His Eminence has been given some prominence for his recent outburst over the Scottish Executive's sexual health strategy. But when the Church voice has to be heard, he is happy to give it full throttle.
Full and warm tribute was paid to the cardinal by the head of St Ninian's primary in Edinburgh, Helen Massaro, the heidies' president. As an east coaster, she shares a diocese with the cardinal and some personal history.
A tad younger, she turned to the great man and smiled: "I remember you as a little girl."
"He's changed a lot then," quipped a colleague.