Campaigners call for Father Morton’s return
2037 sign petition for reinstatement
Campaigners calling for the reinstatement of a Cambuslang priest who was suspended over unfounded allegations of historic sexual abuse have delivered a 2037-signature petition to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Motherwell.
Representatives of the ‘Bring Back Father Paul Morton to St Bride’s Cambuslang’ campaign handed over the petition to Father Jim Grant almost a year after the priest was removed from his home and parish following the anonymous claims.
Father Morton was cleared on any wrongdoing early this year after being falsely accused in 2014.
Many worshippers at St Bride’s now want him reinstated and have criticised the Catholic Church for dragging their heels on the issue.
There was no public reaction from Joseph Toal, the Bishop of Motherwell, who ordered the priest’s suspension in the first place. When delivering the petition to the Chancellor, campaigners again highlighted their objections to the bishop’s silence.
They say he has again refused to meet them, with no explanation.
A campaigner, who asked not to be named, said the response to the petition has been overwhelming – and Father Morton has been humbled by the support.
The spokesperson said: “In no other workplace would someone continue to be restricted following a thorough police investigation that resulted in no case to answer.
“We reach out now to Bishop Toal, that he will listen to the united voice of many and we pray that he will reinstate Father Paul Morton to the parish of St Bride’s in Cambuslang without any further delay.”
Following what his four brothers and two sisters say was an eight-month ordeal, Father Paul Morton attended Hamilton Police Office in May. And, following an interview which lasted less than an hour, all allegations against him were dismissed.
The priest’s family said in a statement the anonymous allegation had been “an unwarranted and incomprehensibly malevolent act perpetrated by a malicious individual.”
Signed by his six siblings, the statement added: “Our family wish to make clear for the public record that, with the dismissal of the allegation, Paul has been completely exonerated. His innocence, which he has maintained from the beginning, has finally been confirmed.
“We, his family, wish to affirm that the integrity of this dedicated, honest and principled man is intact and we know that his reputation will be immediately restored.”
They described Fr Morton’s “damaging and distressing ordeal” and said it had taken its toll on his “health, emotional well-being and on the very essence of his beliefs.”
They added: “Without doubt, he will go on to surmount the huge damage which has been done to his life and we know that he will continue to give honourable service with his head held high.”
No-one from the Catholic Church in Scotland was available for comment.
Ordeal Father Paul Morton