Gay reverend hits back at Scottish Catholic leaders

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

The openly gay reverend of an Episcopal church in Scotland has hit back at anti-gay Catholic leaders.

The Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, said he was “embarrassed” by the remarks of faith leaders on gay marriage.

The Times reports he said: “The behaviour of our brothers, the Roman Catholic bishops in recent days, has been so unpleasant and so ill-judged that it risks harming the good influence of the whole Christian community.

“To behave as though bishops carry some kind of block vote to Holyrood, to threaten politicians and to decry those who want access to the dignity of marriage as unnatural, to say these things seems to me to go too far.”

He added: “Such comments from the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church have left me feeling embarrassed as a Christian. There is a risk that all of the churches will appear to be out of touch, arrogant, conceited and rude.”

Rev Holdsworth’s remarks follow criticism by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, who said Catholic leaders were trying to “impose” their own views.

Speaking on Saturday to the Scottish Liberal Democrat party conference, Mr Rennie said that Catholic bishops’ moves to scupper gay marriage plans were “an affront to liberal democracy”.

He added: “We are not imposing anything on the church, so what I find difficult is that they want to impose on everyone else. A liberal Scotland is where everyone can have their own freedom of thought and belief.”

Glasgow archbishop Mario Conti has written to all Scottish parishes to urge them to oppose the government’s marriage equality consultation.

He said that churches would “actively campaign” to block marriage rights for gay people and warned that the move would create “larger divisions” in society.

Bishop of Paisley Philip Tartaglia wrote to first minister Alex Salmond last week to warn that the consultation would lead to a “serious chill” between the government and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.