Happy Feast of St John Ogilvie, Scots Martyr – But Do Scots Priests Believe In Sin These Days?

Happy Feast of St John Ogilvie, Scots Martyr – But Do Scots Priests Believe In Sin These Days?

From Fr John A. Hardon SJ (RIP) Archives…

John Ogilvie SJ was born in Scotland of the nobility in 1589 and by that time Scotland had pretty well been lost to the Catholic Church so his up-bringing was Presbyterian. His father, to give him a better education than he could get in Scotland, sent him to the continent for education. Specifically, he went to France, which was the homeland of John Calvin – father figured, I couldn’t do better than giving him a good Calvinist education in Calvin’s own home country. Though to the father’s disappointment, the boy in school – this would correspond to high school – became concerned about his Calvinist up bringing; he wasn’t convinced that Calvinism was the right religion… So then, he continued his studies and finally became a Catholic at Lorraine in 1597. Click here to read more.

Editor writes…

Today, when priests mention this great saint and martyr, it’s to play down the fact that he gave his life for the Faith because he knew it to be the one, true religion. No, say the modernists, John Ogilvie (like the great English Saint Thomas More) gave his life in the cause of “religious freedom”.  Wrong.

Anyway, why are we asking the question “Do Scots priests believe in sin these days?” on this great Feast, of all days? Well, because on 8th March, a reader contacted me with concerns about the following message which had been distributed by Father Paul McAlinden, the Parish Priest of St Augustine’s church in Milton, Glasgow.  Copied below, as it was originally written and distributed (with one minor typo corrected):

——————————————– A message from Father Paul —————————————-

If you are reading this message, you have either picked it up from the Church or it has found you
through the help of a parishioner, friend or family member. Whichever way I am delighted that it has
reached you. I would like to repeat the greeting on the front of the card that you will always be
welcome at our church and I hope and pray that you find it a place of support and warmth.
If I have never met you before, I very much look forward to welcoming you and
your family to our place of worship.

—————————————————— Mission Statement ——————————————————-

Our “Mission Statement” is located on two banners at the front of our church.
The third item of the statement reads: “We will offer support to one another, especially those
who feel excluded or unloved.” Sometimes, for whatever reason,  there are people who feel
excluded from the church. This might perhaps be people who are divorced or separated,
people who belong to the LGBTQ+ Community, unmarried people who live together,
couples who have entered into a civil partnership, or people who have not been
involved in the church for many years.

If you have felt abandoned, neglected or excluded, we are sorry. We hope that you will accept
our invitation to join us. We look forward to seeing you. No matter which situation you
find yourself in, you are still part of our Parish Family. You have your own gifts
and talents which could enrich our parish in so many ways. Would you be willing
to share them with us? If so, please get in touch.  (Ends)

I emailed Father McAlinden as follows:

Dear Fr McAlinden,

I would appreciate your clarification on the message of welcome / invitation to participate in the life of St Augustine’s parish, recently issued by you.

You specifically name groups who have chosen to live their lives in contradiction to the Gospel and the teaching of Christ’s Church – divorced & remarried/civil partnerships/cohabitees/LGBTQ+

Is there a reason why you did not make clear in your invitation that – of course – any participation in the active life of the Church (including reception of Holy Communion) is prefaced on the requirement to attend the Sacrament of Penance and return to living the life of grace, which means renouncing all behaviours and life-choices destructive to the Faith?  Is not this crucially important and more appropriate for any such invitation from a priest, given that Christ said there is rejoicing in Heaven over one repentant sinner? 

I would appreciate your early reply.

Thank you. 

Father McAlinden’s reply:

Dear Patricia,

Thanks for your email. My letter was simply a welcome to the parish and not to be actively involved nor to receive Holy Communion. For this to happen, it would require what you have suggested. I would of course encourage anyone who is not in good standing with the Church to address such issues.

God bless

Father Paul McAlinden

My reply to Father McAlinden:

Dear Father McAlinden,

Sorry, but your letter was much more than “simply a welcome to the parish and not to be actively involved…”   Put together with the extract from your Mission Statement, it is very clearly an exhortation to public sinners to come to your parish, with the emphasis on putting right their “feelings” of being excluded etc.  Public sinners exclude themselves.  If I commit a mortal sin, I can’t say the Church has excluded me or made me feel unwelcome – such a wimpish attitude.  I have decided not to keep God’s law.  How can I then blame the Church for “excluding” me?  The mentality is stupidity in the extreme, to say the least, and I don’t DO “stupid”. Anyway, I’ve copied both the initial message and the extract from your mission statement below, copied exactly as originally written. [See above]. 

I will be reporting this – with very biting commentary.  We are all thoroughly sick of priests (and bishops) who are ignorant of the nature and purpose of the Church, which isn’t to make people feel good about themselves and other such nonsense.  It’s about keeping them out of Hell and by your words copied [above], you clearly have not understood that.

Thank you for your prompt reply to my enquiry – I will be away from my computer for most of today, so if you choose to reply to this, I will respond at the earliest opportunity thereafter.  And I will, of course, include any response from you to this email, in my proposed report.

Patricia   [Note:  no reply has been received]. 

Editor concludes…

A lot of Catholics – lay and ordained – are thoroughly sick and tired of the tail wagging the dog in the Church today. Those who really ARE on the “fringes”, who have excluded themselves from the Church through their prideful rejection of God’s law, are running the show. Just about every show, religious, political, social, you name it.  Whether they are cohabitees, divorced and “remarried” or LGBTQ+ – these are those who must not be offended.  And how come they’re on the “fringes”, “marginalised” blah blah?  Simple.  It’s because – like Adam & Eve before them – they think they know better than God.  In that fateful garden, God told our first parents that He had given them this beautiful world to enjoy and each other for company – the only thing they were not permitted to do, was to make up their own moral laws.  God had already attended to that, since He had created them and He knew their needs, physically, psychologically, spiritually and morally.  He knew them better than they knew themselves.  And they were happy with that single proviso, until they decided to go it alone, at which point their disobedience – probably in the area of sexual behaviour according to some Scripture Scholars – brought disorder into their lives and into the whole world.

There will be people reading this who are enraged at the idea of singling out one priest in the archdiocese of Glasgow for this criticism. However, he’s not really being singled out.  Indeed. the push to publish this discussion is a result of a lot of anger within the Catholic community – certainly within the Catholic Truth community – precisely because Father McAlinden is not an isolated case, not one rogue priest, the exception rather than the rule.  Far from it. There is widespread concern – among informed Catholics – about the dire state of the priesthood in this archdiocese.  The not inconsiderable number of priests with partners (whether male or female) is causing immense concern, and this double-living, this brazen duplicity, hugely angers those clergy who are doing their best to live faithful priestly lives, devoted to the salvation of souls.  So, share your thoughts – are you angry, too?  Or is your anger directed more at the messenger (Catholic Truth) than the message? If you’re OK with duplicitous, dishonest and very worldly priests, let’s hear it. But make sure you have a rationale that will withstand scrutiny. Please and thank you!

St John Ogilvie, intercede for us all – especially priests – today.  

Comments (16)

  • westminsterfly

    They’re just so desperate to fill their rapidly emptying churches, they’ll resort to any gimmick. I’ve heard the priests talking. They’re worried – not about souls of course – but about their churches closing and them having to run ‘cluster parishes’ (three or so parishes merged together) which often causes them more work and hassle. That seems to concern them more than souls being lost. Happy Feast Day to youse all in Scotland!

    March 10, 2022 at 9:04 am
    • Josephine

      Westminster Fly,

      I didn’t think of that – you’re right about the “cluster parishes”, extra work, more travelling etc. That does help to explain the ridiculous “welcome no matter what” messages being sent out to people who are living in sin, to use the quaint old phrase! They just want to fill the pews. That makes sense – I hadn’t thought of that, and just assumed they were OK with cohabitees and the rest attending Masses and receiving Holy Communion. I wonder if that means they do have a twinge of conscience then. I hope so.

      Happy Feast day to you in Westminster/England!

      March 10, 2022 at 9:19 am
  • Laura

    I’d like to begin with “Happy Feast everyone” but I think St John Ogilvie must be turning in his grave at the way the priests in the archdiocese in which he was martyred have lost the faith, because that’s what I think has happened.

    Fr McAlinden is not the only priest who invited lapsed people to come to his church without any mention of confession. It’s happening all the time, everywhere. Wouldn’t it be the logical thing to do if you want to encourage people to return – no matter what the reason for their lapsing is – to give the times of Confession and say that would be the best start? Not say, we need your talents, for goodness sake!

    Another important side issue as a result of these worldly priests is that some of us don’t want to encourage our sons to consider the priesthood. We don’t encourage them to go to seedy nightclubs and, sorry to say, young boys need to be protected from the anti-Catholic seminaries as well, which is quite shocking when you think about it.

    Today is a good Feast to pray for Scots priests, especially the priests in Glasgow, who are a big let-down, frankly.

    March 10, 2022 at 9:09 am
    • Josephine


      Not say, we need your talents, for goodness sake! LOL!

      That’s very sad about not encouraging boys to consider the priesthood. I do understand why, but there are traditional seminaries, so I would think about that again TBH.

      Happy Feast.

      March 10, 2022 at 9:22 am
  • Nicky

    It’s tragic to read this thread. Why can’t priests see that the Church isn’t necessary unless it’s different from every other institution trying to win our “business”. The Church isn’t about using our talents – that is like the novus ordo Mass, everyone needs to be active, involved, but it’s not possible! A couple of readers, offertory procession, two or three and one or two giving out Communion (shockingly) that leaves the majority of us in the pews. The idea is preposterous that the Church is about getting us involved in church services.

    As editor would say, Father McAlinden needs to gerragrip, LOL!

    Happy Feast of St John Ogilvie, SJ – a wonderful model for priests with his self-sacrifice and courage. If only they would remove the blindfolds and see that.

    March 10, 2022 at 10:58 am
  • editor

    Here’s a quote for those priests reading this today – and for those who think the priest is no more important than a social worker…

    “Perhaps the sole ends of the priesthood are to say Mass, and to recite the Office, and then to live like seculars?
    No, the end for which God has instituted the priesthood has been to appoint on earth public persons to watch over the honour of his divine majesty, and to procure the salvation of souls.

    For every high priest,” says St. Paul, taken from among men, “is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on them that are ignorant and that err.” (St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori)

    Lunch beckons, Lent or no Lent!

    March 10, 2022 at 12:33 pm
  • Frankier

    I live in one of the so-called cluster parishes and, to be honest, it seems that the parish priest is doing less. The bulletins are full of requests for the parishioners to get more involved, telling us that hospital visits will be carried out by one of the two deacons, although one of them has been almost non-existent for two years because his grandchild has to be looked after. and looking for volunteers to give communion to the housebound. No talk though of confessions before receiving. They must assume that those who are housebound are in a perpetual state of grace. Personally, I can hardly remain in that state five minutes after confessions.

    One of the solutions recently was to close one of the parishes and tell the parishioners to attend Mass in the cathedral almost ten miles away. Meantime, again in the bulletins, we are being told to watch our carbon footprint which includes unnecessary travel. It`s not too difficult to work out that it would be better for the environment for one man, the priest, to travel 20 miles a week than to ask around 30 people to do a total of 600 miles a week. It gets suggested also that we should use plastic cups, etc., more than once and we should turn off all switches that`s not getting used. Meanwhile, their cathedral is surrounded with floodlights.

    In my younger days, living in a mining area with 1,000+ parishioners (80% attendance) there was early morning Mass every day with two on a Sunday. Confessions for an hour every Saturday, rosary and benediction twice a week, regular exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and many different sodalities. We had our May processions as well. There were five coal mines and various other types of associated industries which made our parish priest afraid to leave the area because of the many accidents. My own brother-in-law lost his life in one of them. The local doctors too, only three of them, were reluctant to go far from the area in case they were needed.

    Today, there are only about 40 Mass attenders on a good day and the priest has to ask every one and sundry to give him a help out.

    The latest request is to invite everyone to go to Ayr for an ecumenical prayer service down near the beach for Ukraine but no encouragement is ever given to join my group of four (on a good day) for the rosary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and the sick of the parish,

    In fact, when I ignored the rules at the beginning of the pandemic and carried on with the rosary there was a threat to close the church.

    Only, as they say, in the modern catholic (lower case intended) Church in Scotland. And beyond.

    March 10, 2022 at 2:38 pm
    • editor


      You make excellent points and they are points which demonstrate clearly that there are lazy clergy using any and every excuse not to work. End of.

      In the interests of justice, I have to add that I know personally and know of, priests who are hard-working and who are prayerful – like us, they deplore the laziness of other clergy.

      St John Ogilvie, pray for them (the good as well as the lazy!)

      March 10, 2022 at 5:35 pm
  • Theresa Rose

    Happy Feast everyone. I remember hearing of the story of Saint John Ogilvie throwing his rosary into the crowd just prior to being hanged which was caught by Baron John Ab Eckerdorff. He thereafter sought instruction in the Catholic Faith and became a catholic himself. That was a miracle indeed.


    March 10, 2022 at 3:31 pm
  • RCAVictor

    I think we need to look above these secularized priests’ heads for a moment to see what the hierarchy is doing. Specifically, on the preparations and “input” (??) being collected for the “Synod on Synodality” (talk about newspeak!) heading our way like a Marxist freight train.

    Here are the 5 questions the laity are being asked to answer. Their answers will be collected and summarized by the bishop, who will then send them to Rome (and I will try mightily to resist a sarcastic comment about what Rome will do with them):

    1. Who in the Catholic Church has walked with you on your faith journey? How?
    2. How do the Mass, Church’s ministries and activities inspire you in your daily life?
    3. What do you think is the role of a Catholic Church member? How does the Church support members in carrying out their roles?
    4. In what ways does the Catholic Church listen to its members? Are there ways for people to be included and share their voices?
    5. In what ways does the Catholic Church communicate with groups within our Church, other faith communities, and our neighbors?

    My point is that most (I suspect) priests, like the priest above, are going along with the Vatican’s embarrassing and shameful rehash of 1970s feminist/homosexual schtick, either to keep their heads down and not attract attention, or because they themselves are living in sin with (a) a fellow homosexual, (b) a woman, or (c) some other gender yet to be determined.

    March 10, 2022 at 5:13 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Loved (c) !

      I’ve been meaning to launch a thread on the Synod on Synodality (hilarious) for a while now but keep being overtaken by events. One of these days…

      March 10, 2022 at 5:33 pm
  • Fidelis

    Happy Feast everyone – I still remember the excitement in Glasgow when John Ogilvie was canonised. It was amazing to see the royal Ogilvies attending his canonisation in Rome – I’ll never forget it.

    Father McAlinden and his ilk are a disgrace to the priesthood. They are unlikely to change. They might go, but I doubt if they will change.

    March 10, 2022 at 8:06 pm
  • Margaret Mary


    I remember that excitement, too, and the media’s attention on the attendance of Angus Ogilvie and Princess Alexandria (Lady Ogilvie). This short video shows how things used to be – the camera goes to the man from Easterhouse who was cured miraculously, and his miracle helped further the Cause of the saint.

    I agree about the loss of quality in the priests today. We’d be hard pushed to find one who was willing to die for the faith, as did St John Ogilvie.

    Happy Feast everyone!

    March 10, 2022 at 9:47 pm
  • Scots Padre

    Sadly our actions show that we Scots priests don’t believe in sin these days. The silence, our limpness when speaking for the Truth, so that the souls may listen/ hear, is scary.

    Sin is an offence against God, by any thought, word, deed or omission against the law of God.

    So if we priests say nothing/little when people do not go to Mass on Sunday, live in adultery, lie about their actions, live in same sex relationships, we are failing the priesthood Christ gave us at ordination.

    Today there is little standing against fascist groups, who claim to be liberal, but force their way on society or else; principally LGBTQ, pro abortion, W.H.O., government bodies who deliberately lied to us about death caused by Covid. Deceit is rampant in our world, society, and we priests, bishops are like lame dogs in our failure to stand against it, to act with Christ for the Truth.

    One of the most vicious of these groups is LBGTQ: accept their way or they will come after you with a vengeance.

    Fact – God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve; had He made Adam and Steve none of us would be here. It is clearly not God’s plan and reviles God as seen in His wrath blazing in Genesis 18-19. Under no circumstances should something which reviles God and is against His will, either be supported or stay quiet about in our Catholic Church and schools.

    We have a right to our Catholic Faith, to practice it fully, to pass it on through schools for our offspring. LGBTQ or any fascist group has no right to suppress Catholic teaching. I say to such groups – if you do not like, want, what is in our Catholic Church, schools go elsewhere. We pay our taxes too and have every right to state funded schools which the Catholic faith is the centre of. We never forced you to come, terrorised or persecuted you into coming. You have no right to suppress and persecute our faith as you presently do. Your teaching and practices, revile God and us; the truth.

    And finally I say with a very sad heart “sorry” to you members of the flock who have been denied by bishops and priests, communion on the tongue. Bishop, priest, you have no right to do this. Your duty is to distribute the Lord Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity in Holy Communion to the flock in the way the member of the flock desires, in the way that for centuries pleased God, and God “is unchanging, always new.”

    St John Ogilvie, help we priests to recognise and stand robustly for the Catholic faith as you did to death.

    March 10, 2022 at 10:31 pm
    • Josephine

      Scots Padre,

      Hurrah! It’s good to see you on the blog again and with such a strong comment. It’s priests like you I feel sorry for – you are the faithful ones who have to put up with being associated with the Father McAlindens of this world.

      You make a great point about we, Catholics, pay our taxes too, so we have a right to have our Catholic schools teach what the Catholic Church teaches without interference from LGBT+ groups. I was outraged when I read somewhere that those who are raging that their gay book-signing was cancelled in a Catholic school, are calling for an end to state funded Catholic schools. How dare they!

      Thanks, again, for your comment which helps to reassure us that there are some good priests out there.

      March 10, 2022 at 11:16 pm
    • editor

      Scots Padre,

      Many thanks for your excellent contribution to this conversation – it is very telling that neither Fr McAlinden himself nor any other priests of the Archdiocese of Glasgow has come on here today, of all days, to express regret at their failure to stand firm in the Faith of our Fathers. Tragic.

      Gratitude, too, to everyone who contributed to this Feast Day conversation – I enjoyed reading all the comments.

      As the midnight hour has just struck here in Scotland, this thread is now closed to comments.

      St John Ogilvie, pray for us all!

      March 11, 2022 at 12:00 am

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