Archdiocese of Glasgow RIP ?

Archdiocese of Glasgow RIP ?

Catholic parishes in Glasgow could face closure or amalgamation as part of plans to reorganise resources.

The Archdiocese of Glasgow is launching a consultation with parishioners amid changes in congregation numbers.

The move is being driven by the city’s falling population and a shift in whereabouts Catholics live in Glasgow.

The church said there was no “hit list” or target number of parishes that would close but that closures or amalgamations were a possibility.

Ronnie Convery, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, said: “It is a consultation about rearranging our resources to match our buildings and priests to where people are.

Population move

“At the moment it’s largely based on a model from the 1950s and the emergence of new housing schemes all over the city.

“These areas grew in the 50s, 60s and 70s but by the 80s they were beginning to depopulate, so we ended up with areas with churches but virtually no population, and the population has moved to another area of the city where it’s bursting at the seams.”

Mr Convery said the church was clarifying where its resources lay presently and where they needed to be in the future.

He said: “We want to get the whole Archdiocese thinking about how to reconfigure for the 21st century.”

The population of the city of Glasgow has dropped from 1.1 million to 585,000 in the past 40 years, he said.

Parishoners leaflet

There are 200,000 Catholics in the wider Archdiocese area, which has 93 parishes and 200 priests.

The consultation will be launched on Sunday, when parishioners will be handed the leaflet titled “This Affects You”, which asks people to think about their local parish and what would be the ideal set-up.

By next spring representatives from parishes will meet priests to discuss people’s responses and just before Easter priests will give feedback to the Archbishop, Philip Tartaglia.

Mr Convery said: “I think people will be glad to be consulted. In the past people complained about decisions being made from on high without a chance to hear their side.

“I think people will be generally glad to be encouraged to feed back about their own experience of the church in their own area.”

Click on photo for source of this report.

So, what’s going on here – a simple “reorganisation” (on a grand scale!) or a PR exercise to cover up the lapsation through to apostasy in Glasgow in the wake of the Vatican II project? And are these “consultation” exercises to be the norm in the Church from now on? Anglicanism by the back door?

40 responses

  1. I had just posted in the general discussion thread, I will copy that post here as it is pertinent to this topic:

    Regarding the decline of the Archdiocese:
    ————————–

    The Archdiocese of Glasgow is (in near future) running an event for Parish Council members (lay and clergy) from across Glasgow to attend.

    (A friend gave me a leaflet for the event, second hand – Editor: let me know if you want a scanned copy of it emailed FYI)

    The idea is to confront local decline in the Church and figure out ways to deal with it.

    The document states that mass attendance has declined 51% in the last 25 years. What better testament to the great incompetence of failures like O’Brien, Conti, Devine, Winning etc. And what better display of ++Cushelys naivety, following his recent comment that “the fundamentals are good” in Scotland.

    The document postulates that, in 20 years, the whole of Glasgow will only have 40-odd diocesan priests serving it (I forgot the exact number it states).

    That they are forecasting decline decades into the future shows that the Archbishop is content to simply manage decline and not try to combat it.

    This is where thinking outside the box is needed.

    For example, ++Tartaglia could give faculties to the SSPX in Glasgow, meaning he had another means of providing the sacraments and could demonstrate that he is including traditional in his view of the diocese.

    Or rather than close Churches, he could hand one over to the FSSP / ICKSP or similar, meaning he would then have a diocesan priest or two to redeploy elsewhere.

    Of course, these would just be stop-gap measures until the Church returns to tradition – and, in any case, Bishops do not like to experiment or think creatively, unless it relates directly to the liturgy and ways to make it even more groovy and funky 😉

    • Gabriel Syme,

      “…the Archbishop is content to simply manage decline and not try to combat it.”

      That, to me, is clear evidence of the loss of the Catholic spirit (of evangelisation) – a result of years of ecumenical focus.

      A great post, Gabriel Syme – and yes, please do email me a copy of the leaflet, if you don’t mind. Many thanks.

    • “For example, ++Tartaglia could give faculties to the SSPX in Glasgow, meaning he had another means of providing the sacraments and could demonstrate that he is including traditional in his view of the diocese”

      He’s more likely to allow a chapel to become a mosque than let the SSPX have it.

    • Yes….yes….yes… And yes…..do I not like that…..YES….

      Let’s give parishes to the SSPX….at least we would have one or two ….Live….
      parishes as opposed to hundreds of dead ones…..

      Has anybody seen the latest from Rorate Caeli. blog…….???

      The Vatican Secretariat of State protected Legionnaires of Christ whose paedophile founder attend blessed John Paul private masses in the Popes Private chapel.with his illegitimate children, concubines and abused seminarians….well the senior priest in this outfit is to marry….tomorrow …..the-former American ambassador to the Holly See’s daughter……he impregnated her several years ago….they have an illegitimate child…..at least until Saturday…..

      The former Madame Ambassador is the senior woman advisor to Frankie…..on the various Vatican Bank scandals…..maybe she can cut a deal on CSA payments for her illegitimate grandchild……only arsking….as the late…great Brenard Breslaw……used to mumble in the Carry on Movies…..Bernard was a direct descendant of Abraham…..so there….don’t ah just lurve ecumenism….Oi Vey…..

      God only knows what Josie makes of this,,,,????

      By the way…..wasn’t Archbishop Cushley sprung from the Roots of the Secretariat of State……

      And Fr Burke…..Vicar General…..wasn’t…..he was a pupil of the Disgraced Pope Ratzinger…..lately flung out of the windows of the Vatican…..

      We live in interesting times……

      • Why don’t you write actual sentences that are coherent, and without the ellipses? It makes you look a bit unhinged that’s all.

          • Sixupman,

            Don’t be too hard on Catholic Convert; Crouchback really does make it difficult at times to follow his meaning, and he won’t listen to my firm but fair and beautifully delivered “requests” to him (after Mass in the tearoom) to write in plain English and without too much punctuation, but he won’t listen.

            You gotta love his perseverance, though – he’s really an angel in disguise. Well disguised 🙂

        • Catholic Convert,

          I’ve tried to explain to Crouchback more than once that in his blog writings, he gives entirely the wrong impression of himself but he won’t listen. Take it from one who knows him fairly well, spent time with him in Lourdes (although he wasn’t cured 🙂 ) that his writing style might be misleading. He’s not at all “unhinged”. Just enthusiastic. Cut him a little slack – he means well, or so his wife says 🙂

  2. The Jesuit Parish in Glasgow (St Aloysius) is also reputed to be under threat, but from its own religious order, not the Archdiocese – at least, there are rumours suggesting the district superior is seeking to ditch one of the two Jesuit parishes in Scotland (the other is in Edinburgh).

    Whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but I would have thought the Glasgow parish would be secure as it is linked to the school and prayer centre.

    The problem for the UK Jesuits is also a lack of vocations – but anyone with half a brain knows why that is.

      • Who owns the church, is it the diocese or the order? The Jesuit church in Edinburgh is owned by the order, but even if the order decides to withdraw from one or other of the churches it doesn’t mean the closure of the church because as they are diocesan parishes the diocese could take them over and put in one of their own priests. Incidentally, the Jesuit church in Edinburgh, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is reputed to have the largest Stations of the Cross in the world.

  3. I don’t think it’s totally fair to blame the likes of Cardinal Winning, and his successors for this dramatic decline in the Catholic population and Mass attendance, although they did very little to staunch it, and instead, particularly in Winning’s case, immersed themselves far too much in politics and ecumenical matters when there were much more pressing and urgent matters.

    I also find your comments regarding the SSPX strange. As you well know Pope Benedict XVI said in 2009- “Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church” and in 1995, it (the Vatican) declared it “morally illicit for the faithful to participate in these (the SSPX) Masses unless they are physically or morally impeded from participating in a Mass celebrated by a Catholic priest in good standing”, That is the reason why Tartaglia won’t grant any parishes to the SSPX.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m as sorry as you that they won’t be granted a parish, because wherever they go they seem to pull all people back to the Church whether they are Novus Ordo Catholics, Lapsed or secular. Even in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, the most irreligious countries in Europe, their Churches, Seminaries and Religious houses are full with young people. The same applies with the FSSP, ICKSP, Institut Du Bon Pasteur and the Society of St John Vianney, although they are fully approved.

    If the Holy See devoted more time to mending relations with the SSPX and correcting it’s own errors, then we wouldn’t be in this predicament.

    • Catholic Convert,

      On the contrary, it is TOTALLY fair to blame Cardinal Winning et al for the dire state of the archdiocese today. Goodness, THE trigger point for the launch of this newsletter was the news of Cardinal Winning’s announcement in our city chambers, to a packed and open-mouthed audience of politicians and church-people of every Protestant hue, that in his opinion, we were now at the stage where we could contemplate a pope-free Scotland – words to that effect. To their credit, his largely Protestant audience knew enough about Catholicism to greet this disgraceful statement with a lengthy silence. Had it been made in a Catholic church of the archdiocese, it would doubtless have been rewarded with prolonged applause. Believe me, Cardinal Winning and his successors are very much to blame for the demise of the Catholic Church in Glasgow – with Edinburgh in a similar predicament, no doubt, due to the negligence not to mention the immoral shenanigans of Cardinal O’Brien.

      Re the SSPX comments in Gabriel’s post, all I can say is, if I were I a bishop today I’d pay no attention at all to that statement of Benedict about “canonical status” since the doctrinal questions that remain to be settled are matters of doctrine which the Vatican, not the SSPX deny. And I would also ignore it on the grounds that – to reference Aquinas – anyone who denies a single doctrine places themselves outside the Church. The Society denies no doctrines – while too many others, who enjoy “canonical status” (not to mention columns in Catholic newspapers), deny plenty of doctrines. I somehow don’t think God would consider any bishop following Gabriel’s advice, to be anything other than thoroughly Catholic.

      With your closing sentence, I fully agree.

    • Hi Catholic convert,

      I didn’t mean ++Tartaglia should give the SSPX a Glasgow Church – they already have one of their own.

      Rather he could use his Episcopal power to grant Frs McLaughlin and Wingerden faculties to officially operate under his authority, to distribute the sacraments etc. Then he could just leave them well alone and let them get on with it.

      I am open to correction, but I am positive there have been similar instances before, where Bishops have granted SSPX priests faculties to operate in their diocese, even if only for a limited period (e.g. to say a mass or conduct a funeral).

      However, of course ++Tartaglia will not do this, because – difficult as the situation in his diocese is – he would rather it remain difficult, than compromise his post-conciliar ideology.

      Regarding:

      in 1995, it (the Vatican) declared it “morally illicit for the faithful to participate in these (the SSPX) Masses unless they are physically or morally impeded from participating in a Mass celebrated by a Catholic priest in good standing”,

      It has since been clarified that the faithful can fulfill their Sunday obligation at an SSPX Church and this is reiterated often. It is typical of the post Conciliar church to require several attempts at saying something accurately and clearly, but they got there in the end.

      From Fr Z in October this year:

      “You can fulfill your Sunday obligation at a chapel of the SSPX. The Mass they say is valid (for valid celebration of Mass faculties are not needed – Mass is valid but illicit). The Mass is in a Catholic rite. That’s what canon law requires.”

      http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/10/quaeritur-confession-at-regular-parish-but-sunday-mass-at-sspx/

      It is perfectly legitimate to attend Sunday mass at the SSPX.

      Additionally – a diocesan priest in Glasgow recently advised me that I was “not doing anything wrong” by going to Sunday mass at the SSPX and was perfectly entitled to go there if I wanted.

      I think I am right that the English Bishops have previously advised their flock that they can fulfill their mass obligation even at the Church of England (of all places!) – accordingly, for any Bishop to turn around and speak against going to an SSPX Church is beyond absurd!

      • Gabriel Syme,

        There is absolutely no reason why Archbishop Tartaglia shouldn’t hand over one of his about to be closed churches to the SSPX or sell to them. But, for obvious reasons, he’d sooner sell or give a church away to a Protestant group or even Muslims to be converted into a mosque, as has happened elsewhere.

        I notice you link to Fr Z on SSPX confessions. Fr Z is wrong on this, and if you click here you will find a comprehensive response to his errors.

    • I don’t think it’s totally fair to blame the likes of Cardinal Winning, and his successors

      (I forgot to comment on this part, sorry).

      Well, those are the guys who were in charge and this current situation is the result of their efforts, no-one elses.

      Surely the buck stops with them? (or who?)

      For decades the emphasis has been on pandering to the Church of Scotland and the like, not articulating the faith.

      Look at Cardinal O’Brien in particular – when in office, what portion of his time and energy was devoted to upholding his Espicopal duties and leading the community, and what portion was devoted to covering up “inappropriate behaviour” (his own and that of his cronies)?

      And apparently Mario Conti is on record as saying he prefers to think of the mass as a memorial, not a sacrifice – and then they wonder why mass attendance has plummeted?

    • Catholic Convert….

      Leave your mobile number and I’ll give you a word….for explicit word detail of what my late Daddy…..God rest his argumentative soul…..said as his head crashed against the dash board of my brothers car…..on hearing the news that Winning was to be given the Red Hat…..

      Suffice it to say it wasn’t what the polite call prayer……..

      This happened in Shettleston near the Cottage Bar where we used to attend “Idult” masses during the Babylonian Captivity of the Mid 90’s…..just after 10 o’clock mass on a Sunday morning……real Catholics were in despair ……while ignorant Celtic supporting buffoons bearing bagpipes……dudlesacks…as the Germans call them…..we’re making fools of themselves in St Peters Square….

      You’d’ be too young to remember those shenanigans…..

      As I say leave your number and I’ll fill you in with the ghastly details….

      Editor: we don’t recommend putting personal details on the blog. I will happily pass on any such details by email, if you send them to me at editor@catholictruthscotland.com

  4. I think it is a wee bit late in the day to ask people’s opinions. It looks as if they are now looking for scapegoats. In their desperation for vocations they seemed to have forgotten that priests come from the pews, falling congregations obviously means falling vocations. If there are 200 priests for 200,000 people then the ratio hasn’t changed all that much in the last 50 years.

    • I personally ignore the Priest to people ratios. There may well be 200,000 Catholics in Glasgow, but how many of those attend Mass or partake of the Sacraments, or even believe in God? These figures are just drawn from Baptism records. They mean nothing.

  5. There’s an article in today’s Scotsman about the questionnaire, with the expected delight that the Church is ‘at last’ listening to the Faithful – I’ve added my tuppence worth in the comments section if anyone else would like to follow suit…

  6. Two days ago it was reported that 600 to 700 Catholic Churches face closure in the Netherlands. “Managed decline” was spoken about in the Galloway Diocese all of 20 years or so ago. Will the time come when only “Traditional” clergy remain, who will have to coalesce with SSPX and even ‘Sede’ clergy – for who then will be in the Papal Chair? It is clear that Franciscus does not believe in the Papacy, but nearer the Anglican concept of “pastor inter pares”.

    • Sixupman,

      I would honestly be amazed if such a large amount of Churches were to close. There’s only around 1,600 Churches left. Also, to my knowledge the SSPX doesn’t have a big presence in the Netherlands, as there are two chapels: Priorij St Clemens in Gerwen and the Kapel van Onze Lieve Vrouw van de Rozenkrans in Leiden. Also, there are only 6 SSPX chapels in Belgium in Quievrain, Namen, Ghent, Brussels (x2) and Antwerp.

      I think that you may be right that the majority of faithful in CERTAIN countries will be traditionalist- namely France, Belgium and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, there are 4million Catholics, but only 248,700 attend Mass, similarly in Belgium, with 6m Catholics, but only 315,000 attend Mass weekly. But by that time the Church will have been cut to the quick, and I believe our Divine Lord will have returned- so don’t worry, it’s part of a plan. God is separating the wheat from the chaff.

      • Another source puts the figure at 1,000 churches to close. SSPX have [or did have] a presence in Holland – a chapel set up in a converted barge.

      • The situation in the Netherlands is dire. It’s a little known fact that before the Council Mass attendance among Dutch Catholics was the highest in Europe, if not the world. Ordinary parish churches were huge and although the southern Netherlands were the “Catholic part” in “Protestant” Amsterdam there were 17 Catholic churches in the small city centre area, there are now 5 left. Within six years of the end of the Council churches started closing. Some of them were replaced by small chapels but even they are closing because, small as they are, they can’t fill them. One church, St Agnes, had 8,000 parishioners before the changes with a Mass attendance of 7.950. When the Diocese decided to close the parish it had 12,000 parishioners and a mass attendance of 30. It was handed over to the Fraternity of St Peter for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass and now has around 150 attending.
        One interesting thing told to me by a Dutch friend during my last visit is that they now have a Protestant King who attends Mass (the Novus Ordo unfortunately)with his Catholic Queen.

  7. Now, now. This is not the time to discuss the blame. These good clergy are consulting the people on this. If there are 93 parishes and 200,000 Catholics then that would mean about 2,000 peo0ple for each parish. But of course we know 200,000 Catholics do not go to Mass on Sunday. So how many do? Well, of course the good consulting clergy will not reveal this figure in their consultation. It might lead to someone asking why and after all the New Church is such a triumph over the old one. Nobody cares about sin anymore. And please do not embarrass them by pointing out that catholic youth enjoy sexual liberation like everybody else, though there are those old fashioned trads who come along and think it is something to confess. No, the absence of young people from the Church has nothing to do with Catholic Teaching Programmes, it has nothing to do with placing aside all those immature devotions, it has nothing to do with how they behave as priests, it has nothing to do with the seeking of popularity among Protestants and telling them how wicked the Catholic Church was, it has nothing to do with the lack of love they fail to pass on to the young, but most of all, it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. We have to admit privately that he was very judgmental with all his talk on marriage and divorce, but we need the Church to keep together so keep his name alive, while you follow your mature conscience of course. There will of course be no consultation on these matters.

    • “But of course we know 200,000 Catholics do not go to Mass on Sunday. So how many do?”

      The Sunday Mass attendance figure for Glasgow in this years Catholic Directory is 45,532.

      • Vianney,

        I would be very grateful if you would provide a link for the Catholic directory for Scotland. A link for England and Ireland would be appreciated also.

    • The Western Catholic Calendar will have all the figures….

      Tha oldest Catholic Parish in Carlisle had a weekly mass attendance of 1200 in 1968….. Now they are lucky if they get 230….

      This is typical of England….

      Scotland with its particular Rangers / Celtic….and or….bigotry problem…..has more young people attending mass…..but many of them are lumpen ignoramuses ……they haven’t a clue what they are doing……partaking in a slightly more boring version of Fr Ted…..perhaps….

      The real life Fr Jacks and the Bishops are worse…..!!!!

  8. There are some very good points in these comments. I was born and brought up in the Garngad, in St Roch’s parish. Away back in the 1950s and 60s there were 7 priests. Now there is one. Why?
    In those days Glasgow had a population of 1,089,000 without Rutherglen and Bailieston in the East. The tenements where I was brought up were demolished and people were moved to Easterhouse , Sighthill and all sorts of housing schemes. They were even moved to new towns in Fife, Lanarkshire and other counties. They took the population and clergy from old parishes to the new parishes. The population is now recorded as 585,000, a decrease of roughly 46%. It follows that that all religions and none have decreased. Admittedly Muslims and Hindus have moved in.

    I have lived and worked in London for over 25 years. Some of the parishes in North London are bursting at the seams because of immigrants like me. People have moved away for better housing and employment. There is virtually no heavy industry left. The steelworks have gone from Parkhead and the ironworks from Blochairn.

    Sorry if this sounds like an economics lecture. But facts are facts.

    However, there is a real shortage of priests which has been on the horizon for many years. There has been a serious lack of leadership by the Bishops in this. They were too busy courting with other faiths to be bothered with vocations liturgy and parish missions. They neglected the faithful and the O’Brien scandal has made matters worse.

    We need to get back to the Tuesday Novenas to St Antony and other devotions for
    more vocations.

    • Charles,

      You appear not to have noticed the determined drive NOT to encourage priestly vocations in Glasgow. Archbishop Conti brought his policy of encouraging married Permanent Deacons from Aberdeen to Glasgow and at one point the archdiocesan website page on vocations contained one single sentence referencing the priesthood. The rest was an enthusiastic advertisement for Permanent Deacons (with the sub-text ‘this will lead to and end of celibacy for priests.)

      And sorry, but all the economics lectures in the world doesn’t change the fact that we now have widespread apostasy in Scotland.

      They wanted an ecumenical church and that’s what they’ve got. The Catholic Faith is all but extinct in Scotland and that has little to nothing to do with economics. They’re grasping at the population changes like drowning men grasping at straws on the riverbank. After all, if the Faith were alive and strong, wouldn’t they be building more and more churches in the places now crammed full of these mobile Catholics, to replace those in the “abandoned” areas?

      I think it’s crucial to admit the problem – the loss of Faith – if there is to be any hope of putting it right. Keeping the Faith and Telling the Truth is what we’re about. Not falling for the latest propaganda-cum-PR exercise. Oh and I think you mean get back to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night novenas to St Jude…

      Am I cheeky or what? 🙂

      • “Am I cheeky or what? ”

        Just a little but I like you and your blog. I am a retired Finance Manager and I deal in facts and figures. The fact is the population of Glasgow has declined substantially. Manufacturing industry has all but disappeared and people have emigrated out of Glasgow and Scotland.

        They built the new churches in East Kilbride, Cumbernauld and beyond.

        I have already mentioned that vocations were neglected. Bishops were too busy pussy footing with the pisces and presbyterians to be bothered with vocations. They were not preaching the Gospels. They were preaching Social Work.

    • Charles,

      Glasgow’s been in meltdown for years and years – it’s nothing to do with the shifts in population. The seminaries closed down, nothing to do with population shifts. And anyway, I think that we don’t have a shortage of priests if you take it as priest per Catholic practising population, because so many have lapsed.

  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-25217403

    So the lottery wants to give money to the…..Modernist Masterpiece…..that is the dilapidated Cardross Seminary…..then what…..fill it with 1960’s style seminarians……..

    Why not do the [Ed: now, now) obvious…..and give the money direct to the Society of St Pius X…..???

    As the late great Bernard Breslaw used to say……only asking……..!!!!!….amongst other things…..

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-H4u1nV6fII

    Ed: if that youtube video is crude, it will be removed – please keep your language clean and do not post anything remotely crude on this blog.

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