POLICE are investigating allegations of assault after the Catholic Church claimed a priest had been spat on during an Orange Walk.

The Archdiocese of Glasgow said Canon Tom White had been speaking to parishioners outside St Alphonsus Church, near the Barras, Glasgow, when he was spat on twice, before being lunged at by a man with a pole.

In a statement on Facebook, the Archdiocese said both Canon White and his parishioners had been “subjected to vile abuse”.It claimed: “The priest was spat upon. Spittle landed on the back of his head. He wiped it away. Another mouthful of thick spittle was spat into his eye socket. Again he wiped it away, leaving his hand full of the vile liquid.

“He was then further insulted and lunged at by a man carrying a pole before police arrived to restore some kind of order.”

The Church said: “What kind of society is it that allows ministers of religion and churchgoers to be intimidated and attacked by a group that has a long history of fomenting fear and anxiety on city streets?”

It also asked: “Why is the Orange Order still allowed to schedule its intimidating parades on streets containing Catholic churches at times when people are trying to get in and out for Mass?”

Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative MSP for Glasgow region, said: “This was a shocking attack against a respected member of the local community. Police Scotland must move quickly to identify those involved and bring charges. This abuse will not be tolerated in Scotland.”

MSP Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour’s Communities and Equalities spokeswoman, said: “Father White has shown great courage in speaking out about the attacks he has experienced, for which there can be zero tolerance. Anti-Catholic hate crime remains prevalent in Scotland, accounting for 57 per cent of religiously aggravated charges in 2016/17. Our communities are safer for us all when we respect one another and value different backgrounds”.

A police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm we are investigating the assault of a man outside a church at the Barras (area of Glasgow) around 4.20pm on Saturday July 7.“He was not injured as a result of the assault an. Inquiries are continuing.

“While the parade was passing the church at the time, any involvement, if at all, by someone from the Orange Walk, is still to be established.”