Last week the Sunday Herald published an article in which the Scottish Catholic Church’s Director of Communications Peter Kearney claimed that Scotland is “a hostile environment” for Catholics. Reading it, one might easily have deduced that the piece had just been dug up, having been written and then sealed in a time capsule sometime around 1954.
Starting with his conclusion and then knocking the ‘evidence’ into a shape that conveniently suited his theory, he asserted that Scotland “has an issue with anti-Catholicism”. On one level, this can be viewed merely as an amusing snapshot of an anachronistic mindset. Rather like one of those old Japanese soldiers stranded in the jungle and still believing that World War 2 was in full swing, Mr Kearney seems to have been frozen in time. In that sense, we might be tempted to have some sympathy for the old warrior, still fighting ancient battles, his besieged psyche still sensing persecution at every turn. There is, however, an altogether less palatable aspect to his outrageous assertions and his egregious talk of ‘apologists’ and ‘deniers’.
In a country where asylum seekers face actual discrimination and where only two out of 129 MSPs are from ethnic minority backgrounds, Mr Kearney’s risible claims to victimhood on behalf of Scotland’s Catholics is in extremely poor taste.
One simply can’t have the power and influence that Scotland’s Catholics have earned over the last fifty years and yet continue to claim ‘underdog’ status. We can laugh at the absurdity of Mr Kearney’s position, but it represents an affront to those in our country who genuinely are without power, status or influence, those who truly are disenfranchised. He really ought to be ashamed.