Two hundred people in the parish of St Sophia’s in Galston, Ayrshire, have signed a petition accusing the Bishop of Galloway, John Cunningham, of persecuting and ostracising Fr Patrick Lawson after he issued the priest with a decree of removal last week.
Fr Lawson, who is suffering from cancer, has campaigned for nearly two decades for the Scottish hierarchy to take action against Fr Paul Moore, a retired priest who, he alleges, abused altar boys and made sexual advances towards him when he was a seminarian in the mid-1990s.
The former Bishop of Galloway, Maurice Taylor, has said that Fr Moore confessed to him that he had abused children.
He was then sent to a treatment centre in Canada. He was parish priest of St Quivox church in Prestwick in 1996.
However, a church spokesman said that Fr Moore had denied making sexual advances to Fr Lawson.