06 September 2016, The Tablet

Glasgow priest causes stir in parish politics

Parishioners have lodged a complaint about Canon McBride with Archbishop Philip Tartaglia

A priest in Glasgow has been criticised by parishioners for using homilies to make pro-independence statements.

Canon Peter McBride, who’s the parish priest of two churches - St Peter’s and St Simon’s - in Partick, northwest Glasgow, has described the Westminster Parliament as “irreformable” and said he is a “Yes man” and “always a Yes man” [in relation to the independence referendum].

The Scotsman reported that Canon McBride banned the Scottish Catholic Observer newspaper from his former parish - St Thomas’s in Riddie in Glasgow’s East End - after the paper carried an advert urging people to vote no in the referendum. The priest said the advert was “dividing the community” and wrongly mixed party politics and the Church.

One parishioner, who has now moved to another church, told The Scotsman: “People have left the parish and gone elsewhere because of him.”

Other parishioners have lodged a complaint with Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, arguing that a parish priest is not qualified to brief the laity on political matters.

In a lively Facebook discussion on the issue, contributor Brian Fitzpatrick said that whatever personal views Canon McBride held it was “inappropriate” to make them publicly “while garbed in priestly vestments”.

A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said the Catholic Catechism clearly states that the Church “respects and encourages the political freedom and responsibility of the citizen”, adding that “this applies equally to clergy”.

Glasgow was one of only four council areas to vote in favour of independence in the 2014 referendum, with 53.49 per cent voting yes and 46.51 per cent voting to remain in the UK.

Canon McBride did not respond to requests for comment.

Photo: Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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