Parish­ioners call for re­turn of priest

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Kenny Smith

Parish­ioners at St Bride’s Parish Church are urg­ing the Bishop of Mother­well to let Fa­ther Paul Morton re­turn.

The Re­former has been in­un­dated with mes­sagers of sup­port for Fr Morton, af­ter po­lice ended their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an al­le­ga­tion of an his­toric in­ci­dent of sex­ual abuse with­out charge.

And they are united in their joy, as well as want­ing the priest to re­turn to St Bride’s, where he has been based since 2000.

Fr Morton has al­ways been popular with his parish­ioners. Af­ter he pre­vi­ously took a sab­bat­i­cal from St Bride’s, a pe­ti­tion was sent to the Bishop of Mother­well re­quest­ing Fr Morton re­turn to St Bride’s.

Fr Morton left the parish late last Septem­ber when the ac­cu­sa­tion was first brought to the po­lice, be­fore the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was ended on April 30. At the time, Bishop Joseph Toal asked parish­ioners to pray for their priest - but they were given no ex­pla­na­tion about his ab­sence.

A spokesman for the Dio­cese of Mother­well said: “Bishop Toal met with Fr Morton and learned that the po­lice had found no ev­i­dence to cor­rob­o­rate the al­le­ga­tions made against him.

“They had, there­fore, con­cluded their in­ves­ti­ga­tion and will not be bring­ing charges nor re­fer­ring the case to the procu­ra­tor fis­cal. This in­for­ma­tion has now been con­firmed to the Dio­cese by the po­lice.”

Af­ter the Re­former re­vealed the news last week, our Face­book page has been packed with mes­sages of joy.

A de­lighted Siob­han Pater­son said: “Fr Morton is our parish priest and we pray he will be re­turn­ing to us. I, for one, will be ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed in the Dio­cese of Mother­well if they do not re­in­state Fa­ther to our parish and will cer­tainly, with oth­ers, take all con­cerns to the Bishop.

“Fa­ther has done noth­ing wrong, he should be al­lowed to re­turn to his home now and when he is ready.

“Fr Paul Morton is an up­stand­ing mem­ber of the com­mu­nity of Cam­bus­lang and be­yond. Mes­sages of sup­port have come from near, far and across many walks of life and reli­gion which is tes­ta­ment to the type of man/priest he is. Bishop Toal asks for pa­tience. We have been pa­tient since Oc­to­ber 2014 when Bishop Toal came to our parish to tell us this dev­as­tat­ing news. I have watched our parish be­come a shadow of its for­mer self.

“We will con­tinue to pray for Fr Morton till he is back where he be­longs.

“We have stood by Fr Morton and have never doubted him. God bless him.”

Karen Gal­loway added: “We will do ev­ery­thing in our power to get Fa­ther Morton back where he be­longs. He knows the peo­ple who backed him 100 per cent, he knows who he can trust and feel safe with.

“The Bishop re­ally has no right to keep him away from his parish, he is in­no­cent. He ripped our priest out of our parish with no ex­pla­na­tion, no sup­port was of­fered to the parish­ioners ei­ther. He has had eight months to de­cide what he would do when Fa­ther was proven in­no­cent - he is drag­ging his heels. Fr Morton should be back where he be­longs, when Fa­ther feels the time is right to come home to us. We aren’t go­ing away nor will we give up!”

Fiona Pit­cath­ley agreed, say­ing: “Fr Morton is the kind­est and most ded­i­cated of priests. He will be wel­comed back with open arms.

“In time, I hope he can begin to rebuild his life af­ter what can only be de­scribed as a tor­tur­ous or­deal.”

And Bev­er­ley Owens said: “I was elated when I heard this news. Fr Morton is the kind­est and most car­ing per­son that I know. He has a warm and gen­er­ous heart. I have never and would never ever doubt him.”

And an­other parish­ioner, Maryann Stil­lie McGee, felt : “It’s time Fa­ther was back home and what a wel­come he will re­ceive.”

A de­lighted Mon­ica Wat­son said: “The truth wins through! What a price to pay. It will have taken its toll on a good man. Very best wishes and I am sure the parish will up­lift and heal him”, while Lynne James-McGonigle added: “De­lighted at the news - never doubted him.

“I said to my chil­dren we might be get­ting Fa­ther Morton back, and my six-year-old’s re­ply was ‘ Yippee, ya dancer’.”

Veron­ica Wil­liamson agreed: “So glad about this news. I only hope he re­cov­ers from the ac­cu­sa­tion .

“He must have went through hell all th­ese months. I don’t think that he will be al­lowed back to St Bride’s - they will prob­a­bly move him to an­other parish which will be sad. St Bride’s parish­ioners should all fight to get him back if this hap­pens.”

Fr Morton is popular out­with the church too.

Martina McDer­mott added: “Fa­ther Morton - what a lovely man. He would al­ways stop for a chat. I am not a Catholic, but I never be­lieved for a sec­ond that this kind and gen­tle man did any­thing wrong. I hope the parish­ioners at St Bride’s get Fa­ther Morton back.”

And Davy Robert­son O’Neil agreed: “The man should get his job back right away.”

Re­turn St Bride’s parish­ioners are call­ing on the Bishop of Mother­well to al­low Fa­ther Paul Morton to re­turn to their church

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.