World Notes & Quotes

A Wake Up Call to Scottish Catholics

THE UNIVERSE, Aug. 22—Scottish composer James MacMillan made a big splash at the Edinburgh Festival by publicly denouncing religious prejudice in his home country. Anti-Catholicism, he said, was “a significant element of Scottish culture.” A week later, reported British Catholic weekly The Universe, he went a step further, calling for Catholics “to take to the streets in public marches to acknowledge their religion.”

While the newspaper reported skepticism about the prospects for greater public piety, it found that MacMillan has awakened some Catholics from their complacency.

“Catholics in his home city of Glasgow have already proved that public procession is not for them,” said the paper. The article pointed out that less than a third of Catholics in Scotland attend Mass on Sundays, and participation in Glasgow's “Ogilvie Walk,” an annual procession honoring Jesuit martyr St. John Ogilvie, is likewise dwindling. “Cardinal Winning usually leads the march up High Street and is accompanied by some priests. But each year the number of laity following gets smaller,” said the report.

The Universe also pointed out that the number of Catholics visiting Carfin, “the national shrine dedicated to Our Blessed Lady,” has “dramatically dropped.”

A priest in Glasgow was quoted as saying, “Unless people start coming back to Mass then there will be fewer and fewer wanting to take part in such marches.”

As for the positive impact of MacMillan's public statements, the press is now publicizing instances of anti-Catholic prejudice in some of the nation's elections, political appointments and laws. One result is a move in the recently formed Scottish Parliament “to demand the scrapping of the law which bans a British monarch from marrying a Catholic,” said the report.