Church leaders, politicians and Celtic football club are among those who have paid tribute to the Archbishop of Glasgow following his sudden death at the age of 70.
Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, recalled the gentle, caring nature of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, while Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, admired his “pastoral sense and sharp mind”.
Bishop Gilbert said it was “with the deepest sadness” that he had learned on the Feast of St Kentigern (Mungo) of the death of his “brother bishop and friend”.
“His loss to his family, his clergy and the people of the Archdiocese of Glasgow will be immeasurable but for the entire Church in Scotland this is a day of immense loss and sadness,” he said.
“He was a gentle, caring and warm-hearted pastor who combined compassion with a piercing intellect. His contribution to the work of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland over the past 16 years was significant and we will miss his wisdom, wit and robust Catholic spirit very much.
“On behalf of the Bishops of Scotland, we commend his soul into the hands of God and pray that he may enjoy eternal rest.”
Cardinal Nichols also expressed his sorrow at the death of Archbishop Tartaglia and offered prayers.
“All of Scotland will be saddened and shocked by his death, sentiments shared throughout England and Wales, too. He, and his family, are much in our prayers.
“I have often enjoyed the warm hospitality of Archbishop Tartaglia and admired his pastoral sense and sharp mind. His leadership will be greatly missed.
“May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf were also among those who paid tribute to the archbishop.
Speaking on Wednesday 13th January, Ms Sturgeon said: “It has just been drawn to my attention that the Archbishop of Glasgow, Archbishop Tartaglia, has passed away this morning.
“I want to put on record my deep sadness at this news.”
She added in a tweet: ‘I am very sorry to hear this news. Archbishop Tartaglia was a fine man who was much loved within the Catholic community and beyond. I always valued my interactions with him and he will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with his loved ones & wider community. May he rest in peace.’
Meanwhile, Mr Yousaf expressed his deep sadness as he recalled the ‘fond memories’ he shared with the archbishop.
‘Deeply saddened to hear news of passing of Archbishop Tartaglia. Have many fond memories of conversations we shared over years. He was a regular visitor to Catholic Schools in my constituency, he spent time engaging with pupils & staff. Prayers with our Catholic community,’ he tweeted.
Elsewhere, Celtic Football Club offered their sincere condolences to the archbishop’s family and the Catholic community, as it paid tribute to its ‘huge supporter’.
‘We are saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia who was a huge supporter of the club and regularly attended matches at Celtic Park,’ the club tweeted.
‘Everyone at Celtic offers their sincere condolences to Philip’s family and Scotland’s Catholic community at this sad time.’
Archbishop Tartaglia died suddenly at his home in Glasgow on Wednesday 13th January, at the age of 70. He had tested positive for Covid-19 shortly after Christmas and was self-isolating at home. However, the cause of his death has not yet been confirmed.
The archbishop had served as leader of Scotland’s largest Catholic community since 2012.
The pope’s Ambassador to Great Britain, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti has been informed.
It will be for Pope Francis to appoint a new archbishop to succeed Archbishop Tartaglia, but until then the Archdiocese of Glasgow will be overseen by an administrator.
Picture: The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, RIP. (Scottish Catholic Media Office).