Immigrants and religious conflict italian lithuanian and polish catholics in scotland
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Immigrants and Religious Conflict (Italian, Lithuanian and Polish Catholics in Scotland). Stephen J. McKinney, Lecturer, Department of Religious Education Faculty of Education University of Glasgow. Tolerance / inclusion within religions or denominations .

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Immigrants and religious conflict italian lithuanian and polish catholics in scotland

Immigrants and Religious Conflict(Italian, Lithuanian and Polish Catholics in Scotland).

Stephen J. McKinney, Lecturer,Department of Religious EducationFaculty of EducationUniversity of Glasgow

Tolerance inclusion within religions or denominations
Tolerance / inclusion within religions or denominations

  • Increasing awareness of importance of (multiple) ethnic and cultural identity, but emerging awareness that religious identities are equally important and complex.

  • Are religions/denominations genuinely inclusive within themselves -

    Tolerant of the variety of internal traditions/identities?

  • There can be different insider voices representing a variety of traditions/identities within a religious group.

  • Competing? Dominant voices?

  • Which tradition holds the power?

  • Who makes decisions for a religious group?

  • Who speaks for a religious group?

  • Which religious traditions/identities are represented in the public forum?

Immigrants to scotland between the 18th and 20th centuries
Immigrants to Scotland between the 18th and 20th centuries denominations

  • Irish

  • Jews

  • Asian

  • Italians

  • Lithuanians

  • Poles

Irish catholic
Irish Catholic denominations

  • Vast majority of Catholics in contemporary Scotland are descended from large scale Irish Catholic immigration in the nineteenth century.

  • The Irish Catholics constitute the largest single group The history and impact of this particular group have been explored in some depth:

  • Arrival of Irish Catholics and hostile response of local populace and Scottish establishment

  • Employment opportunities and the socio-economic progress of the Irish Catholics Bigotry and sectarianism

  • Catholic schooling

  • Contemporary relation of Catholic community and wider Scottish community

  • Possible futures for this Catholic community

    (Boyle and Lynch 1998; Bradley 1995, 1998, 2000; Conroy 2001, 2002; Devine, 1991, 1999; Finn 1999, 2000, 2003; Gallagher 1987, 1991; Handley, 1945, 1947; McKinney, 2004).

Insider accounts
Insider Accounts denominations

  • Someone who writes about a particular group but also identifies, partially or completely, with the aims, objectives and views of that group.

  • Often the only people who have the interest and impetus to write about the particular group in any depth – the group may have been treated in a superficial, perfunctory or distorted way in ‘official’ histories(De Vos, 1995, p.17).

    We are also witnessing a revolution in the recording of social and cultural history. Today’s ethnic minorities are not content to remain mute; they too, seek to be heard. The defeated and the oppressed, now literate, are themselves contributing their interpretations to the writing or rewriting of history, adding their own and, where facts fail, creating or deepening their own sustaining mythologies (De Vos, 1995, p.16).

Insider account is problematic
Insider Account is Problematic denominations

  • Can lack a critical edge

  • Can fail to have a broader perspective

  • Can be defensive

  • Can exaggerate or even minimize difficulties encountered by the group

  • Can champion the group or champion factions or certain perspectives within the group

  • Insider accounts are more likely to discuss challenges faced by the group, rather than challenges caused by the group

  • Tendency to be less critical when evaluating commonly held assumptions within the group and the views of fellow insiders.

Advantages of insider accounts
Advantages of Insider Accounts denominations

  • provide a fuller account of the origins and development of immigrant groups

  • Based on a more thorough examination of original documentary sources and secondary sources

  • Increasingly, include analysis of collections of oral histories - the insider status provides ease of access for obtaining oral histories.

Italians lithuanians and poles
Italians, Lithuanians and Poles denominations

  • The Italians, Lithuanians and Poles examined mainly from insider accounts.

  • Italians (Rossi, 1991, Colpi, 1991; Pieri, 1997, Ugolini, 2000)

  • Lithuanians (Miller, real name: Stepsis 1998; O’Donnell, 1998, 2000)

  • Poles (Ziarski-Kernberg, 2000)

Sectarianism denominations

  • These were relatively small groups, but all shared the Catholicism of the Irish Catholic immigrants and all were to experience hostility and vehement sectarianism in Scotland, some of which has only recently been disclosed

Sectarianism denominations

  • Sectarianism, according to Leichty and Clegg (2001) is:

    Sectarianism… is a distorted expression of good things – the need for identity and belonging, and for the freedom to be different. Sectarianism…is a complex of attitudes, actions, beliefs and structures, at personal, communal and institutional levels, which always involves religion, and typically involves a negative mixing of religion and politics. It arises as a distorted expression of positive human needs, especially for belonging, identity and the free expression of difference and is expressed in destructive patterns of relating: hardening the boundaries between groups; overlooking others; belittling, dehumanising, or demonising others; justifying or collaborating in the domination of others; physically intimidating or attacking others (Leichty and Clegg, in Gorrie, 2001).

Sectarianism denominations

  • In Scotland the term is most frequently used to refer to tension between Catholics and Protestants (Finn, 1999, pp.869-870, 2003, p.904).

The roots of sectarianism in scotland
The Roots of Sectarianism in Scotland denominations

  • Arrival of a large number of Irish Catholics in the mid-late nineteenth century.

  • Escaping famines and subsequent deprivation and destitution (Collins, 1991, pp.1-11).

  • Gathered in the industrial cities and towns seeking employment and competing with the local population for jobs (Devine, 1999, pp.487-488).

  • They arrived in large numbers to already dangerously over populated areas (O’Tuathaigh, 1985, p.21).

  • They arrived in Scotland resentful and suspicious that the British authorities had not provided properly organised relief schemes in Ireland (Foster, 1988, pp.318-344).

  • The Irish Catholic immigrants appeared to present a threat to the Presbyterian tradition of Scotland (Gallagher, 1991, p.34). .

  • Church of Scotland, in the absence of a Scottish parliament (after the union of crowns of 1707), had become strong focus for Scottish identity and was perceived by the Scots and by outsiders as the ‘embodiment of Scottishness’ (Robbins, 2000, p.252).

Sectarianism denominations

  • The incorporation of Catholic schools into the state education system in 1918 provided a public and visible focus for sectarianism (Bruce, 1985, pp.43-44).

  • Large numbers of Irish Catholic (or immediate descendants) employed, almost exclusively, in heavy industry and manufacturing.

  • The depression proved a catalyst for concerted sectarianism as ‘foreign’ Irish Catholic workers were used as scapegoats for the economic ills besetting society.

  • Racist and sectarian activists like White and Cormack (Brown, 1991, Kelly, 2003). Early 1950’s, a Church of Scotland report articulated concerns about the ‘menace’ of the Catholics of ‘alien’ origin (Kelly 2003).

  • Ecumenical movement in Scotland in the 1960’s brought an end to any explicit sectarian or anti-catholic discourse in the institutional Church of Scotland (Brown, 2000, pp.275-281).

The lithuanians
The Lithuanians denominations

  • Arrived between 1880 and 1914

  • Fleeing from poverty and cultural and religious suppression by the Russians

  • About 7,000 in 1914

  • They settled and worked in the mining areas, especially Ayrshire and Lanarkshire

  • They formed a vibrant and colourful community

External struggles two perspectives
External Struggles: two perspectives denominations

  • (Maan (1992, pp.30-32) acknowledges that the Lithuanians experienced hostility on their arrival and as they settled in, but ultimately:

    Being of the same faith and the same colour of skin, there were no strong barriers between the Scottish and Lithuanian peoples (Maan, 1992, p.31).

External struggles two perspectives1
External Struggles: two perspectives denominations

  • Miller’s (p.70) account, however, contrasts with Maan’s statement. Miller states that their Catholic faith and foreign origin meant that Lithuanians were often discriminated against:

    Probably the main thing they brought with them was their religion. To the Calvinistic Presbyterian country of Scotland they brought and diligently pursued the Roman Catholic faith. The traditional religious bigotry, particularly in the west of Scotland, meant that there were two reasons why the Lithuanians suffered ostracism and prejudice: a) they were foreigners, and b) they were catholic. Having suffered almost a century of Russian persecution this treatment was nothing new to them and they persevered in practicing their faith…(Miller, 1998, p.70)

External struggles
External struggles denominations

  • James Keir Hardie, the influential Socialist leader, often spoke publicly and vehemently against the Lithuanians, perceiving them as a threat to local employment (Reid, 1978, p.122, Miller, 1998, pp.23-24

  • Later, in the economic crisis of the 1930’s, when Scottish society sought to blame the continued presence of immigrant workers, however long established, for widespread economic depression, many Lithuanian men changed their names and concealed their ethnic identity to gain employment.

Internal struggles
Internal struggles denominations

  • The Lithuanian struggle to gain acceptance in the work place was mirrored in their struggle to retain their own cultural expression of Catholicism within a predominantly ‘Irish’ Catholic church (O’Donnell, 1998, 2000)

  • In 1898 Lithuanian priest, resided in a parish in the Archdiocese ofGlasgow and ministered to the widespread Lithuanian settlements (1998, pp. 171-175).

  • This was funded by the Lithuanians themselves. They paid church dues twice

Internal struggles1
Internal struggles denominations

  • The priests helped retain a sense of Lithuanian identity – the services celebrated in Lithuanian combined with the language classes helped to promote the language.

  • The Lithuanians petitioned for a Lithuanian Church in Bellshill – a request which was refused on a number of grounds

  • The Lithuanians were small in number and not perceived as a permanent community;

  • The Archdiocese of Glasgow may have regarded the Lithuanians as a threat to unity (1998, pp.176-183).

Lithuanian denominations

  • O‘Donnell suggests that a Lithuanian church would have helped preserve language, culture and identity:

  • …it seems fairly obvious that the institutional Catholic Church in the West of Scotland had little sympathy for the ethnic aspirations and outlook of the Lithuanians.

    …The diocesan authorities were willing to allow and assist in organizing a supply of chaplains for the community. However, for reasons that had largely to do with the position of the Catholic Church in Scotland, they were not willing to accept that the community had any need, or right, to have its own church or parish. To the extent that a national Church was perhaps essential to such a small community if its culture was to thrive, it can be argued that the policy of the Glasgow Archdiocese was of key importance in the process of Lithuanian assimilation (O’Donnell, 1998, p.183)

Assimilation denominations

  • This assimilation was hastened in the inter war years

  • Break-up of the traditional mining communities, including Lithuanian communities,

  • Dispersal to new housing - the relatively small numbers of Lithuanian families found themselves isolated from each other

  • Marriage outside the community became common (Miller, 1998, p.138).

  • Lithuanian language, preserved mainly as a ‘spoken’ language, became obsolete (Boyd, 1983, pp.32-34).

Assimilation denominations

  • O’Donnell comments:

    As Scotland enters the twenty first century, the Lithuanian community, first established here around a century ago, has been largely assimilated into the general Scottish community (O’Donnell, 2000, p.185)

  • Miller, an elderly member of the Lithuanian community, predicted in 1998, that with the passing of his generation, the Lithuanian community and culture in Scotland will disappear (1998, p.150).

Discussion denominations

  • The development of insider accounts has provided a voice for immigrant groups and alternative perspectives on Scottish social history from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

  • The writers of Irish Catholic descent have staked a claim in Scottish history for their group and have sought to redress some of the recorded historical inaccuracies and imbalance.

  • The writers of Lithuanian, Italian and polish descent have also staked a claim in Scottish history for their groups and have sought to establish the historical contribution of these groups to Scotland.

  • The history of the Irish Catholic community in Scotland is scarred by incidences of sectarianism,

  • The other three immigrant groups have also faced hostility and sectarianism at some point in the history of their presence in Scotland

Discussion denominations

  • It has also emerged that the Italians and the Lithuanians did not always have a comfortable relationship with the larger wider Catholic community of Irish descent.

  • The growth of the post reformation Catholic community in Scotland has been dominated by a particular ethnic-cultural form of Catholicism. The ‘Irishness’ and ‘Catholicity’ of this larger immigrant group alienated the Scottish population and these identifying features were to be the source of tension and conflict. This tension and conflict helped to provide the impetus for the self preservation and maintenance of Irish Catholics but possibly precluded the inclusion of other cultural forms of Catholicism – a drive for conformity rather than pluriformity, resulting in a form of ‘cultural imperialism’ (Grace, 2002, p.7). O’Donnell and Colpi suggest that this is probably true for the Lithuanians and the Italians. The Poles appear to have fared better in more recent times as a result of more inclusive attitudes.

Discussion denominations

  • The Irish Catholic account has often been perceived to be synonymous with the account of Catholics in Scotland

  • One type of insider voice has dominated

  • Academic research has paralleled this dominance

  • Other insider voices are weakened, at times, silenced.

  • The traditions/identities these voices represent can be weakened

  • Intolerance can be as destructive within a religion or religious denomination as between religions

Tolerance inclusion within religions or denominations1
Tolerance / inclusion within religions or denominations

  • Increasing awareness of importance of (multiple) ethnic and cultural identity, but emerging awareness that religious identities are equally important and complex.

  • Are religions/denominations genuinely inclusive within themselves -

    Tolerant of the variety of internal traditions/identities?

  • There can be different insider voices representing a variety of traditions/identities within a religious group.

  • Competing? Dominant voices?

  • Which tradition holds the power?

  • Who makes decisions for a religious group?

  • Who speaks for a religious group?

  • Which religious traditions/identities are represented in the public forum?