Catholics give green light to Orange Walks but call for re-routing
There is no call for a ban of Orange Walks from parishioners of Canon Tom White, pictured left, following an attack on the priest on Saturday.
Instead the Parish Pastoral Councils of St Mary’s and St Alphonsus’ in the Calton, Glasgow, have asked for the routes of these walks to changed.
They issued a joint statement calling on Glasgow City Council to review the routes of upcoming Orange Order parades which are currently scheduled to pass St Mary’s and St Alphonsus’ churches in the east end of the city.
The statement says: “While we welcome the statement by the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, condemning the assaults on Canon Tom, as a community we are distressed and deeply saddened that in the 21st century we are unable to exercise our human rights of freedom of association, freedom of assembly and the right to celebrate our faith free from intimidation and violence.”
During the attack Canon White was verbally and physically assaulted and spat upon a number of times.
The Parish Councils also ask the Scottish Parliament to take steps to ensure that all those exercising their right to religious freedom will be protected by the appropriate statutory authorities.
The Scottish Secular Society have stepped into the row over Orange Walks, condemning them while praising their own big Pride march which too place in Glasgow at the weekend.
Naomi Moore, Chair of the Scottish Secular Society, told The Democrat: “Saturday saw 12,000 people march in Glasgow for Pride. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, joined by a cross-party group of MSPs, wrote that the march was ‘celebrating and reaffirming the values of tolerance, diversity, equality, love and respect’.
She added: “Thousands made their way through the city peacefully and anyone was welcome to join in. A far cry from the previous week in Glasgow, when an Orange walk resulted in sectarian abuse and hatred. 4,500 people marched and four arrests were made.
“Canon Tom White and his parishioners were subject to spitting, vile insults and anti-Catholic singing. If the men responsible were not officially in the march, why did they feel welcome enough to walk along, and why did they feel able to sing violent sectarian songs outside a church, content that none among them would question or correct this behaviour?
“Many in Glasgow have had enough of the problems related to Orange walks. Changing the procession route may be the immediately necessary measure, but unless the Orange Order can learn from their fellow Glaswegians who came to Pride, it may be insufficiently able to change a culture of bigotry.”
Nicola Sturgeon leads the Pride march while the Pride of the Rock march in an Orange Walk in Dumbarton.