Let’s stray away from football for a few minutes and consider the above question.
I’m sure there is a lot wrong with the Catholic Church. You can hardly ignore the scandals that have beset it especially in relation to the abuse of children.
You can say much the same about all kinds of other institutions in all walks of life, not just religious ones
There is an onus on everyone involved in them (or with power externally to make a difference) to drive improvements and hold to account those who do wrong.
But things are never black and white. For all the bad things that are done – and which must be addressed – there are always countless good things to celebrate too.
We are fortunate to live in pretty open western democratic societies. You don’t have to be a Roman Catholic, and you don’t have to like the Roman Catholic Church, or the things it stands for and the way it works. Just as you don’t have to adopt other faiths or support the things they do.
I am stating the blindingly obvious here. But it is important to do so.
Given all of these considerations it seems to me that the biggest problem with Roman Catholicism in Scotland right now, this week is a truly bizarre and corrosive hatred for it in some quarters. A hatred which is coupled with a paranoid fear that the Roman Church is somehow going to wreck society, and force people to undergo some sort of mind-altering treatment.
“Should Catholic schools be abolished?” asked one newspaper’s Twitter output this week following criticisms of plans to celebrate the centenary of state-funded education in Glasgow. The paper asked the question over and over again. With predictable responses from the hard of thinking.
And then we read reports of a priest being spat upon and his parishioners being subject to verbal abuse outside their church after a service yesterday. With some online ‘commentators’ subsequently suggesting that Catholicism and the Catholic Church are intrinsically evil, as if that actually justified the assault.
Seriously, what is wrong with these folk? It is the year 2018. Catholics are not going to sneak into their houses, scoop out their brains (if they have any) and replace them with microchips that will turn them into Catholic robots with a hive mind. Nor are people’s breakfasts going to be ruined by finding that their Rice Krispies have been replaced by rosary beads.
Their way of life isn’t being assaulted, and the Church and Catholic schools are NOT turning out agents who want to burn them on a stake faster than you can say ‘Counter Reformation’.
Perhaps some folk have very good personal reasons for disliking the Catholic Church, and they may know people who happen to be Catholics that they don’t like with entirely justifiable cause. That’s fair enough provided that they behave in a proportionate manner in response.
However, sitting here in July 2018 you can’t help but get the impression that there are a significant number of people who loathe Catholics and Catholicism in Scotland simply because of who and what they are. Any scope for individual personality or freedom of conscience and expression is thrown out of the window, and any good works done in the name of faith are simply ignored.
Because the simmering hatred of Catholicism trumps all of that, to the degree that some are quite happy to make their intolerance public and even channel it into violence.
What an absolute disgrace.
What an image to present to the world.
Who in their right mind in a position of authority, or with the ability to speak out via the mass media, would refuse to condemn and tackle this?
It’s time for some serious growing up to be done.
Right, back to football matters
NB In advance of the expected ‘whataboutery’, please allow me to condemn all forms of intolerance and prejudice. Not just the one I have focused on above. Oh, and my ethereal religion is absolutely nothing to do with you!