Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bishop of Galloway, John Cunningham: Scots parish boycotts Mass after whistleblower priest is dismissed

Parishioners in Scotland have boycotted Mass and withheld their offertory donations in protest at their bishop's decision to remove a priest who publicly accused another cleric of sexual abuse.

Two hundred people in the parish of St Sophia's in Galston, Ayrshire, have signed a petition accusing the Bishop of Galloway, John Cunningham, of persecuting and ostracising Fr Patrick Lawson after he issued the priest with a decree of removal last week.

Fr Lawson, who is suffering from cancer, has campaigned for nearly two decades for the Scottish hierarchy to take action against Fr Paul Moore, a retired priest who, he alleges, abused altar boys and made sexual advances towards him when he was a seminarian in the mid-1990s.

The former Bishop of Galloway, Maurice Taylor, has said that Fr Moore confessed to him that he had abused children.

He was then sent to a treatment centre in Canada. He was parish priest of St Quivox church in Prestwick in 1996.

However, a church spokesman said that Fr Moore had denied making sexual advances to Fr Lawson.

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