Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Catholics at Scottish Universities

Here is my article about Catholics at Scottish universities for the Scottish Catholic Observer. Critics may shout that it is too focused on "the Central Belt" (i.e. Glasgow and Edinburgh), but I tried other universities and they didn't get back to me.

This is part of a series I am doing on the different faith communities within the Catholic Church in Scotland. I began with the Ukrainians, and then spoke to university students. Next I interviewed a very kind Syro-Malabar priest about his community, and then I talked to some Poles.

Next up are the traddies, and I would like to emphasize that most of these are all very overlapping groups. For example, there are Poles in Scottish university chaplaincy, and there are Polish trads, and Poles go to English Mass, and there are trads beside me who go to Polish Mass and also to English Mass on occasion.

I haven't met anyone so far who wanted to stay in his or her own little liturgical or national bubble. The Syro-Malabar priest spends half his day ministering to English-speaking Scots in the Latin Rite, and half ministering to his fellow Indian Syro-Malabars. One of the Ukrainian Catholics I interviewed was actually Latvian!

It's been a very interesting project so far, and all this diversity is a nice change from thinking about nationalism.

I should point out to everyone who is shocked senseless by my interest in nationalism that I am not a particularly obsessed with my own nation. I am of mixed ethnicity and from a city of which only 50% of inhabitants were born in Canada, let alone the city itself. My joy in being a fourth generation Torontonian is rather tempered by the ongoing physical destruction of the Toronto I grew up in, never mind the Toronto my British great-grandparents knew. This is one reason why it is quite nice to be married to someone whose identity is 100% Scottish and helps preserve Scottish architecture for the nation. The big drawback, however, is that he loves his country too much to emigrate to Canada. Well, I respect that.

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