Glasgow: time for Archbishop Targaglia to share office with a Co-Adjutor Bishop?

Archbishop Tartaglia

Archbishop Tartaglia

Angry parishioners were told to “go to confession” after they raised objections to their new priest accused of “unwanted harassment” during a drunken homosexual incident.

Father Paul Milarvie was accused of trying to “constrain” a male guest at his parish house in 2010, just months after he returned to Scotland.  That led to an investigation by the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

Milarvie was later allowed to keep his parish and dragged the church into a row over homosexuality after the incident was classed as “totally unworthy of a priest”.

The complaint against Milarvie alleged he invited a man to dinner at his parish house and an incident, which is disputed, occurred.

Milarvie apologised to the man, who agreed to return for a second dinner. It was during this evening he claimed he was subjected to unwanted harassment.

After an investigation, Archbishop Mario Conti later said there had been no crime committed and claimed there had been “consensual” activity, rather than an unwelcome approach by Milarvie.  [Emphasis added]

He said allowing for the “morally reprehensible over-indulgence” in drink, Milarvie’s actions had been “voluntary and totally unworthy behaviour on the part of a priest”.

Now churchgoers at St Mary’s chapel in Duntocher, near Glasgow, are up in arms over the proposed move by Milarvie to their parish.

One, who asked not to be named, said: “Parishioners are outraged and disgusted at his dark secrets. Meetings are being held to discuss the way forward.

“This priest is not wanted or welcomed. It’s a disgrace after the way he’s behaved and this dreadful issue has been swept under carpet by past and present church authorities. No one is listening to the people who pay for the upkeep of the church.”

The parishioner claims they emailed and phoned Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, a friend of Milarvie, but were ignored.

He added: “People are utterly appalled. We have contacted Archbishop Tartaglia and have been met with a disgraceful attitude.

“The priest we spoke to said we should ‘go to confession’ and that Milarvie was ‘forgiven’.

“We said that wasn’t good enough and that we’re very concerned he’ll do this again. He said, ‘We don’t know if he’ll do it again but we hope not’. Disgraceful.

“People deserve to know the truth. We want this priest out. Not only of our parish but of the priesthood.”

The case, which came to light in 2012 after the church spoke out against SNP plans to legalise same-sex marriage, prompted accusations the church was confused in its attitude to homosexuality.

Milarvie, 51, was vice-rector of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome from 2001 to 2005 and rector from 2005 to 2009. He is currently the parish priest for St Flannan’s in Kirkintilloch, near Glasgow.

The Record approached both Milarvie and the Catholic Church for comment.  Source  

Comment

Click here to read the response of Archbishop Tartaglia to the scandal reported by us in our current,  January newsletter and then vote in our poll below.  It seems clear that, his health concerns together with his failure to act in the face of scandals involving his priests, Archbishop Tartaglia is not fit for office. A bishop with equal authority to himself, who is not tainted by scandal and who will deal fairly and transparently with the legitimate concerns of the faithful, would go a long way to restoring confidence in the Archdiocese of Glasgow.  I can’t see how anyone could disagree with that solution to a very dysfunctional archdiocese.  After all, part of the problem may be due to the Archbishop’s poor health, so in charity, the Vatican ought to do all that is possible to lighten his load.  What do you think? 

 

43 responses

  1. This is a sorry tale that is refusing to go away. The “young man” in question is NOT a victim in all of this. He forms part of a lay mafia. They have formed many “revenge” campaigns over the years. Father Milarvie, by no means innocent in all of this, has now been identified several times in the press. At the Archdiocese we have our suspicions that the young man is behind this. His career continues unaffected whilst he watches from a distance and destroys those who get in his way.

    However, the powers that be in Clyde Street – Archbishops Mario and Philip – have handled this appallingly. Father Milarvie should have been removed from office immediately. I know he has undertaken some serious spiritual and psychological treatment following this incident (it’s not the first incident with a priest the young man has been involved in- he was at the centre of the removal of a priest from another Scottish Diocese, south of Glasgow, a few years back). However, he should have been given a position out the way of the public.

    In a way, the Archdiocese of Glasgow, and the young man in question, have both caused Father Milarvie problems. The young man for his predatory behaviour and the Archdiocese for failing to deal with it properly.

    • Archdiocesan Insider,

      What a very interesting comment. It sounds like there’s a “gay mafia” in Glasgow – is that what you’re saying?

      I’m guessing that the priest from the south – must be Galloway? is Fr Patrick Lawson? His name keeps coming up in newspaper reports and blogs as if he is a victim of some sort.

      You’ve got me curious about his “career” – I’m not sure how the archdiocese could have any effect over his career unless criminal activity is involved. If you are able to tell us that, that would be very interesting to know.

    • Archdiocesan Insider,

      That young man sounds like a predator. HE should be outed,no question about it. If he’s causing priests trouble, being removed from their Diocese (as per the Galloway priest you mention) then who cares about his career.

      It is just too much that the Scots bishops protect those who are in the wrong, misbehaving, but persecute others, priests and teachers, for being orthodox.

      • Michaela,

        I understand the points you have made. This man set a trap for Father Milarvie, so the way the story is presented in the newspaper is not the full story.

      • Michaela,

        I prefer that we do not speculate about this young man. I have encountered him in pursuing one of our reports some years ago, and I think the least said about him, the soonest mended. So, let’s simply agree about the weakness of the hierarchy in turning their ire on the orthodox clergy and teachers while ignoring or protecting those in need of being disciplined – to put it mildly…

  2. I agree that a coadjutor Bishop should be appointed.

    A man of such fragile health – as ++Tartaglia is – cannot be expected to run a big diocese and make strenuous efforts to deal with scandal. Having had two heart attacks already,it would be natural and understandable for him to prefer to shy away from confrontation and seek to avoid stressful situations.

    Bishops have to be “hands on” – perhaps a poor choice of words, given the antics of Fr Milarvie – and decisive, not passive figureheads, like a taylor’s dummy wearing a mitre.

    That seems to be the fashion for modern Bishops: very “gentle”, often plump, men, who wouldn’t say Boo to a Ghost. The kind of people who would find it difficult to condemn even Adolf Hitler, because they are ever-so nice and prefer “dialogue” (i.e. waffle).

    Let’s get someone in with a bit of fire in his belly.

    Amazingly, can you believe Fr Milarvie is involved with the judicial branch of the diocesan curia?

    http://www.rcag.org.uk/index.php/the-archdiocese/diocesan-curia/judicial-branch

    Not very hard to understand why he has been rehabilitated then, is it?

    • Gabriel Syme,

      I’m not sure I agree that Archbishop Tartaglia is “gentle” – did you read his reply to the editor of Catholic Truth in the newsletter report about Mgr Paul Conroy and his housekeeper? I thought that was a brass neck reply.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      I agree, as on health grounds alone, Archbishop Tartaglia needs help. He already asked for an auxiliary bishop I believe (and wanted Mgr Conroy, his Vicar General, although I guess that’s down the tube now, LOL!)

      For one reason or another, ++ T needs help and someone with as much authority to take the load off his shoulders, can only be a good thing, practically speaking, although it’s never going to be someone who will be truly traditional. That’s a given.

  3. As long as the Co-adjutor was carefully picked, because he would have right of succession, i.e. he could take over the office of Archbishop Tartaglia when he goes. I would go with that, definitely something has to be done as Glasgow is in a terrible state. Priests don’t think the archbishop gives a toss about them, and these scandals only help to confirm that.

    What a terrible situation we are in, with scandalous priests in top position. God help us all.

  4. Editor,

    The trouble with the proposed solution (“the Vatican ought to do all that is possible to lighten his load”) is that, considering who is in charge of the Vatican these days, a co-adjutor bishop appointed by the Vatican would probably result in even worse circumstances…like a promotion for this Fr. Milarvie!

    • Thank you for all the replies. Father Milarvie was in the wrong and should have been reassigned out the way of the traffic. However, he did everything that was asked of him and offered to stand down/accept reassignment. The real problems lie with the hierarchy of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

      I don’t feel I can say anymore about the young man in question. Nothing “criminal” went on but if his name got out then I believe it would have an impact on his career.

      I’m not so sure I would describe them as a gay mafia. They are mainly failed seminarians who were weeded out. There’s a common denominator with all of them but they now wreak havoc from the ranks of the laity.

  5. If Archbishop Tartaglia is in ill health then he should step down from his present office and ask that someone more fitted to the task be installed. Since he remains in place, however, we can only assume that he feels capable of carrying on, which means he has to take responsibility for everything that’s going wrong in the Archdiocese.

    More generally, Scotland puts me very much in mind of Germany as regards its hierarchy; full of liberal prelates who turn a blind eye to all clerical sexual scandals save the abuse of children, and who are content to see church after church close down for want of properly formed Catholic priests and committed Catholic faithful. They’ve already presided over the closure of all Scottish seminaries and now we hear that a good many more churches are to close in the Archdiocese of Glasgow. It’s a shocking testimony to their indifference.

    The very continuance of Mgr. Loftus spouting his dissent and heresy week in and week out in a UK-wide newspaper, The Catholic(?) Times, is evidence of this shameful indifference. The faithful have written to many bishops in Scotland (and England) about this rebel priest and received no answer. It doesn’t get much more scandalous than that.

    Hard as it is for me to say this, I’m not sure that any of our Scottish bishops really have the fullness of the Catholic Faith now. The bitter fruits of their successive tenures would seem to suggest that something is rotten in the State of Denmark, so to speak! The tree is judged by its fruit, says Our Lord. I think that really says everything that needs saying. They are liberals who wanted to “reform” the Church and they have ended deforming the priesthood and the Faith. St. Pius X warned us what the Modernist was capable of and what we should expect when they started the clarion call for “Reform”.

    • Well said Athanasius. I have noticed for years the distinct lack of priests at ANY Pro Life events and marches in Glasgow. The Modernists embrace all that is rotten.

  6. A Co – Adjutor Bishop has only delegated authority within a Diocese, and is not, in any sense, equal to the Diocesan Bishop, except that sacramentally he can do all that The Ordinary of The Diocese can do.

  7. A Coadjutor only assumes his role as The Ordinary of The Diocese on the retirement, or death, of the current Ordinary. Until then his powers are delegated ones.

    It might happen that a Coadjutor predeceases the Ordinary or, is himself, translated to another Diocese. (Death rather translation elsewhere is more likely, but neither are highly probable. However, I think Pope John Paul 1st was Pope for 33 days. We have a God of surprises!)

    In the meantime he would have the same “authority” as an Auxiliary Bishop.

    • Josephine/St Martin,

      Canon Law #403 ff explains quite clearly the role of the co-adjutor (and auxiliary) bishops. He does have the right of succession (unlike an auxiliary) and “assists the diocesan bishop in the entire governance of the diocese, and takes his place when he is absent or impeded.”

      Sounds pretty “equal” to me, although there is no doubt about his powers being “delegated” (obviously, else he’d be the “Archbishop” – let’s not play semantics.)

      • The only real difference, in any meaningful sense, when compared to an Auxiliary or a Vicar General, is the right of succession.

        • St Martin,

          Given that – as far as I can remember – it was the Archbishop himself who said he needed an auxiliary, it is really neither here nor there whether an auxiliary or a coadjutor is appointed. the point is, he needs help running the archdiocese. THAT is the key point. Don’t miss it in the rush to catch me out in a mistake, real or imagined.

          In fact, I used the term “coadjutor” on the advice of certain of the Glasgow clergy – who – it seems – are labouring under the illusion that said coadjutor would hold equal authority to the archbishop and thus those clergy who choose to do so, may consult with said coadjutor instead of their apparently “couldn’t care less about my priests” archbishop. That’s my best guess, although that’s all it is – a guess. There is certainly a distinction to be made between an auxiliary bishop and a coadjutor bishop, and the right of succession is no small consideration.

          • As I have lived in a Diocese that had a Bishop who lived well beyond retirement age having survived, more than once, cancer and other life threatening conditions, and had a Coadjutor, then I can say with certainty the Coadjutor has delegated authority, and cannot be treated as having a separate “Court” to which clergy or lay can appeal.

            I also know at least one Diocese that realised the Coadjutor, on becoming The Ordinary, was a bigger liability than the man he succeeded!

            • St. Martin

              “I also know at least one Diocese that realised the Coadjutor, on becoming The Ordinary, was a bigger liability than the man he succeeded!”

              That little problem is not restricted to coadjutor bishops, it’s a very common complaint with episcopal appointments generally these days. I can’t remember the last time I was able to say that a certain bishop was a good choice for Tradition. They’re usually all ecumaniacs in rainbow vestments!

  8. This is in Scotland, ongoing since 2012.  This is your Church?  

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

    • Joanne

      Actually, it’s first God’s Church and that’s why we Catholics know that ultimately things will be put right. The Church has been through this kind of crisis before in its 2000-year history and is still here. Can’t think of any other institution that has survived in tact for 2000 years despite every attack and crisis being thrown at it through history. This in and of itself proves that the Catholic Church is divinely constituted and protected.

  9. I’m surprised that there’s been no organized movement (at least, none mentioned on this blog that I know of), to militate for parishioners to stop contributing their hard-earned cash to this clearly corrupt diocese – not to mention all the other corrupt dioceses/Ordinaries in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

    Is it because not enough people care? Not enough people are aware of the corruption?

    Besides, I’ve heard the old saw that you Scots are, shall we way, rather judicious with how you spend your tuppence (not that I believe it, Editor!) – in which case, you would think that the first whiff of scandal and corruption would result in emptier church coffers….

    • RCA Victor,

      “Is it because not enough people care?”

      You kidding? NOBODY cares! That is the fact of the matter.

      I cannot tell you how many diocesan Catholics I’ve spoken to recently who either think Papa Francis is the best thing since sliced bread and all that is going on, is the Church “making progress” OR they feel something’s maybe (I stress maybe) not quite right but, well, I know what I believe and I have my own prayers etc. They “like” the worst possible clergy, don’t want to know about scandals, and the very LAST thing they would do is mobilise to participate in militant action; it wouldn’t cross their minds to withhold money from the collection (although I doubt many put in enough to make it an issue! Cue for one of those mean Scots jokes!)

      “Whiff of scandal”? We’ve got scandals by the stench-load and it doesn’t bother the Scots Catholic population one bit. They like – LOVE – their modernist priests, and strongly disapprove of “uncharitable” people like that Catholic Truth crowd – that is, those who have discovered our existence for themselves. The bishops and priests are doing everything in their power to keep all knowledge of our work from the Catholic population at large.

      It never ceases to amaze me that Muslims – with no hierarchy at all – are able to mobilise thousands of their co-religionists to take to the streets in protest at this or that “attack” on the Koran or whatever, while we have to advertise for months in advance to fill a relatively small hall for a short afternoon conference about the crisis in the Church. Truly, diabolical.

      • Editor,

        That sounds like “Pray, Pay and Obey,” version 2.0…which, it seems, accounts for a lot of why we have this crisis in the first place.

        • That’s more or less what Pope Saint Pius X said, RCA Victor, when he pointed out that “All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics.”

      • That’s spot on Editor. It’s the same here in England. I was first alerted to the situation in the early 70s, when trying to get support from Catholics for the pro-life cause. It wasn’t just an uphill struggle, it was practically impossible; help from the clergy was very patchy, at best. It was because of this that I started to read the likes of Michael Davies and got clued up. Most Catholics have been living in a bubble for 50 years; it’s comfortable, they don’t have to confront nasty things like mortal sins, they’re never reminded about them, or about the need for confession. As Chris Ferrara says, the frogs have been slowly boiled alive.

        • Therese,

          Well said. Clearly, the majority of Catholics do not want to believe the obvious, for all sorts of reasons. None of which will amount to a satisfactory reason at their judgment, God help them.

  10. Editor

    I agree. Once upon a time Catholics really did care about the Church and their faith, but that was before Vatican II. Now the majority don’t even care to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament. The devil has enjoyed very great success with Catholics these past fifty years, especially clerical ones.

      • Editor

        I left “tragic” out because we’ve gone beyond that to something much worse and I can’t think of a suitable word. I mean, how does one describe Catholics who simple don’t care about what’s happening to the Faith of their Fathers, just happy to go along to get along? It’s beyond words.

  11. My reaction on reading the story which gave rise to this blog was to say to myself, ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.’ And I can never forget my granny’s sobering reminder: ‘You’re no oot the world yet,’ which she would direct to any of her children or grandchildren she heard judging others.

    That said, sin, even when repented, confessed and no longer remembered by God, can leave a very bitter aftertaste. This hard fact of life–so unjust, but so telling of the terrible destructiveness of sin–is amplified in our times by the power of the internet which has the effect of making it almost impossible for those whose sins have become public knowledge to move on and begin a new life, as Jesus’s encounter with the woman taken in adultery seems to promise.

    But when such sins have been committed by a priest, the matter is compounded severalfold. The priest is not his own, as Fulton Sheen so eloquently reminded us, and when his sins become public knowledge he inevitably compromises the credibility of the Church.

    I am not sure that it is pastorally prudent for a priest who finds himself in such a situation just to be allowed to continue as before. Yes, I understand that we are in the midst of a shortage of priests, and that even one less can be an enormous headache for a bishop trying to make adequate provision for the pastoral care of his flock. I understand, too, the enormous pain of public humiliation, after which one is inclined to let bygones be bygones. But while bishops and priests seem to have become inured to scandal–in itself a very telling and dangerous sign of the times–the laity are, thank God, far less so. I say this with a heavy heart, but the priest in question should, in my humble opinion, have been assigned to a non-parochial function.

    I have long thought that the Church in Scotland, and not just in Scotland, suffers from a too ‘managerial’ approach to pastoral governance. An enormous distance seems to have opened up between bishops and priests, when really a bishop stands to his priests as a father stands to his sons. Their relationship should be close and personal, not distant and burocratic. I remember a few years ago asking a very worthy priest in a diocese in the West of Scotland (not Glasgow) how often he saw the bishop. ‘When he comes for confirmations,’ was his reply. And we are talking here of a diocese of less than thirty parishes and about as many priests. I was utterly shocked at this. What do the bishops do all day? And what can be more important to them than the well-being of their priests? Is it asking too much for Father to be invited in for the occasional chat over a mug of coffee, to say nothing of lunch or dinner? Jesus, in contrast, seems to have relished socialising with his apostles and disciples, and while the table was often the scene of some of his most profound teachings, I am sure that they also had some very good laughs together. I am also sure that Judas would have loathed such occasions.

    • Prognosticum,

      Thank you for that.

      I’ve been surprised at the number of people who still, even in the midst of all the dreadful scandals afflicting the Church, think that it’s better NOT to publish them. The concern is always for the “good name”, the “reputation” of the priest concerned. This never ceases to amaze me.

      That is why, in our January report about Bridgeton, I made a point of linking the scandal to the Mass. We are not reporting these cases for the sake of causing trouble or offence or for any salacious reasons, but because priests living in these situations may well adversely affect penitents, for example, in Confession, giving bad advice etc. And, of course, as emphasised in the Bridgeton report, lessening the extrinsic value of the Mass. In other words, our concern is (a) for the soul of the priest himself and others involved in his scandal and (b) for the parishioners likely to suffer impoverished spiritual fruits.

      If I thought it made no difference either to himself or to parishioners or to the wider Church, whether or not a priest were publicly giving scandal, I would refuse ever to publish such scandal again. We’re not a tabloid newspaper. We have no interest in such reports, other than for spiritual and moral reasons, for reasons of ending scandal and minimising the damage done by exhorting all to the correct Catholic attitude to such scandals. Remember, it’s usually people close to the scandal, those who are affected by it, who approach us, and often at great cost to themselves. In the Bridgeton case, one of the sources there has suffered as a result, with the anything-but-concerned element in the parish turning against her and trying to make her feel bad. Happily, she’s made of sterner stuff.

      I have to say that, generally speaking, it is priests who do not approve of our “naming and shaming” reports – although, as you will see in the March edition, the substance of our Bridgeton report was already the talk of Bridgeton well before publication of our January edition; we really don’t do “naming and shaming” – in every case where we have published, the facts have already been known, often to the bishops themselves so our reports merely serve as a warning to the laity who may be scandalised to the point of doubting the Church, and/or those who do not know the correct response to such scandal.

      Needless to say, I wholly endorse your comments about the Bishops care for his priests. Inviting them for coffee occasionally for a chat is eminently praiseworthy and – in fact – in the world of management would be considered elementary good practice.

      And while he’s at it, the Bishop might throw out the odd invitation to the Catholic Truth team to come for coffee as well. That could prove highly educational – for him!

  12. Editor

    I do not believe that Prognosticum was making any reference to your January publication when he commented. In that instance you took every measure to avoid publishing that information, but it was clear from the priest in question and the authorities over him that they were not remotely interested in the possibility of scandal. They were given plenty of time and information to redress the situation and failed to do so. What you finally felt obliged to publish would have been much worse had it got into a secular paper.

    I did take a personal lesson from Prognosticum’s comment, however, which is that perhaps I am too quick to anger with the failings of others at times when I myself am a sinner utterly dependent upon the mercy of God. I fully endorse his assertion, as I’m sure we all do, that sinners who repent must and should be given the opportunity to move on with their lives, leaving their past (confessed) sins behind them.

    • Athanasius,

      I didn’t think at all that Prognosticum was referring to the Bridgeton report. Not at all. What he said simply sparked my memory of some people, including priests, who have indicated that they disapprove of such reports, including the one in the January edition. They don’t mind discussing it, lamenting it, bemoaning the situation for the poor – often unsuspecting – parishioners, but they think, end of the day, the priest’s “right” to his “good name” (without any concern for his poor soul) is the main thing.

      In terms of allowing those who have repented etc to move on – who could disagree with that?

      However, in certain professions, if a doctor, for example, does harm or causes scandal then, whether or not he repents, he may not be considered fit to continue with his work.

      Paedophiles are another example. The idea that this section of society alone in the world, is incapable of true repentance and rehabilitation, has widespread currency. Nobody would permit a convicted paedophile to work with children, no matter that he has repented, confessed, made reparation as best he can, and been absolved.

      Similarly, the issue of resolving clerical scandals is not quite as clear cut as we might wish. There are various angles and many offshoots to complicate matters – which is why the clergy would be well advised to stick to the rules!

      • “the clergy would be well advised to stick to the rules!”

        In other words, the clergy would be well advised to behave themselves.

        Let’s hope and pray that the majority do so, but the badly behaved minority give the rest a bad name. It must be very dispiriting for the good priests to have to put up with their profession/vocation being besmirched because of a minority of immoral priests.

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