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News we like to hear.

Up to half the Catholic churches across swathes of Scotland face the prospect of closure as another diocese warns of a crisis of clergy numbers and falling congregations.

The Diocese of Galloway has released figures showing the number of priests has more than halved since 1990, with the fall in churchgoers nearly as steep. The number of regular Catholic church-goers in the Galloway diocese has dropped by half since 1990 while the number of priests has fallen from 55 to 23.  Across the diocese, which covers most of south west Scotland, there is currently one priest for every two churches.

A similar tale is to be told in the Netherlands. One of the Catholic bishops of the Netherlands, told Vatican Radio they are facing the closure of hundreds of churches and an ongoing exodus of the faithful. “The number of practicing Catholics is diminishing very quickly,” Willem Jacobus Eijk Cardinal and Archbishop of Utrecht and chairman of the Dutch bishops’ conference said. “In the 1950s 90 percent…

Give the Orange Lodge their marching orders!

 “Cathy cats eat the rats, Proddy dogs eat the frogs”

As part of the Queen's 60th Jubilee the Protestant, pro-monarchist Orange Order staged numerous parades and held street parties to commemorate the day.

The Orange Order has its origin in Ireland, where in the 18th century Protestant and Catholic farmers banded together in defense of each other in secret societies and informal militias. The structure of the Order was modeled after the Freemasons, and the name was chosen to show support for William of Orange, the man who had replaced James II in 1690. Early in their history, the Order was mostly an agrarian movement, and was not particularly popular with the gentry. They were seen as a potential problem. It was feared that they would turn on the aristocracy. This changed when the United Irishmen entered the scene in Ireland in the 1780s, with their revolutionary ideas, and posed an even greater threat to the gentry. The reality was that the Orange Order became a counter-revoluti…

Neither Orange or Green but Red

Even up to the present time, demonstrated by new laws to curtail bigotry and letter bombs mailed to the Celtic manager Neil Lennon and other Catholics, Scotland has been plagued by religious sectarianism. For many Scots "1690" and "1916" have had more resonance than "1314" or "1707". Many blame it on segregated denominational schools, some blame football supporters, the football clubs blame extremists and the extremists blame the Catholic schools, a vicious circle. Catholics make up only 16% of the Scottish population, largely descended from poor Irish immigrants, and still largely working-class. Though overwhelmingly of Irish extraction, even by 1900 most Catholics were Scottish-born. Yet they were still known as "Irish" up until around the Second World War. Despite this Scottish Catholics do not any longer largely define themselves as Irish anymore, but Irish symbolism and allegiances can still be witnessed amongst Celtic or Hibs su…

No religion too

The Humanist Society of Scotland yesterday unveiled the message that 40% of the population do not follow an organised religion. The billboard sits on Paisley Road West, near Ibrox Stadium, which is on the route of the Pope’s cavalcade.

It believes that the two million figure is an underestimate and suggests 66% of Scots are not religious.

Also see our early pamphlet Socialism and Religion

Church Business

Serve God ?
Only if there is a bonus in it .

The Vatican says it has decided to give financial rewards to employees who are doing a good job.
It says it will take into account issues such as "dedication, professionalism, productivity and correctitude" when awarding a pay rise.

It says that "this novelty brings an element of incentive and remuneration into the Vatican salary system".

The new, corporate-style incentives are likely to require some careful book-balancing, the BBC's says.

Salaries already constitute the largest drain on the Vatican's finances - and its coffers are feeling the pressure of the falling value of the US dollar,