Churches call for action after attack on priest

editorial image

Members of a church where a priest was spat at and subjected to sectarian abuse during an Orange Order walk have called for a review of future parade routes.

Canon Tom White was allegedly spat at in the eye and on the back of his head as he spoke to parishioners outside St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow on Saturday afternoon.

He was then lunged at by a man carrying a pole before police, according to the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland condemned the incident and said its members were not responsible. Police are investigating the incident.

Yesterday, the Parish Pastoral Councils of St Mary’s and St Alphonsus’ churches issued a joint statement condemning the incident and calling on Glasgow City Council to review the routes of upcoming Orange parades which are currently scheduled to pass the two churches in the east end of the city.

“While we welcome the statement by the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland condemning the assaults on Canon Tom, as a community we are distressed and deeply saddened that in the 21st century we are unable to exercise our human rights of freedom of association, freedom of assembly and the right to celebrate our faith free from intimidation and violence,” the statement said.

The parish council said that the Catholic community of the two churches are “utterly appalled and saddened” at the incident, which it branded “precedented and unprovoked”.

It added that the alleged attack on Canon White happened “against a backdrop of sectarian singing and sectarian insults”.

The Parish Councils has also asked the Scottish Parliament to take steps “to ensure that all those exercising their right to religious freedom will be protected by the appropriate statutory authorities”.

A spokesperson for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said: “We totally condemn the bigoted actions of those involved and hope that they are dealt with to the full extent of the law.

“We would welcome the opportunity to work with Police Scotland to identify those responsible.”