Archbishop Tartaglia to Pope Francis: Scots Martyr Died For Religious Freedom – Come and Celebrate With Us!


Glasgow’s Archbishop, Philip Tartaglia has written to Pope Francis asking him to consider a day visit to the city to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie, who was executed at Glasgow Cross on 10 March 1615.

In his letter to Pope Francis asking him to visit the city on the saint’s anniversary and feast day, the Archbishop said: “It would be wonderful if you could come to Glasgow for a day for this unique event.

I would envisage your visit as being of a purely religious-pastoral nature,  … “I know that this is short notice for the visit of a Pope … I present this request to you without any expectations or sense of entitlement. I do not even know if it is practical! However a visit would be such a grace.”

The news is carried in this month’s edition of Flourish, the Archdiocese of Glasgow’s official newspaper, out today [Thursday June 5].

John Ogilvie, a convert to Catholicism who came from Banffshire, was a Jesuit priest martyred for his faith. He was hanged in Glasgow on 10th March 1615. He was canonised in Rome by Pope Paul VI on 16th October 1976. Archbishop Tartaglia was present at the ceremony as a young priest. Many Scottish pilgrims travelled to Rome for the canonisation.

Easterhouse man John Fagan’s miraculous cure from cancer  provided the miracle needed to proceed to the canonization.

 St John Ogilvie is Scotland’s only post-reformation canonised saint and was recently painted by celebrated Scots artist Peter Howson – the painting now being on display in St Andrew’s Cathedral, just a few hundred yards from the saint’s execution site.

Although Papal visits are usually planned with several years of anticipation, Pope Francis has surprised many by choosing to make short day visits within Italy to places of special significance, most notably last year when he went for the day to the island of Lampedusa which is the arrival point for many immigrants from Africa. Two further day visits within Italy are due this summer.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: “Whether the Pope is able to come or not, I would hope that the anniversary will be a celebration and renewal of faith for the Catholic community, for other Christians, and for all people of faith. And I would hope that it could be a moment of reflection on the deeper realities of human existence for all people of good will.

“Our celebrations would be clearly marked too by an appreciation of how ecumenism has changed the relationship between Christians over the last four centuries and focus on how Christians and other people of faith can make common cause for the core issue for which St John Ogilvie died ,namely religious freedom.

“My thought is to provide a new focus on the figure of St John Ogilvie: his identity as a Scot, his faith journey, his vocation, his priestly ministry, his capture and death, his sainthood and canonisation.

If it were to go ahead, a visit by the Pope would be the third papal visit to Glasgow, after the Masses of St John Paul II and Pope Benedict.  Source


It’s bad enough to think that Pope Francis might be coming to Glasgow, with all the fuss and publicity that would entail. But that the Archbishop of Glasgow is now claiming that our one and only Scots martyr died for the cause of religious freedom, when the opposite is true, is scandalous in the extreme. St John Ogilvie died rather than deny the Catholic Faith; he would be fully opposed to ecumenical activities of the sort the Archbishop of Glasgow (and Pope Francis) promote. My message to Archbishop Tartaglia – get over it!  What’s your message to him?  (Be as forthright as you wish but not rude  please and thank you!)