PETER Kearney, pictured, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, continues to make work for himself by taking (and raising) the temperature of sectarian attitudes in Scotland.

First there was his stunning comparison with black Americans during the worst days of segregation. At the weekend he said Scotland was a hostile place to live for Catholics. These claims have been derided as not reflecting the decreasing incidence of religion divide.

New academic research, however, highlights issues which Scottish Catholics still face. The analysis was conducted by the Tim Alloy Institute, the think tank named after a wealthy metal merchant who supplied the pots and pans for the soup kitchens which fed the poor Irish in the east end of Glasgow in the 1880s.

The institute's report, titled A Big Proddie Did It and Ran Away, reveals:

l Despite Catholics elevated to the highest levels of the Scottish judiciary, no judge has yet adopted the title Lord Lion of Lisbon.

l Anger at not being able to say: "I didn't get the job because I'm a Catholic". Also increased guilt that "I only got the job because I'm a Catholic".

l Anxiety at the prospect of having to take a turn as Lord Provost of Glasgow.

l Concern at EU fish quotas limiting the menu on Fridays. Demands for a definitive list of which brands of pie actually have no meat content.

l Morbid fear of a family member playing for Rangers. Also suspicions that an establishment plot brought Rangers down to prevent Celtic fans enjoying victories over the Ibrox club.

l More than half of Catholics interviewed said they found all this ecumenism boring and that it is increasingly difficult to spot a Protestant as they are getting to look and talk merr and merr like us.

l Nearly one-third reported that instances of anti-Catholic abuse had declined to such a level they now deliberately got caught up in Orange parade traffic disruption to remember what it was like in the old days.

l Younger generations report more difficulty in relationships with, for example, a non-Catholic male no longer being able to say: "I love you dearly but we can't get engaged because you wear a Legion of Mary medal and our living room has a big picture of King Billy on a white horse."

l Greater harmony has led to obesity as Catholic and non-denominational children no longer had running battles with the school up the road.

A spokesperson for the institute said: "Attitudes have changed over the years but as GK Chesterton said: 'Once a Tim, always a Tim'."

tom shields Kearney's gospel