Philip Tartaglia

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Philip Tartaglia
Archbishop of Glasgow
Philip Tartaglia1 (cropped).png
Tartaglia in 2013
Church Catholic Church
Diocese Glasgow
Appointed 24 July 2012 (2012-07-24)
Installed 8 September 2012 (2012-09-08)
Predecessor Mario Conti
Other posts President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland
Ordination 30 June 1975
by Thomas Winning
Consecration 20 November 2005
by Mario Joseph Conti[1]
Personal details
Birth name Philip Tartaglia
Born (1951-01-11) 11 January 1951 (age 69)
Glasgow,  Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Denomination Catholic
Parents Guido and Annita Tartaglia
Previous post
  • Rector of Pontifical Scots College
  • Bishop of Paisley
Motto Da Robur, Fer Auxilium "Thine aid supply, thy strength bestow"
Coat of arms Philip Tartaglia's coat of arms
Styles of
Philip Tartaglia
Coat of arms of Philip Tartaglia.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Grace
Religious style Archbishop

Philip Tartaglia (born 11 January 1951) is the Metropolitan Archbishop of Glasgow and the 40th successor of Saint Mungo. He is the eighth Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow since the re-establishment of the hierarchy in 1878 following the Reformation. He was installed on 8 September 2012, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He has been described as a conservative in religious and moral issues.[2] He was previously the fourth Bishop of Paisley, a post to which he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on 13 September 2005. With the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien due to inappropriate and predatory sexual conduct in 2013, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Tartaglia as the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh on 27 February 2013.[3]

Early life

Philip Tartaglia was born in Glasgow, the eldest son of Guido and Annita Tartaglia, and has three brothers and five sisters. He is of Italian descent.[4] After his primary schooling at St Thomas’, Riddrie, he began his secondary education at St. Mungo's Academy, Glasgow, before moving to the national junior seminary at St Vincent’s College, Langbank and, later, St Mary’s College, Blairs, near Aberdeen. His ecclesiastical studies were completed at the Pontifical Scots College, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.


Tartaglia was ordained priest by Archbishop Thomas Winning at the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Dennistoun on 30 June 1975. He then returned to Rome where he completed his ordinary course of studies in 1976 before beginning research for his doctorate in Sacred Theology. In 1978 he was additionally appointed as dean of studies at the Scots College in Rome, and was also acting vice-rector at that time.

After obtaining his STD degree in 1980, on the Council of Trent's teaching on the Eucharist, he was appointed assistant priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, Cardonald, while at the same time becoming an extramural lecturer at St. Peter's College, Newlands, Glasgow.

A year later, he was appointed lecturer at St. Peter's College, becoming director of studies in 1983. When Chesters College, Bearsden, opened in 1985 he was made vice-rector. In 1987 he was appointed rector.

He served as rector until 1993 when he was sent to St. Patrick's, Dumbarton, as assistant priest before being appointed parish priest of St Mary's, Duntocher in 1995. In 2004 the Bishops' Conference of Scotland asked him to return to seminary as rector of the Pontifical Scots College, Rome.


On 13 September 2005, Pope Benedict XVI nominated Tartaglia as Bishop of Paisley. On 20 November 2005 the Solemnity of Christ the King, he was consecrated in St Mirin's Cathedral by Archbishop Mario Conti. The co-consecrating bishops were Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke of St Louis, Missouri (United States) and Bishop John Mone, Emeritus Bishop of Paisley.

In 2006 he attracted controversy for attacking UK law relating to the family. He outlined his opinion that the Family Law Act 1996, which made divorce quicker and easier, civil partnership legislation giving homosexual relationships legal status, and the Gender Recognition Act, allowing people to change their gender designation, undermined the family in society: "Unfortunately, in our times, the minds of many have been so darkened by hubris and by the selfish pursuit of their own gratification that they have lost sight of the natural law which God has written into his creation...".[5] He reiterated this in 2010 when he wrote to David Cameron to insist that "the Catholic Church will not register civil partnerships nor celebrate same-sex unions: not now, not in the future, not ever, no matter what legislation or regulations your government enacts or endorses."[6] He also criticised the UK government's decision to upgrade its nuclear weapons capability.

In 2008, as president of the National Communications Commission of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, he wrote to every parish in Scotland decrying the media for pushing a “secular and humanistic agenda”. Arguing his belief that "over two thirds" of Scots are actually Christians, and that the proportion of people who work the media does not reflect this, leading to a "fundamental disconnection between the provider and the consumer".[citation needed]

In 2008 Tartaglia was mooted by some commentators as a possible successor to the see of Westminster, albeit with an outside chance. In the event the new appointee was Archbishop Vincent Nichols.[2]

On 24 July 2012 the Holy See announced the appointment of Tartaglia as Archbishop of Glasgow to succeed Archbishop Mario Conti. He took possession of the diocese on 8 September 2012, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On 29 June 2013, Tartaglia received the pallium from Pope Francis at a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, on the liturgical Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

Comments on homosexuality

In April 2012 he participated in a conference on religious freedom and tolerance, held at Oxford University. In response to a point made by a member of the audience, Tartaglia raised the death of "a gay Catholic MP who died at the age of 44", a likely reference to David Cairns, whose death from pancreatitis he claimed was potentially due to his sexuality. He went on to imply that the connection was being avoided, saying "...nobody said anything...and why his body should just shut down at that age, obviously he could have had a disease which would have killed anyone, but you seem to hear so many stories about this kind of thing, but society won't address it".[7] Cairns's partner Dermot Kehoe criticised him for making a claim for which was contradicted by the medical evidence, and for adding to the grief suffered by the family of the deceased, accused Tartaglia of prejudice, homophobia and ignorance and called for him to apologise.[8]

Comments on sex abuse

In August 2015, Tartaglia commented at a Mass:

The Catholic Bishops of Scotland are shamed and pained by what you have suffered. We say sorry. We ask forgiveness. We apologise to those who have found church reaction slow, unsympathetic or uncaring and we reach out to them as we take up the recommendations of the McLellan Commission.[9]

Coat of arms

Tartaglia's arms are an allusion to the miracle of the loaves and fishes as recounted in the Gospel of Saint John. The two apostles Philip and Andrew are singled out by name in this account. The two fish which are crossed in saltire in reference to the cross of St Andrew are surrounded by five barley loaves. One fish has a gold ring in its mouth. This refers to the legend of St Mungo and is featured in Glasgow’s civic and ecclesiastical heraldry since the sixteenth century. This addition alludes to the fact that Philip Tartaglia is a Glaswegian by birth, that he is a former pupil of St Mungo's Academy and is an ordained priest of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

Conforming to heraldic rules, the colours that feature in the arms – green, white and red – correspond to the Italian Tricolour, in reference to the bishop’s family origins and to the years spent in Rome at the Pontifical Scots College, first as an undergraduate and post-graduate student, from 1969 to 1980, and ultimately as rector from May 2004 until November 2005, when he was ordained bishop.

Tartaglia's motto, taken from the Latin hymn O Salutaris Hostia by St Thomas Aquinas, is Da Robur, Fer Auxilium ("Thine aid supply, thy strength bestow").[10]


  1. ^ "Archbishop Philip Tartaglia". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". 13 March 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  3. ^ Deveney, Catherine (18 May 2013). "Three months on, a cardinal is banished but his church is still in denial". Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via The Guardian.
  4. ^ "The pillars of family and the Faith - SCO News". Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Bishop lays down the law to Labour", p. 3, The Catholic Times, 15 October 2006.
  6. ^ Writer, Staff. "Catholic Church will 'never' recognise gay marriage, bishop tells Cameron". Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  7. ^ "BBC News - Archbishop Philip Tartaglia's gay MP remark 'adds to family's grief'". Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Scotland to allow gay marriage as bishop accused of homophobia". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  9. ^ Deveney, Catherine (23 August 2015). "Why this apology from the Scottish Catholic church rings hollow to me". Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via The Guardian.
  10. ^ "Coat of Arms". Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Mone
Bishop of Paisley
Succeeded by
John Keenan
Preceded by
Mario Conti
Archbishop of Glasgow
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