The Scottish Government has been asked to apologise over historic discrimination against Catholics in order to ‘repair and renew’ communities.
The call, made by the Catholic Parliamentary Office, came in response to the Scottish Government’s review into current hate crime legislation.
In its response, the Church highlighted the history of anti-Catholicism in Scotland.
Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan, said: “Having devoted significant resources to the symptoms of sectarianism, it is now appropriate that some attention is being given to its cause, through this review.
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“In this context, an opportunity exists to acknowledge that anti-Catholic sectarianism is qualitatively and quantitatively different from other types of religious hate crime in Scotland.”
He added: “Instances of anti-Catholicism outnumber all other types of religious hate crime combined, in a country where Catholics represent only 16 per cent of the population.
“A recommendation by this review, that the Scottish Government consider issuing a collective, retrospective apology could go some way towards building, repairing and renewing bonds between communities harmed by historical wrongdoing. It could also be the first step in addressing historical iniquities.”
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The Scottish Government’s public consultation into the hate crime review closed last week.
Lord Bracadale, who is undertaking the review, said: “We are now analysing the responses received, and will take these into account as I prepare my recommendations on hate crime legislation in Scotland.”