New article in Herald

There’s a new article in the Herald newspaper today reporting on yesterday’s sermon and service at St Mary’s. It is prominently placed, with a nice big pic of me in the pulpit on the front page. I’d probably have preferred a different headline (they are never written by the reporters themselves) but the article is a good report of the service here at St Mary’s yesterday. 

You can find the article here:

There’s some quoting from yesterday’s sermon

I’m quoted as saying thus:

“The thing I found amazing is how busy a church can be on a Sunday morning simply by saying that everybody is welcome. That’s a position that churches share across the city but somehow, by saying that this is a place where everybody is welcome, that is the message that will draw people in. Perhaps as churches we have forgotten how to say that.”

Asked about the messages on same-sex marriage from the Catholic hierarchy, he said: “I think people get weary of hearing a negative message from church people. What they want to hear is positive – about changing the world for the better, about justice, about love.”

And folk who were in the congregation are quoted thus:

Jim Whannel and Colin Johnston, members of an Episcopal church in Paisley, said: “It’s a very sad day for Christianity because of what is happening in other churches.”

A lesbian Christian couple, Ruth and Jaye Richards-Hill, also backed Mr Holdsworth’s open invitation. Mrs Richards-Hill said: “Somebody needs to stand up and create a balance in the opinion, and I think that worked.”

“A spokesman for the [Roman] Catholic Church declined to respond to Mr Holdsworth’s latest comments.”


  1. Kelvin,
    Prayers for a bright beginning to your sabbatical time.

  2. ‘With a nice big picture of me on the front page’

    Building up the Kingdom of Kelvin and I’m afraid not the Kingdom of God. Maybe this could be good material to take into your sabbatical. Talking of bigotry from the pulpit – is shameful, and unworthy of a senior cleric. There will be many Catholics who at work who may be slandered because of this – whether they agree with gay marriage or not. Shame on you…

    • Thanks for your comment Tim. If you read the sermon, you’ll find that I never mentioned the Roman Catholic Church once.

      Indeed, I explicitly said:

      The churches, all the churches, have some repenting to do. For they have seemed to convey the message that not everyone was equal; not everyone was welcome.

      • Kelvin – thank you for your reply and including my comment, it is very generous of you to do so. I suppose my point from a Catholic perspective is that we are fed up of constantly being misrepresented in the media.

        Catholics do not hate gay people, Gay people are welcome to mass, in fact many Gay people come regularly to mass and feel welcome. They do not hear Priests saying unkind thinks about them. The letter that was read out yesterday was about marriage – it was not full of homophobic language at all…. but the reality is some liberal Catholics had a real dilemma about whether to go to mass or not because they didn’t want to cause a scene by walking out. When I sent a couple of friends like this a copy of the letter that was read out – they regretted missing mass because the letter was much more reasonable than had been reported in the media. The Gay people in my parish where there as usual and the ones I had a quiet word with are embarrassed about all the fuss being made. (On a Sunday we get over 2000 at the four masses).

        I understand how Christians who are in favour of Gay marriage can feel frustrated that the faith is constantly being portrayed as being negative and reactionary – once again the media does not portray the nuances of Christianity. I understand how your sermon could be misquoted and used by the media. But this is why we have to be prudent in what we say and do.

        • Thanks Tim – I do understand how frustrating it is to be misrepresented in the media.

          It is important I think to make a distinction between what most Roman Catholics experience from their priests and what they hear in the press (promoted by the Scottish Catholic Media Office) and coming from the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

          With regards to offensive language, I think that the suggestion that moves to change marriage law are “a grotesque subversion of a universally recognised human right” is indeed quite offensive but know too of course that it is not the language you hear in local catholic parishes.

          My retreat this year was in a Roman Catholic retreat house, in the company of (mostly) Roman Catholic priests and I felt entirely at one in sharing faith and fellowship with them.

          Remember that I referred on this blog last week to my experience of encountering the Roman Catholic community and said that I generally encounter them as “gentle, respectful, caring and kind.”

          All good wishes.

  3. Rosemary Hannah says

    For once, Tim, gay teenagers, gay adults, will have seen a churchman saying kind things about a God who loves them. That IS building the Kingdom.

  4. And, actually, I’ve been slightly annoyed to see that most media seem to be saying that you only invited gay catholics on Sunday. You invited everybody who was worried by the attitude taken by the Catholic bishops to come along.

    The exact words you used were: “If they know anyone in this city who would like to worship with us this week rather than worship in their own church for one Sunday then the message is clear. Everyone is welcome at St Mary’s.”

    We found the experience very enriching – St Mary’s is such a welcoming and warm place to be. Thank you.

  5. In response to Tim’s comment about the letter not being full of homophobic language, it’s certainly true that the language used in the past few months by the Cardinal, describing equal marriage as a “grotesque subversion” has been quite destructive. And that’s before you get to Bishop Tartaglia’s highly offensive comments about the tragic death of a popular MP. These individuals have to take responsibility for their comments which don’t represent the views of the majority of their church.

    However, there are issues with the letter. I worry about the focus on the National Marriage Commission on young people. It strikes me that if you happen to be a young gay teenager, the Church will not be a very comfortable place to be in the next wee while. I was struck by accounts from my gay friends who were discovering their sexuality during the time of the Keep the Clause campaign. Some have talked about how they felt under attack. When the church talks about helping those struggling with same sex attraction, it’s quite scary. It’s not something that people should have to struggle with.

    I fear that young people will be put through needless emotional trauma which could do long term damage to their life and sense of wellbeing.

    • Spot on Caron. This hits the nail on the head. The battle over marriage lost, they now switch their attention to education and children (as if there hasn’t been enough focus on kids and the Catholic church already). As a teacher, I’d like to let the cardinal be in no doubt that he’s treading on extremely thin ice here with this marriage commission…

  6. You’re way off beam I’m afraid Tim. The only insensitive language and empire building has come from the Catholic bishops. BishopTartaglia is the master craftsman in this respect. Rubbish a dead man’s ‘lifestyle’ and blame his God-given sexuality for his early demise. Then after posturing for months to get his Archbishopric, he fails to show humility and apologise for being hurtful and wrong. Watch him go now…he’s got maybe five years to position himself for the red hat. I bet we’ll see much more of Mr Tartaglia in the press than Kelvin over the course of time.

    As to the language, I take great personal offence to the current Cardinal calling my marriage a ‘grotesque subversion’. Or my wife and I ‘inherently disordered’. Try telling the minister who married me that the blessing from father, son and Holy spirit, called down from African skies, is somehow not valid here in Scotland.

    @Kelvin. Sorry for my intemperate demeanour but commentators like Tim need to realise the hurt caused by the words coming from their own bishops and spokesmen like Peter Kearney and the odious Mr Deighan in particular. There’s a similar comment over on my blog post about your invitation..

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