LEICESTER, United Kingdom – A Protestant fraternal organization has been ordered to reroute a march, so it doesn’t go past a Catholic Church in Glasgow where a Catholic priest was assaulted last month during a similar parade.
The Orange Order of Scotland had refused a request to voluntarily change their route to avoid St. Alphonsus Church, where a priest was spat upon and parishioners subjected to verbal abuse by spectators at an Orange Order parade on July 7.
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In the aftermath of the incident, the Orange Order cancelled their scheduled July 21 march.
The Glasgow City Council held a hearing on Thursday about the scheduled Aug. 25 parade, and refused to allow it to go by the church after police officials said it would be a security concern.
In a statement published Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Glasgow said the Orange Order showed “gross insensitivity” in refusing to change their scheduled route.
The leadership of the order claim no members of the organization were personally involved in the attack and said a representative on Thursday told the city council he “deplores the obscenity that took place.”
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After the city council made its decision, Archdiocese of Glasgow spokesman Ronald Convery told Crux he was pleased with the outcome.
“The archdiocese and Police Scotland made strong representations to the Council Committee pointing out the fears of the community and the danger of disorder. We are grateful to the Council for taking note of our concerns and the concerns of many outside the Catholic Church and acting decisively to lift a cloud of anxiety which was affecting parishioners and local residents,” the Convery said.
The Orange Order is a Protestant fraternal order based primarily in Northern Ireland, but with a strong presence in Scotland. It organizes marches during the summer months to commemorate the victory of the Dutch-born Protestant King William of Orange, who defeated the army of the deposed Catholic King James II to secure the thrones of England, Ireland and Scotland at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland on July 1, 1690.
The marches are often a source of sectarian clashes between Protestants and Catholics in both Northern Ireland and Scotland, especially when they go through Catholic neighborhoods or by Catholic churches.