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Happy memories of things only getting better

BISHOP Keenan grew up as a working-class boy in Maryhill in the 1960s estate of Wyndford.

He said: "Back then there was a lot of aspiration. Glasgow was slowly emerging from the social poverty of the 19th Century and the post war years of a growing and more broadly shared prosperity gave people a sense of optimism, that things were getting better along with their modern homes, schools and, for Catholics, their burgeoning parishes.

"So there wasn't really any sense of poverty but instead a sense things were getting much better and that's how it turned out."

He said there were good Catholic and state schools, good public service and a strong sense of community and society.

"I've very happy memories of these times. Now, 40 years later, things have changed a lot," he said.

"The high rise flats where we lived are not places rising with aspiration but traps of exclusion and isolation. So many people live there because society and the Church have more or less abandoned them.

"They live alone, with all sorts of problems and they know that no-one really cares enough to bring them in out of the cold.

"They are not just poor like many of us were in the past. They are destitute. The difference between being poor and being destitute is that being destitute is being poor without anyone to help you or anything to hope for. So I suppose it is the contrast between my aspirational working class roots and the deadly exclusion I see now that really feeds into my social faith.

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