Top cleric lays into Buckfast monks
A BISHOP has attacked the monks who make Buckfast, the tonic wine often blamed for Scottish street violence.
The Right Reverend Bob Gillies, the Episcopal Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, accused the Devon-based Benedictines behind the drink of betraying Christian values.
He is the first senior churchman to criticise the monks of Buckfast Abbey, who have always claimed they are not responsible for those who abuse the product.
Speaking on BBC Scotland Investigates: The Buckfast Code, Gillies said: "What sort of moral double take is there that these monks can be so closely associated with that product and knowingly aware of the social damage as well as the medical damage it is doing to the kids who take it in such vast volumes?"
He added: "The monks at Buckfast are in a Benedictine monastery which is founded upon the rule of St Benedict. Benedict urged his monks to live a simple life following a rule that leads them into closer discipleship with the Lord. St Benedict, I would have thought, would have been very, very unhappy with what his monks are doing nowadays."
J Chandler & Co (Buckfast), the commercial firm which distributes Buckfast, has previously threatened to sue public figures who have attacked the drink, including former Scottish justice minister Cathy Jamieson.
Its spokesman Jim Wilson yesterday said: "Why should they (the monks] accept responsibility?
"They're not up here pouring any of their Buckfast down somebody's throat. People take it by choice because they like it, because it's a good product."
• BBC Scotland Investigates: The Buckfast Code will be broadcast tomorrow at 7.30pm on BBC 1.
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