– A 12 year-old boy has been charged with threatening and abusive behavior following an incident on Tuesday at a Catholic Church in Scotland.
A “gang of youths” threw raw eggs and hurled “anti-Catholic abuse” at Father Kevin Dow and his parishioners outside St. John and St. Columba’s Church in Rosyth, 14 miles northwest of Edinburgh, as the churchgoers were leaving Mass the evening of Jan. 17.
Local media report witnesses said about 10 children around age 12 were involved in the incident, which is being treated by authorities as a hate crime. Scottish police said they responded to the complaints and that investigation is ongoing.
People with additional information have been encouraged to contact the authorities.
“It’s dreadfully sad that in today’s Scotland we still have young people who seem to be brought up or encouraged from elsewhere to be anti-Catholic and to do so in an open, intimidating and violent way,” Dow said following the attack.
There have been several similar incidents in Scotland in recent years.
In July 2016 young people shouted anti-Catholic chants at a visiting priest in Broxburn, west of Edinburgh.
And in May 2015, a parish in Livingson, also west of Edinburgh, was extensively spray-painted with anti-Catholic graffiti.
Scotland has experienced significant sectarian division since the Scottish Reformation of the 16th century, which led to the formation of the Church of Scotland, an ecclesial community in the Calvinist and Presbyterian tradition which is the country’s largest religious community.
When the moderator of the Church of Scotland, John Chalmers, met with Pope Francis in February 2015, he told CNA that such an encounter “means almost the end of that sectarian divide.”