Ban on Catholics in high office: prejudice not pukka

Ambassador Francis Campbell

IT COMES as no surprise, given his own conversion to Catholicism in recent years, that former Prime Minister Tony Blair saw the policy to appoint only non-Catholics as British Ambassadors to the Holy See as ‘ridiculous’.
Catholics in Scotland have, for generations, faced prejudice and discrimination in the workplace however this takes not only the biscuit but the entire high tea table, complete with the cucumber sandwiches and sponge cake. This is the 21st century not colonial times.
The assumption that a practicing Catholic would have too much reverence for the Pope to do their job is beyond offensive. Heaven forbid that Britain would actually send someone who had a decent grasp of ‘local culture’ and ‘the lay of the land’ to a diplomatic mission. What next, a Muslim representative to a Muslim nation, a Mandarin speaker to China? Before you know it people with relevant skills and understanding will actually infiltrate our diplomatic service on merit rather than purely on patronage, upsetting the social order, and then where would we be?
No wonder the Civil Service threw all its toys out of the cot at Mr Blair’s favourite for the post, Francis Campbell, who was appointed as British ambassador to the Holy See in 2005 thus becoming the first Catholic to hold the post since the Protestant Reformation.
The trouble in overturning of the 90-year-old ban barring Catholics from becoming British Ambassador to the Vatican came to light in BBC Northern Ireland’s programme Our Man In The Vatican, focusing on Mr Campbell.
The three part series begins on BBC1 Northern Ireland on Wednesday at 10.45pm.


3 Responses to “Ban on Catholics in high office: prejudice not pukka”

  1. berenike Says:

    Well, he would think it silly, given his (and his wife’s) ability to combine thinking of themselves as practising Catholics with ignoring not just the Pope as such, but also the teaching of the Church.

    I don’t think Not Being Appointed Ambassador to the Holy See is the first of any Scottish Catholic’s worries!

  2. Jill McGuire Says:

    Religious discrimination should be at the forefront of every Scottish Catholic’s mind numpty, especially when it is enshrined in employment policy at the highest level. How can we condemn it on the shop floor while tolerating it in government?

  3. Liz Leydon Says:

    Both valid points, no ‘numpties’ in this exchange.

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