What was Bishop Joseph Devine thinking of, with his reported comments that homosexual teachers should not be employed in Catholic schools and should certainly not be promoted? Nine months ago, the Catholic Church published a 10-point charter that promoted "an inclusive ethos for schools, honouring the life, dignity and voice of each person". This week, in the name of morality, the bishops appeared to be putting the kibosh on it.
One can only imagine how the First Minister reacted, given his efforts to promote tolerance and end sectarian tensions and divisions. The Executive has also ploughed millions into a national campaign to promote racial harmony, not to mention a separate offensive to give an urgent boost to teacher recruitment. Schools around Scotland, Catholic ones included, are struggling to appoint teachers for English, maths, science, music, PE, home economics. Perhaps Bishop Devine would have liked them to add "gays need not apply".
It is little wonder that the authorities were reeling. They, as employers, would be breaking the law if they practised such blatant discrimination.
The director of the Catholic Education Service is to be congratulated for making the Church's position clear (page one), but it has not been their finest hour.