Archbishop 'saddened' by marginalisation of Catholics in Scotland

New figures from the Crown Office point to a rise in hate crimes against Catholics in Scotland.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, has called for a "public acknowledgement of the extent of anti-Catholicism" in Scotland following the release of the figures this week.

The Crown Office report shows an increase in religious hate crimes by 26% in the past year, with 876 religious aggravation charges occurring between 2011 and 2012.

Catholics accounted for the highest proportion of victims, with 509 of the recorded offences (58.1%) being directed against them.

The number of Catholics experiencing a religious hate crime is higher than for all other religious groups combined.

Archbishop Tartaglia said he was "saddened" by the latest figures.

"While most Catholics are safe most of the time, these figures show a side of Scotland which is truly unfortunate," he said.

"Sadly, it seems incontrovertible nowthat our problem is not so much sectarianism but anti-Catholicism.

"This is regrettable because popular culture is inventing all kinds of new reasons to
marginalise and hate Catholics.

"In the face of this, the Catholic community of Scotland remains steadfast in faith, joyful in hope and fully committed to being part of Scottish society."