By Eddie Barnes
CATHOLICS IN Scotland have given a mixed reaction to claims by composer James MacMillan that anti-Catholic bigotry was still "endemic" in Scotland.
On Monday, MacMillan told an audience in Edinburgh: In many walks of life antiCatholicism, even when it is not particularly malign, is as endemic as it is second nature."
Catholics at Mass in central Glasgow were divided by his claims.
"I have never experienced any form of bigotry and I think it belongs to the past," said one young Catholic, who asked not to be named.
However, older Catholics said that they still believed there was plenty of antiCatholicism around.
"There's no doubt about it," said one. "And James MacMillan was absolutely right to highlight the fact."
Professor MacMillan argued that "sleep-walking" bigotry had been allowed to fester in Scottish society.
"It's true that for many Scots, religious bigotry does not impinge on their lives, but for a significant minority Catholics continue to be a source of puzzlement if not anxiety, and its concomitant bigotry. The obsessive attempts, h storically and contemporaneously, to peripheralise and trivialise the Catholic experience in Scotland is a self-defeating tendency," he said.
On a positive note, he said that Catholics could find "common cause with countless others in Scotland" to combat "the empty de-spiri tualisation of consumer society".
"Perhaps the most destructive opposition to Catholicism is not to be found in Orange parades. sour editorials and EIS (Education Institute of Scotland) conference motions but in the very nature of free market capitalism itself." It emerged later that Donald Findlay QC — who MacMillan accused of anti-Catholic bigotry — was threatening to sue the composer for his comments. Mr Findlay — a high-profile lawyer — was dismissed as Vice-Chairman of Rangers FC earlier this year after he was caught singing anti-Catholic sings at a post-march celebration.