First Minister: Anti-Catholic discrimination ‘a scourge on society’

Discrimination against the Catholic community in Scotland is a scourge on society and must be eradicated, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Last week, two Catholic churches – St Simon’s Parish of Partick and Holy Family Parish Church in Mossend – were targeted by vandals.

A shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa was desecrated at St Simon’s while anti-Catholic graffiti was scrawled on a bus stop outside of the parish in Mossend.

At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, SNP MSP Sandra White asked what guidance the Scottish Government could offer to places of worship to deter vandals.

Responding, Ms Sturgeon said: “The vandalism of St Simon’s Church is absolutely appalling and a complete outrage, and I’m sure everybody is of that view.

“While it is for the police to investigate incidents such as this, including any motivation for it, we should all be clear about this anti-Catholic, or in this case possibly anti-Polish, discrimination must not be tolerated.

“Just like anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, anti-Catholic discrimination is a scourge on our society and it must be eradicated.”

She added: “Places of worship, whether Christian churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, any places of worship, must be places of peace and sanctuary.

“That’s why the Justice Secretary (Humza Yousaf) and I have given a commitment to explore further what the Scottish Government could do to ensure safety and security for all faith communities and their places of worship.”

Following the incidents, the Archdiocese of Glasgow condemned the vandalism.

A tweet read: “Whatever the motive, this is a shameful attack on a much loved church. Let’s help find those responsible. This kind of activity is unacceptable.”