CHARACTER ASSASSINATION by the late Hamish Fraser, from his ‘Approaches’ No 93/94, 1986

.. Another victim of a clerical ‘smear campaign’ is Iain Colquhoun, who for several years has monitored the broadcasting activities of Father Andrew Monaghan, who comperes a phone-in programme entitled ‘Open Line’ on Radio Forth. As a consequence of Iain’s diligent efforts over the years, he now has a veritable ‘library’ of recordings, and transcripts from recordings, of these two programmes. There is sufficient evidence to prove beyond all doubt whatever:

That Father Monaghan does not accept the authentic moral teaching of the Church.

That ‘Open Line’ Counsellors have consistently referred young people with sexual problems to the Brook Advisory Centre one of whose principal activities is to refer young girls for abortion. Father Monaghan does not deny this.

That ‘Open Line’ has also referred young homosexually inclined young men to the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group which aggressively favours sodomy.  It is indeed a formidable indictment, one which prompted Mrs Valerie Riches, Secretary of Family and Youth Concern, to write to His Grace Keith Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh. Concerning Fr Monaghan’s activities she made the following observations about Iain Colquhoun’s recordings. ‘With respect, I find it hard to believe that you have listened or taken seriously the concern of those who have sought out of genuine concern to bring this matter to your attention… It is difficult to know how else you can be properly informed.‘ (letter dated April 10th 1986)

Three years earlier Iain Colquhoun received a friendly letter from Bishop Renfrew, Auxiliary Bishop of Glasgow, in which he stated: ‘I have heard all over the place about the counselling given on Radio Forth by Father Monaghan and was most interested in the case as I am in charge of ‘communications’ for Scotland.. I raised the matter with His Eminence Cardinal Gray and he stated that it had been seen to and was under control and that nothing of this nature would happen again. BUT AS I POINTED OUT TO HIM AND HE KNEW WELL ENOUGH THE DAMAGE HAD ALREADY BEEN DONE. My heart bleeds for young people today let alone ones who are exposed to false counselling by those who should know better, and should be sensitive to the terrible damage they have done.  I know that Archbishop Winning felt as strongly as I did and also mentioned this to the Cardinal, but he seemed satisfied that the priest concerned had been interviewed and that nothing of this nature would happen again. Obviously the whole turbulence involved, including your own interventions, must have helped and done the future cause a lot of good.’

Alas, three years later, as the testimony of Mrs Riches shows, what Iain Colquhoun had complained about continues as before.

In fact, things are very much worse than before, for the reaction of Archbishop Keith O’Brien has been to promote Father Monaghan to the post of Vicar Episcopal for Communications the Archdiocese, and in the Ad Clerum of Nov 21, 1985 announcing this, he stated: ‘Such Episcopal Vicars have the same ordinary powers as the universal law gives to a Vicar General…’  Such is his reward for ‘THE DAMAGE’ which Bishop Renfrew admitted three years earlier ‘HAD ALREADY BEEN DONE’, and, alas, continues to be done by the broadcasting activities of Father Monaghan.


Needless to say, given this nailing of episcopal colours so defiantly to the ‘Open Line’ masthead, something had to be done about Iain Colquhoun! And since there was no means of reacting positively to his well-grounded indictment – this would have required the disciplining, not the promotion, of Fr Monaghan – there was only one thing that could be done: he must be so smeared as to be utterly discredited: without so much as actually saying so, his sanity must be called into question. Which… was facilitated by the fact that Iain had in the past suffered a nervous breakdown. The way forward therefore was straightforward: in effect he must be declared mad.

We shall proceed to indicate the manner in which this has since been diabolically insinuated on every possible occasion, but first of all it must be emphasised that even if… through bringing appropriate pressure on a compliant psychiatrist – Colquhoun’s enemies were to contrive to have him certified, HIS INDICTMENT WOULD STAND AND WOULD CONVICT THOSE RESPONSIBLE BEFORE GOD AND BEFORE MAN.      

Meanwhile, it is necessary to show what Iain Colquhoun’s enemies are up to. In reply to a Scots Catholic who had written to the Scottish Catholic Press and Media Office in Glasgow, enclosing a copy of Iain Colquhoun’s ‘Open Letter to Catholics within Radius of “Radio Forth” ‘ the Director of CPMO, the Rev. Tom Connelly, made no effort to reply to this massive indictment. Instead, after assuring the enquirer ‘That Father Monaghan is in very good standing with the Catholic Church in Scotland and has the full support of the Cardinal and Archbishop O’Brien in Edinburgh’ – which in any case was only too obvious given his recent promotion.. Father Connelly then proceeded to shovel out the ‘pay dirt’: ‘We consider [We? Who? Editorial ‘We’? ‘We’ meaning the Scottish Hierarchy?] , this “Open Letter”, frankly (sic), TO BE THE WORK OF SOMEONE WITH A DISTURBED MIND…’

Clearly this is the episcopal ‘Party Line’ on how to dispose of Iain Colquhoun. And significantly, it is Father Monaghan himself who had primed this particular propaganda pump by dismissing Iain Colquhoun as a ‘disturbed individual’ in reaction to Iain’s ‘Open Letter to Catholics in Radius of Radio Forth’.

Since there was no means of refuting the massive dossier which Iain had published, the smear soon caught on, if for no other reason than needs must when the devil drives, in this case the devil being the need to discredit evidence that couldn’t be disproved.

Above all, the Archbishop of Scotland’s primatial See simply had to be got off the hook on which he had so foolishly hung his crook, and in so doing made himself look an outsize in fools.

On the one hand, Archbishop O’Brien would have us believe that Father Monaghan is somehow or other doing God’s work – and the Pope’s, believe it or not! – through Open Line’s counselling, which Father Monaghan admits involves recommending girls to go to the notorious Brook Advisory Centre, which Archbishop Winning, most commendably, wouldn’t allow into Glasgow…

On the other hand, Archbishop O’Brien goes out of his way, not only to pretend that a case can be made out for encouraging young homosexually -inclined men to seek advice from the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group-  but to try to exculpate SHRG of having a linkage with paedophilia.  

Here, Iain Colquhoun really has the Archbishop over a barrel. For when the Scottish Sunday Mail of March 25th 1984 rashly accused Ian Dunn, the founder of SHRG, of paedophilia, without having any evidence to back up its assertion, and got itself into such a jam that it was almost on the point of making an out-of court settlement of £21,000 to Dunn, it was Colquhoun who got the Sunday Mail off the hook just in time by providing irrefutable recorded evidence which substantiated the Sunday Mail’s accusation.

Moreover, the March 1986 issue of Gay Scotland makes it clear that it was Iain Colquhoun’s evidence which was also responsible for Ian Dunn being dropped as Labour candidate for Broughton/Inverleith in the Regional elections. The Gay Scotland headline, ‘PAED FEARS DITCH CANDIDATE’, introduced a report which included the following admission: ‘The Party believed that the Mail would run its “Paed Horror” story.. Other candidates would suffer because of Ian’s candid admission’..

Indeed, it would seem that certain Scots Catholic Churchmen are about the only people who, having seen or heard Iain Colquhoun’s evidence, refuse to take it seriously.. Why this incredible, wilful blindness? We suspect it is because, as Upton Sinclair once said: ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it’. Which also helps to explain the compulsive clerical addiction to smear campaigns of which Colquhoun has had a bellyful.

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