THE Catholic Church and the Orange Order have moved to ease tensions over this summer’s Glasgow marching season.

Senior figures in both organisations have issued statements suggesting they are ready to break an impasse over parades passing Catholic churches.

Local authorities are particularly concerned over a single Glasgow flashpoint, a church where a priest was assaulted during an Orange march last year. Police have said it would take hundreds of officers to keep the peace at the church, St Alphonsus.

Call It Out has said it will organise counter-protests for any proposed parade that passes a Catholic place of worship. And some local protestant orders have equally vociferously declared that they will not accept any “no-go areas”.

Now Archbishop Leo Cushley of Edinburgh has said he sees no reason why Orange marches should not pass churches. He told STV “Objectively that shouldn’t be a problem. If it is done respectfully, I don’t see where the problem is. If it is done to taunt your neighbour that’s a different question but it is difficult for me to look into the hearts of everyone who is going past a church.”

The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland welcomed the Archbishop’s comments. A spokesman said: “Roman Catholics, Protestants, and people from many other faiths and none, all live harmoniously in Scotland. This should mean that we can all share the same roads and streets as we each celebrate our own heritage and culture. We will certainly play our part in ensuring that our parades are respectful when passing any place of worship. We look forward to a dialogue with the Archbishop, and the authorities, and it is our hope that we find a shared solution that demonstrates that it is perfectly ok to have different religious views and opinions, without the need for divisions.”

Call It Out made it clear that it did not agree with Archbishop Cushley. Asked for its opinion, its Twitter account said: “We intend no disrespect whatsoever to the Archbishop but we very much doubt he has had much experience of anti-Catholic marches or has consulted the Catholic community across Scotland of their own experiences of these parades.”

Dave Scott, of anti-sectarianism charity Nil by Mouth, said: “Archbishop Cushley is providing clear-eyed and thoughtful analysis of the situation and the statement in response from the Orange Order would suggest they recognise this and the need for genuine dialogue moving forward."