Archdiocese of Glasgow in Meltdown

On 17th May, Catholic Truth received a copy of the following Statement sent to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, by  the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Monsignor Paul G. Murray B.Sc., Ph.B., S.T.L…

Statement regarding Monsignor Christopher McElroy

Mgr. Chris McElroy recently informed the Archbishop of his decision to step down from priestly ministry to allow him to reflect on his future. He will leave the Cathedral on Friday 19th May. A new Administrator will be appointed as soon as possible.

Well, I think we all know by now that “reflecting on his future” is a euphemism for “I’m off”.  So, the Archbishop, presumably stuck for a suitable replacement within the geographical confines of the Archdiocese has, literally, turned to Rome for help;  I mean, think about it; his Vicar General, subject of our front page report in January is hardly going about the place cutting the mustard, is he?  (Visit Newsletter Page on our website, and select the January 2017 edition in our Archive Section). And so it came to pass that the Archbishop has recalled the young Father Gerald Sharkey from the Scots College, to take up the post of administrator in the Cathedral in Glasgow.  Photo and text below is taken from the website of the Archdiocese of Glasgow – click here for source

Father Gerald Sharkey has been named by Archbishop Tartaglia as the new Administrator of St Andrew’s  Cathedral.

He succeeds Mgr Chris McElroy who is stepping down from active ministry.

Fr Sharkey was ordained in 2006. Currently he holds the post of Vice Rector of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome, and previously served as Parish Priest of Our Lady and St Helen’s in Condorrat.

Commenting on his appointment, Fr Sharkey said: “Although I will be sad to leave the eternal city and the happy environment of the Pontifical Scots College, I thank Archbishop Tartaglia for the trust he has shown in me by appointing me as the new Administrator of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow.  Please pray for me in this time of great change.”

He will take up his new post on the Feast of the First Martyrs of the Roman Church,
June 30, 2017.


We wish Father Gerald Sharkey well in his new appointment.  He has a reputation for being a sound priest – which is becoming something of the norm among the younger, more recently ordained clergy, thanks be to God. 

That said, it is clear from conversations with various priests around the archdiocese and beyond, that  the informed, more orthodox clergy are of the undiluted opinion that “the game’s a bogey”: it’s over –  the archdiocese is in meltdown. 

This is not a new thought here at Catholic Truth – we’ve known this to be the case for a long time now.  Click here to read one of our previous discussions on the topic of the Archdiocese of Glasgow R.I.P.

The “new” question is …drum roll… is the end of the Archdiocese of Glasgow as it now operates under Archbishop Tartaglia… (another drum roll) … a good thing?  What – in your considered opinion – lies ahead?  

44 responses

  1. Undoubtedly the Archdiocese has been in freefall under the inept Archbishops Conti and Tartaglia. There’s no leadership, no courage and no authentic Faith.

    The Archdiocesan Curia have been sticking their heads in the sand individually and collectively for far too long. Mgr Conroy, Vicar General, once told me that he acknowledged there was a crisis in the Church, but blamed that crisis on materialism and the Church not engaging with the world. The hapless Monsignor is yet to realise that the more worldly the Church becomes, the more the world will reject her. Let’s be honest, if we are looking for worldly pleasures, which we all do from time to time, there are more fun options than the Church!

    When the Church rediscovers her supernatural calling then we will see the revival.

    • Petrus,

      You summed it up perfectly in your final sentence. That is when we will see the revival of the faith in Glasgow, for sure. Without the supernatural, all we have is humanism.

  2. Poor Father Sharkey, recalled from beautiful Rome to work in the barren Archdiocese of Glasgow, with the Scots weather.

    I can almost imagine the bile rising in his throat, as he thanks ++Tartaglia for this great honour. its not quite Bugnini’s exile to Iran, but not far off haha!

    Is there any information on why Mgr. Chris McElroy is jacking it in? Has he got a boyfriend? Spent the Archdiocesan funds on scratch-cards or horses? This is the usual thing we hear of.

    I certainly think the Archdiocese needs to seriously consider its direction. It needs a renewed sense of purpose and vigour. For too long it has been “going through the motions”, like the Scottish Church in general. Its only initiatives have been nonsense like ecumenism and window dressing like the (disappointing) Cathedral refurbishment.

    Speaking of ecumenism, I wonder what the Archbishop thinks of the recent decisions by the Church of Scotland and (soon) Scottish Episcopal Church to conduct “gay marriages”.

    This, in addition to all the other barriers they have erected over the years, clearly betrays how serious they are about working for unity. I.e. not at all. But the Bishops persevere with the nonsense, they keep flogging the (long) dead horse.

    And so the protestants will, for the last years of their existence, openly flaunt their lack of Christianity and contempt for Our Lord. And what is the Catholic Church – which bent over backwards for so long, to glorify and identify with protestants – left with?

    Puerile Protestant-style liturgy.
    The most superficial, ignorant and poorly instructed lay people in all history.
    A total loss of sense of self and seemingly no idea why it exists or what it should be doing.

    But rather than fret, we should see this as an opportunity to revitalise the Scottish Church. But will ++Tartaglia and co have the nerve to take it? I am not holding my breath.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      I am not inclined to repeat the possible reason I was given for Mgr McElroy’s departure, but “a boyfriend” is – how can I put it, delicately… – highly unlikely.

      • Editor,

        I can only echo what you have said. There have been many rumours regarding the Monsignor for several years and none of them relate to a boyfriend!

        • In a way it’s even more tragic that the only modicum of comfort Catholics can hope to get from hearing that a priest is abandoning his vocation is that he is not doing so for a boyfriend!

          • Athanasius,

            It’s a sign of the times that I have to fight feelings of edification that priests are not leaving for that reason. Tragic!

  3. The tragedy of it all is incalculable; another priest abandons his vocation within an Archdiocese that for decades has been falling deeper and deeper into spiritual decay. The fact that all seminaries in Scotland are now closed for want of vocations is testimony itself to the lost faith that now characterises Glasgow, and indeed the entire country. There is no question in my mind that this apocalyptic scenario is due in large measure to the hierarchy, Cardinals and Bishops who would never have been appointed to high office in healthier days.

    These episcopal ecumaniacs have ruined dioceses, parishes and countless souls by their infidelity to the Traditional Faith handed down. Their Modernist/liberal mindset foresaw a “new Pentecost” for the Church and they’ve ended up with a new Tower of Babel, doing more harm to the Church and to Catholic souls than the most zealous Protestant Reformers of the XVI century could have ever hoped to achieve. God have mercy on these bad shepherds who have so misled their flocks.

    Is it any wonder that increasing numbers of clergy are abandoning their vows to embrace the world when the bishops have so desacrilised the Faith and the churches.

    From the priest in white vestments at funerals preaching the heresy of universal salvation to the blue-rinse busybody placing the Most Blessed Sacrament into the hands of standing communicants, to the altar girls with pony tails in Ku Klux gowns, the entire Modernist Catholic religion screams superficiality. Who can doubt that such an environment will eventually eradicate the supernatural faith of Catholic souls. It’s just too terrible to think that after decades of this sham of Modernist Catholicism that there is no longer sufficient faith in many priests and laity for them to see the poison that eats away at the precious gift we have been given by God, the Faith handed down unsullied from St. Peter to that fateful Council.

    To Archbishop Tartaglia, as to all of Scotlands bishops, I quote the words of Archbishop Lefebvre, who, when questioned about why he stood firm in Tradition against the threats of the “new reformers” of the Church, answered: “When I stand before my judge and He asks me what I did with my priesthood, I do not want to hear those terrible words “you have helped to destroy the Church along with the rest of them.”

    This is what the Modernist bishops have done now for five decades, whether intentional on their part or by foolish novelty, they have colluded in destroying Christ’s Church on earth. And even now they stand amidst the ruins and proclaim that all is well, all is bright, all is holy. Such blindness!

    • Athanasius,

      “This is what the Modernist bishops have done now for five decades, whether intentional on their part or by foolish novelty, they have colluded in destroying Christ’s Church on earth. And even now they stand amidst the ruins and proclaim that all is well, all is bright, all is holy. Such blindness!

      How true! Thank you for such an excellent post, and for such an excellent closing paragraph.

  4. What a stark and baneful contrast of mindsets in the conciliar revolution. To faithful Catholics, it is nothing but the bitterest of fruits. To the Modernists and their allies, it is fool’s gold to be reveled in. And to all those tepid in-between, it is “the Pope said it, so it must be true.”

    I didn’t even grow up in the faith, and it makes me bitter!

    Here at home, believe it or not, we not only have an orthodox archbishop and a full seminary, but construction has just begun on a new residence to accommodate even more. And yet the traditional Mass is still not being taught. Imagine what would happen if that were corrected, and Tradition fully embraced!

    • RCA Victor,

      That’s very strange, that your archbishop is orthodox and has a full seminary but no traditional Mass. I can’t see how the archbishop can be truly orthodox if he’s still OK with the novus ordo.

      • Laura,

        Well, you and I and our fellow traditionalists know that the Novus Ordo is not only anything but orthodox, but is actually a Trojan Horse – but in the “mainstream” Church, it seems that this pseudo-Lutheran liturgy falls under the orthodox umbrella if “reverently” celebrated. Everything except the liturgy (and the Hours) appears to be Catholic. I suppose our Archbishop would fall under the “conservative Novus Ordo” category. He had that reputation when he arrived in 2009, and his first stated priority was to fill the Seminary. Not sure how he did it, but he certainly did! I have noted that there are seminarians from other diocese there, but I don’t know how many.

        I make visits at the Seminary chapel 3x/week, and the red lamp is burning, the tabernacle is on the traditional marble altar (which sits behind the smaller N.O. marble altar), and the seminarians appear to be quite devout. I even found this book in one of the pews:

        (No “luminous” mysteries…)

        The former Dean of Students frequently offered the TLM, but he was promoted to the Nuncio’s office, and I haven’t heard of anyone of like mind come to the surface.

        So…when the restoration comes, perhaps our Archdiocese will be one of the first to recover…

      • Laura,

        I agree, and I often think the same thing when I hear people saying this priest or that bishop is very “sound” and “orthodox”. I say “only up to a point”. If they haven’t got the Mass right then the rest can’t be right either. It’s really saying that truth and error can work together. I don’t think so.

    • Crofterlady,

      Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. But don’t tell Pope Francis, he’ll find some lame excuse to chop off our Archbishop’s head and replace him with a liberal thug….

      • RCA Victor, I looked up your diocese and there does seem to be a lot of good things going on there. But, it is a N.O. parish, isn’t it?

        • Crofterlady, I think RCA Victor has said lots of times that he goes to the SSPX chapel, he talks about his prior etc. He’s probably glad to have a local orthodox archbishop, just as we are to have Bishop Davies.

        • Crofterlady, yes, Tradition is nowhere to be found, except, as far as I know, in the old “indult” Mass at one of the older Italian parishes, that still creaks along. There is an FSSP parish in Dayton, Ohio (part of our Archdiocese, north of Cincinnati) that is apparently doing well, but for some reason they have not been invited down here. Or, perhaps they have declined to explore the option….

          Cincinnati is a rather peculiar and balkanized place when it comes to the Faith. From what I understand, several of “the nine” (?) who left the SSPX in the early 1980s have set up their sedevacantist shops here. We also have a gaggle of Feeneyites down the road from our Society chapel.

  5. Just read your January Edition about McElroy and it certainly doesn’t seem a moment to soon . Hell hath no Fury like a Housekeeper who Fears She’s been scuttled. This man is no Priest the only regret I would have in him going is it’s a certainty he’ll not be looking for a job ( that God Forbid) would include Manual Labour.

    Editor: firstly, you have misunderstood; the priest named in our January newsletter is the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, Mgr Paul Conroy NOT the (now former) Administrator of the Cathedral, Mgr McElroy. The rest of this post has been deleted – it was not only off topic but obscure in the extreme.

  6. Looking on the bright side of this, Father Gerald Sharkey is a very good young priest who is leaning towards traditional Catholicism. I hope this doesn’t change now that he’s been put right in among the wolves in the cathedral!

    • It might change unfortunately, Nicky. Our PP is hostile to Tradition, a Pope Francis fan and a thorough modernist. However, I’ve been told by several reliable Catholics that he wasn’t always thus but changed drastically under the influence of the Aberdeen clergy and their “support” groups.

  7. I agree. We should pray for the young Fr Sharkey because if he’s an orthodox priest, let alone leaning towards the traditional Mass, he’ll have a very hard time in Glasgow. It’s a terrible archdiocese now, once called a “special daughter of the see of Rome” – it’s tragic to see the disobedience to the Holy See over the years, which has ended in the collapse, all but, of the archdiocese under both Archbishops Conti and Tartaglia. We should ask our patron, St Mungo, to please pray for us!

    • Helen,

      I can see why you picked that particular avatar, LOL!

      Have you not been following this blog long enough to know how those archbishops ruined the archdiocese of Glasgow?

    • Helen,

      They have neglected their duties in just about every single way possible. Clamping down on sound priests, promoting dissenters etc. If you’ve been reading the newsletter and blog for a while then you shouldn’t really have to ask.

        • Archbishop Conti also led the drive to recruit permanent deacons instead of priests. At one time, the seminary website advertised for permanent (married) deacons with only about a sentence mentioning the possibility of a priestly vocation. That followed on from his time as Bishop of Aberdeen, when he did the very same thing. He clearly wanted to encourage people to be used to seeing married men in clerical collars, paving the way (as he no doubt saw it) for an end to celibacy.

          As for Archbishop Tartaglia – among other things, he has downplayed the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie, in the cause of ecumenism. Shameless.

          And this edition of our newsletter features both…

          To say that the above archbishops “ruined” the Archdiocese of Glasgow, is something of an understatement. To say the least 😀

  8. Oooh, that’s me chastened! I suppose with a very young family to care for I should still make the time to read the blog verse and chapter.

  9. Helen

    I suppose you could always ask one of wee Nicola’s “Guardians” to keep an eye on the weans while you do your homework on the blog! Joking, of course!

    I think the others have now adequately answered the question, so no need to read chapter and verse. You’re off the hook!

  10. Some time back I remember Archbishop Tartaglia saying, “I could see myself going to jail possibly at some point over the next 15 years, if God spares me.” So I suppose there is still some hope for the Archdiocese.

    • Constantine,

      He said that in his first address as Bishop of Paisley, when he urged us all to be prepared for jail rather than remain silent at the growing influence of the LGBT “community”. . Yet, when I was later nominated as Bigot of the Year by Stonewall, he was nowhere to be heard. Interesting sort of martyrdom.

      So, your comment not only made me laugh (I thought I’d never start) it brought back some not so fond memories.

      • Editor

        And in addition to that, the Archdiocese was as meek as a lamb when the Scottish Government imposed “gay marriage” on the nation. Not a word from the would-be-martyrs then.

        • Athanasius,

          Exactly. In the proverbial nutshell. Well said.

          Whoever said “don’t pay attention to what they say, watch what they DO” (which applies to both politicians and bishops) had a handle on human nature.

          • Petrus,

            Funny you should say that, orange jump suits being the garb worn by prisoners in American prisons, because sources tell me that the Archbishop of Glasgow is over there right now, giving a retreat, would you believe, to priests in Philadelphia. Imagine that. His own archdiocese is collapsing around us, priests are falling by the wayside all over the place, and Archbishop Tartaglia is exhorting the clergy of Philadelphia, blankety blank miles away, to be better priests.

            Has he really never heard the old saying that “charity begins at home?”

            I would say “poor Philadelphia” but it might sound a bit… er… cheesy… 😀

            • Editor,

              In Abp. Tartaglia’s case, it appears that “retreat” should be thought of as a verb….

  11. Editor

    Did they not make a disaster movie about that many years ago called “The Philadelphia Experiment”? Or am I thinking of a different disaster?

  12. Today, in Saint Andrew’s cathedral in Glasgow, Monsignor Paul Canon Conroy and Canons Andrew McKenzie and Anthony Gallagher were publicly installed as canons.

    Note: Monsignor Paul (now Canon) Conroy is the one and only PP of Sacred Heart Bridgeton, Vicar General of the Archdiocese, i.e. second in command only to the archbishop, who made the headlines in our January newsletter, due to the appearance of scandal caused by his domestic situation, live-in divorced housekeeper, overnight stays of housekeeper’s daughter, boyfriend and baby etc etc.

    Well, there you go. Didn’t do any damage to his promotion prospects, did it?