Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia urged to start new dialogue with gay community

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The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, is being asked to meet with members of the LGBT community in the wake of a tumultuous fortnight for the Scottish Catholic Church.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia was placed in temporary charge of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, following Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s decision to resign last month as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church over allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving several male priests.

During his time as leader Cardinal O’Brien was derided for his anti-gay views by many from within the LGBT community.

In 2012, he stated that same-sex relationships were “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing” and compared equal marriage to slavery and child abuse.

Cardinal O’Brien’s temporary replacement, Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, is also against equal marriage and has also previously made homophobic comments.

In July 2012, Archbishop Tartaglia linked the death of gay Labour MP David Cairns to his sexuality.

He subsequently apologised  to Dermot Kehoe, Mr Cairns’ partner of 15 years, who said the remarks had added to the “grief and pain” both for him and of Mr Cairns’ family.

Following the Scottish Catholic Church’s decision to put Archbishop Tartaglia in temporary charge of Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s former diocese, Daniel Donaldson, a solicitor in Edinburgh has now written an open letter to Archbishop Tartaglia. He writes:

Dear Archbishop,

I invite you to meet with me and other members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Community in Scotland.

I want to give you an opportunity to have a positive and straightforward dialogue with LGBT people in Scotland.

I also want you to understand that the recent and historic words and actions by the Church have been tremendously hurtful towards LGBT people, no more so than the deployment of words and phrases that lack the basic compassion that should be at the root of Catholic Charity.

It is not easy growing up Catholic with such negative re-enforcement, where the love we express for our partners of the same-sex or of the opposite sex as the case may be, is belittled and not recognised. It is also hard to rationalise the view taken that being gay is a ‘choice’, in the same way we choose the clothes we wear in the morning or what we buy for lunch. The Church can no longer promote a non sequitur.

This is an opportunity for you to hear from us and for us to hear from you; to enter into dialogue with members of our community.

I am disappointed that my previous correspondence to the Church has gone unanswered.   I now, following recent events, make the offer to you again, in an open letter, affording you another opportunity to respond.

In the Words of Saint Paul, it is now time to show Charity.