in the new Mass isn’t “canonically irregular”, LOL!

      April 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm
  • Political Tourist

    1960s [Glasgow parish] Sunday night mass 9pm, start to finish 20 minutes and out the door.
    Years later i found out it was so the Priest could have everything locked down and bolted so he could settle down to watch “Sunday Night at the London Palladium”. Go figure.

    Editor: well, that may or may not be true, not least since you “found out… years later” so it sounds like a case of hearsay but we do know that there has been, since the 60s, a definite dilution of the priestly life, beginning in the seminaries, which has resulted in a relaxation of discipline and priests have been allowed to live, more or less, with the same independence as any layman. We need a priest-reformation and it will come, hopefully sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we ought to pray hard for priests, that they respond to the graces available to them to live their vocation to the highest standards.

    April 13, 2019 at 7:35 am
    • Margaret Mary

      Showing my age, I know, but wasn’t the Palladium on at 8pm ?

      April 13, 2019 at 11:54 am
  • Political Tourist

    Comment deleted

    Editor: I think you’ve misunderstood the whole aim of this blog – and the entire Catholic Truth apostolate – which is to educate our readers about the crisis in the Church, so that we may all be strengthened to withstand what Our Lady of Fatima foretold would be a “diabolical disorientation”.

    Instead of claiming to be “reaching out” to someone from your past who allegedly studied for the priesthood [then later abandoned his ministry] by posting vague stories about a “bhoy” from a Glasgow housing estate, why not just post some edifying sermon from a priest-saint and “reach out to him” that way? So far, the two posts you have submitted smack of some kind of strange vengeance. If I’m wrong, sincere apologies but if I’m correct – gerragrip. Until, however, I’m reasonably confident that you plan to be a serious blogger here, your comments will continue to be moderated.

    April 13, 2019 at 5:30 pm

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