BY Daniel Harkins | June 7 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Book explores Celtic’s Catholic roots

A Glasgow priest celebrated Celtic FC’s Catholic roots and contribution to combating poverty as a new book featuring a number of contributions from the Church was launched at the football giant’s Parkhead stadium.

Canon Tom White, parish priest of St Mary’s Church where the club was founded, spoke as Celtic Minded 4, part of long running series of intellectual thinking on the European Cup winners, was launched in Celtic Park’s Jock Stein lounge on Wednesday May 29.

The book is edited by academic Dr Joseph Bradley and includes contributions from Canon White, Peter Kearney, spokesperson for the Scottish Bishops’ Conference, Dr Roisín Coll, director of the St Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic Teacher Education, and Bob Davis, professor of religious and cultural education at the St Andrew’s Foundation.



Chapters in the book explore such topics as ‘“No more Catholics left”: the acceptable form of racism in Scottish society,’ and ‘Celtic, Faith & Brother Walfrid.’

Speaking at the launch, Canon White joked that with their treble cup win this year Celtic was ‘retuning to its mother: the Church.’

“The most sacred time in the Catholic liturgy is indicated by the ringing of bells, from a time when people didn’t understand the Latin—and the most sacred point, the consecration, is denoted by three of threes,” he joked.



Canon White, who was attacked last year outside his church as an Orange walk paraded past, said his chapter would have been stronger if written after the event.

“Perhaps my article would have been more robust if the events that happened to me in the Calton last year had happened prior to my contribution, when the best response of Police Scotland to me and my parishioners is that ‘we will ensure that you are intimated in a safe and orderly manner,’” he said.

The priest, whose chapter looks at the relationship between Faith and football, also spoke about how the ‘association and the roots of Celtic and its response to poverty in an immigrant community is very important.’



Br Walfrid, he said, was responding to poverty in the Calton with the foundation of the club, an extreme poverty that still exists today.

Dr Coll and Professor Davis spoke about their chapter that looks at why ‘to be Celtic is to be European.’

Dr Coll said: “Yes, [Celtic fans] have unforgettable memories of Lisbon and Seville, but [our chapter] also highlights our deep historical and cultural roots.

“From the origin of this great club, Celtic fans have had a connection with Europe, including those who have never held a passport.

“Therefore [there is] an international dimension to [the club’s] existence: the pull of Rome and Dublin have always been significant part of Celtic fans’ identity.

“And places like Lourdes and Fatima and the saints and religious figures, including the founder of the club, further demonstrate this European connection.”

Celtic Minded 4 is priced £11.99 and is available from Argyll Publishing. Tel 01369 820345 for details or visit

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