The rise and fall of anti-Catholicism in Scotland

Thomas Devine, Michael Rosie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Recent reports of religious ‘hate crime’ against Catholics in Scotland have heightened social anxieties – yet such claims are unconvincing when a broader historical and sociological view is taken. Whilst anti-Catholicism was one key marker of Scottish Protestantism for several centuries after the Reformation, in more modern times it declined rapidly and significantly. Few Scots now have the desire, nor the wherewithal, to undertake sectarian discrimination. In this chapter we review the historical decline of anti-Catholicism and examine some of the (now substantial) evidence on religion in the social structure and in social experience. These suggest a Catholic community now firmly in the mainstream of Scottish life – and an anti-Catholicism firmly at the margins.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnti-Catholicism in Britain and Ireland, 1600–2000
Subtitle of host publicationPractices, Representations and Ideas
EditorsClaire Gheeraert-Graffeuille, Geraldine Vaughan
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783030428822
ISBN (Print)9783030428815
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameHistories of the Sacred and Secular, 1700–2000
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


  • anti-Catholicism
  • Scotland
  • social change
  • discrimination
  • integration


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