Bishop Taylor was born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, on 5th May 1926. He was baptised in Saint Mary’s church, Hamilton, and attended Saint Cuthbert’s primary school, Burnbank, before going to Saint Aloysius’ College, Glasgow, and later Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell.
He studied philosophy at Blairs College, Aberdeen, from 1942 to 1944 and then served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, at home, in India and in Egypt. He was at the Pontifical Scots College, Rome, from 1947 to 1951, studying theology at the Gregorian University and being ordained a priest in Rome on 2nd July, 1950.
After a year as assistant priest in Saint Bartholomew’s, Coatbridge, he returned to Rome in 1952 where he took his doctorate in theology in 1954. Another year as assistant priest followed, this time at Saint Bernadette’s, Motherwell, before he was appointed to the staff of Saint Peter’s College, Cardross in August 1955. He spent the next ten years there, teaching philosophy and, later, theology; for six years he was editor of Saint Peter’s College Magazine.
From 1965 until 1974 he was rector of the Royal Scots College, Valladolid, Spain. To mark the bi-centenary of the re-establishment of the college in 1771, he published The Scots College in Spain in 1971 and the same year was named honorary prelate to the Holy Father.
On his return to this country in 1974, he was appointed parish priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, East Kilbride, a position he held until his elevation to bishop. He was ordained Bishop of Galloway by the late Cardinal Gray at an open-air Mass at Fatima House, Coodham on 9th June1981.
Bishop Taylor, in the years since 1981, has developed a great interest in Latin America and has made frequent visits to various countries there and particularly to Guatemala and El Salvador. He maintains close contacts with a number of dioceses in Latin America and particularly with Bishop Julio Cabrera of Guatemala, with whom he has stayed on many occasions. He has also spent some months (during the armed conflict) as a “supply” parish priest in the parish of Dulce Nombre de María in El Salvador. He was a member of a Pax Christi delegation which spent some weeks in Colombia. Bishop Taylor was also vice-president of the Catholic Institute for International Relations (London).
For more than ten years he was a member of the Episcopal Board of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), representing Scotland on that body. From 1997 until 2002 he was chairman of ICEL.
He is the author of The Scots College in Spain (1971); Guatemala: A Bishop’s Journey (1991); El Salvador: Portrait of a Parish (1992). Since retiring Bishop Taylor has written Being a Bishop in Scotland (2006) and It's the Eucharist, Thank God (2009). The former of these more recent works gives an account of Bishop Taylor’s life and of his experiences as a bishop. He also reflects on today’s Church with particular reference to the difficult relations between the Holy See and ICEL. The latter provides a more detailed analysis of relations between the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and ICEL, as well as providing further reflections on the Eucharist.
Bishop Taylor is now retired in Ayr and is contactable on 01292 285865 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Bishop emeritus' personal website is here.
Bishop Taylor’s Coat of Arms bears the motto Ambula Coram Deo. He explained why he chose this phrase: “When I was rector of the Royal Scots College in Spain and was researching the history of the college I learned a great deal about one of my predecessors as rector. He was John Geddes (rector 1771-1780) and, when he was made a bishop in Scotland in 1780, he chose the motto Ambula Coram Deo. I have such an admiration for John Geddes that I decided that, if ever I became a bishop, I would have his motto. The words are scriptural, from the Book of Genesis, and were the advice given to Abraham when he set out on his journey from his native Ur. The phrase means ‘Walk in the presence of God’, good advice for Abraham, John Geddes and any believer, including myself. An irreverent friend once translated the phrase for me as ‘You’ll never walk alone’”.