There can be few people across the globe today who have not heard of the recent rush of scandals afflicting the Catholic Church in Scotland. Here’s a sadly typical Tabloid report
Apart from any vulnerable victims, my own sympathy goes out to the faithful priests who are thoroughly demoralised right now. One Irish priest told me that the only difference between the demoralised clergy in Ireland and their brother priests in Scotland is that the Irish cardinal hasn’t resigned.
Of course, those who have been reading our reports on Cardinal O’Brien – and his brother bishops – for the past fourteen years will know that the real shock is not that he resigned, but that Archbishop O’Brien was given the red hat in the first place.
The question we need to consider now is: what future, if any, lies ahead for the Catholic Church in Scotland? Christ’s guarantee to be with His Church until the end of time doesn’t preclude the possibility that the Church in any particular place will die out. That is manifestly not the case.
During a short meeting with a Vatican official in Rome some years ago, our then Treasurer and I pointed out that Scotland is a very small country, small enough to make it the ideal place to start to clear-out bad bishops. Since Pope Francis is, we’re told, determined to have the ecclesiastical equivalent of a clearance sale, I hope he bumps into that official. The other thing we (helpfully!) pointed out is that there is no need for eight bishops in such a small country. How many, though, DO we need? Two? Three? Four? No more than four surely? And can we think of priests who would make strong bishops? Bishops who will enforce Canon Law, enforce liturgical norms and generally set the heather on fire – i.e. begin the process of restoring the traditional Catholic Faith…
Now that we have a disgraced cardinal with dark warnings of more scandals involving other bishops to come, maybe we ought to draft some suggestions along the above lines to send to the Papal Nuncio. Or maybe you have better suggestions. Let’s hear them!
St Andrew, pray for us,
St Margaret of Scotland, pray for us!
St John Ogilvie, pray for us!