I am happy that, if it is the wish of the people, Scotland becomes an independent country. […] The people and the Members of the Scottish Parliament have increased control but not all the power they would wish for. I have just been involved in a protest against nuclear weapons, many of which are based here, and the people ask ‘why are we not able to say what we want in Scotland?’
The independence of the RC Church in Scotland has been recognised since the restoration of the hierarchy in 1878, and there is that same rugged desire for independence in the Scottish Church. Many, many Catholics are annoyed when they are told, mistakenly, by the press that the Cardinal in Westminster is the head of the Catholic Church in Britain – or, even worse, of the United Kingdom.
I would also say, with respect, that the Catholic leadership in England is almost part of the establishment, whereas we are not, and don’t particularly want to be. We value our independence and can take a legitimate swipe at the establishment, for example, with regard to the Act of Settlement, or over Trident. The English Bishops have not yet spoken about this; and I was delighted to get a letter from Cardinal Martino, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, praising the statement of the Scottish bishops’ conference saying that this reflected the teaching of the Church.
In Scotland we say, this is what we think, and with due respect to the Queen or the Prime Minister, we don’t care whether they like it or not.