Church representative urges Government to acknowledge anti-Catholic problem
The Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office has told the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee that Scotland has an anti-Catholic problem and that the government must do more than simply legislate if it wants to tackle anti-Catholic hate crime.
Anthony Horan, citing religious aggravation statistics released earlier this year, said that “there is a distinct anti-Catholic problem in Scotland”. Catholics or Catholicism was targeted in 57 per cent of religious aggravations in 2016/17 and has consistently been the most targeted religion in Scotland for a number of years.
Mr Horan stressed the importance of getting to the “root of the problem” and that “it is important for Government to accept and acknowledge, as it has in other areas, that there is a distinct [anti-Catholic] problem.”
The Justice Committee was hearing evidence from various religious groups and other stakeholders on the proposed repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. Mr Horan repeated the Church’s support for any initiative which seeks to tackle behaviour which “fosters hatred” but criticised the lack of time given to scrutinising the original legislation and referred to evidence before the Committee which suggests that there is adequate pre-existing legislation to cover the offences cited in the Act.
The transcript of the evidence session can be accessed via this link: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11180&mode=pdf
The Catholic Parliamentary Office’s written submission to the Justice Committee can be found here: http://www.parliament.scot/S5_JusticeCommittee/Inquiries/OBR224-CatholicBishops.pdf
Image: Scottish Catholic Observer