HC Deb 06 March 1882 vol 267 cc183-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the Roman Catholic church at Gibraltar has been broken open by the Governor's orders, with the view of installing Dr. Canilla as vicar apostolic, against the wishes of the Roman Catholic population?


Sir, some months since Dr. Canilla was appointed by the Pope Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar; but it soon appeared that the choice was not generally popular. Among the laity a claim was raised to resist the exercise by Dr. Canilla of his functions, especially in the church of Santa Maria Coronada, on the ground that they were entitled by immemorial right to administer, through their representatives, the temporalities of the Catholic communion in Gibraltar. Without pronouncing any opinion on that claim generally, it can in no case extend to the church of Santa Maria Coronada, the property of which, as we are advised, has always been, and remains, vested in the Crown, by which it has been simply assigned during pleasure for the purposes of Catholic worship. Dr. Canilla having, under these circumstances, applied to the civil authority to be protected from molestation in proceeding to the church of Santa Maria Coronada, and while performing Divine offices there, steps were taken which may, perhaps, best be given in the words of a telegram from the Governor— March 2.—Canilla fixed noon for entry into the church. Arrangements made accordingly. Great agitation this morning. Crowd assembled in the church at 6 a.m., when opened for early service, and barricaded it. Cordon of strong pickets closed ail the streets leading to the church, and cleared the intermediate space. Crowd expelled from the church in 40 minutes. Three arrests made. Route of Canilla guarded by picket, which kept the crowd at a distance. He came under escort to the church, and after service was escorted home. Protection to church and Canilla continues. Quiet restored. Since the proceedings of Thursday order has not been disturbed in Gibraltar.