Glasgow priest under fire over ‘pro-independence’ sermons

Canon Peter McBride, a Yes-supporting Catholic priest in Glasgow, is under fire from parishioners after preaching from the pulpit in favour of Scottish Independence. Picture: SWNS

Canon Peter McBride, a Yes-supporting Catholic priest in Glasgow, is under fire from parishioners after preaching from the pulpit in favour of Scottish Independence. Picture: SWNS

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A CATHOLIC priest is under fire from parishioners after preaching from the pulpit in favour of Scottish Independence.

Angry members of Canon Peter McBride’s Glasgow congregation have made complaints about his political sermons to the city’s Archbishop Philip Tartaglia.

Canon McBride took over at St Peters (pictured) and St Simons Roman Catholic churches in Partick in Glasgows West End last year. Picture: Geograph.org

Canon McBride took over at St Peters (pictured) and St Simons Roman Catholic churches in Partick in Glasgows West End last year. Picture: Geograph.org

Canon McBride took over at St Peter’s and St Simon’s Roman Catholic churches in Partick in Glasgow’s West End last year.

He immediately announced to his new parishioners that he had voted Yes in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.

And complainants say he has since made a number of statements from the pulpit in explicit favour of independence.

One of the church-goers who has made a formal complaint about Canon McBride said: “The second week he was there he put a biography at the back of the church bulletin saying, ‘I am a Yes man, I will always be a Yes man’ in relation to independence.

“The pulpit is not the place to talk about politics and make these statements.”

Ahead of the referendum in September 2014, Canon McBride openly stated his support for Scottish independence on the Christians for Independence Facebook page.

READ MORE: Young and educated ‘more engaged by Independence debate’

He said a month before the September 18 poll: “Westminster has proven it is irreformable.

“With government from Edinburgh, social reform and a more equitable distribution of resources and wealth is a distinct possibility. Vote with HOPE, not in FEAR.”

Comments on the page were largely in support of the priest for expressing his support for Scotland breaking away from the rest of the United Kingdom.

But a number of dissenting voices weighed in with opposition to a public figure from the church being seen attempting to sway the vote on either side of the debate.

Facebook user Brian Fitzpatrick wrote: “Whatever, his personal views it is wholly inappropriate for this to be posted by or on behalf of Canon McBride while garbed in priestly vestments.

“Catholics will be voting YES or NO and, hopefully, doing so in good conscience.

“Canon McBride might better have decided to adopt a measure of discretion - Scotland’s laity, beyond a call to the duty to vote, need no prompts one way or the other from clerics.

“Whatever his views, he should NOT be promoting them when wearing a chasuble.”

But others were vocal in their support for the priest.

READ MORE: SNP to target ‘soft’ No voters in new Scottish independence drive

Facebook user Peter Laird said: “I’m a Baptist. God Bless a Free Scotland.”

And Jason Kelly said: “Father McBride God bless. The greatest Christian act Scotland can make on the 18th is voting yes to rid our beautiful country of the Devil’s nuclear submarines. Catholics for freedom.”

Meanwhile, it’s emerged that Canon McBride banned the influential Scottish Catholic Observer newspaper from his former parish - St Thomas’s in Riddie in Glasgow’s East End - after the paper carried advert urging people to vote no in the referendum.

The priest said the advert was “dividing the community” and wrongly mixed party politics and the church.

Now he’s been accused of doing the same by some of his new parishioners, who say politics should be kept out of the pulpit.

Complaints have been filed to his parish council as well as the Archbishop.

One parishioner, who has now moved to another church, said: “He’s a one-man band, he wants to make the decisions.

“People have left the parish and gone elsewhere because of him.”

Canon McBride and the Archdiocese of Glasgow have been contacted and asked for comment.

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