Why an Orangeman’s conscience might be a matter for him, and only for him…

When I was a kid in the late 60s I remember asking if I could go to the local Anglican church for a service connected with the Scout group I attended as a Cub.

Most Catholics in Holywood at the time went to that group, because it was across the road from our Primary school: and although I later figured it was presbyterian in its spiritual instincts, it wasn’t associated with any particular church.

I was told by my parents at the time that I would have to ask the Parish Priest for permission. I’ve no idea if Father Farry would have said yes or no, since the thought of asking was enough to put me wanting to go in the first place.

There was an awkwardness between churches – particularly ours and the town’s exclusively Protestant churches – wthat was a given. It wasn’t particularly spiteful, just that we had a quiet sense that in spiritual matters we were right and they were going nowhere.

It’s hard to conjure those certainties in a modern Ireland whose headlong rush into secularism in one generation has almost been indecent in its haste to kick off a Church that used to do an awful lot of our social and moral thinking for us.

If the Irish Times poll this morning is any guide we are in a different and much more relativist universe.

Last night’s discussion on the Orange Order and the position the Qualifications of an Orangeman puts an Orangeman if he chooses to attend the funeral of a friend, neighbour or as part of his public duty was interesting, not least because all three had been to such a Mass.

Here’s the ‘offending’ piece:

…he should strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act or ceremony of Popish Worship

This, it seems to me, is hard-core theological (rather than strictly sectarian) dispute, ie in my own personal book it is a pure matter of private conscience. To crib from Elizabeth in the context of Northern Ireland, to make it a matter of public controversy is to make “windows into men’s souls”.

However, most Orangemen who are willing to talk about the matter publicly believe the rules are written in a sufficiently loose manner to allow them to do the decent thing by neighbours and friends without ceding a scintilla of their theological objections to the way we Catholics do things.

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  • chrisjones2

    Ah Godwins law …always available to help the lazy argument

  • chrisjones2

    But Gerry said republicanism valued Unionist culture and it would be safe in a United Ireland

  • chrisjones2

    In quite recent times, in a throwaway remark once, didn’t a former Pope dismiss the entire Anglican Communion as an heretical subordinate sect to be brought back under the wing of the Mother Church. Then we had Norman Gibson ion suggesting the change in the OOs stance alleging that Catholics were Christians – just they were deluded and misled and needed reformation!!

    That sort of outlook is what religion does to otherwise sane and normal people on all sides

  • chrisjones2

    They did it for God …just as they burned witches, tortured heretics in the Inquisition and organsied pogroms against Jews etc etc

  • chrisjones2

    ….again that is just an invention.

    Mary fled Scotland after she had murdered her husband and even the clan chiefs could stick her no more. She was then seized upon by Senior English Catholics and various Continental powers (not least Rome) as a potential Catholic rival to Elizabeth and a route to the throne

    She was given sanctuary – but under house arrest because of the danger she posed. Elizabethy even tried unsuccessfully to broker her reinstatement in Scotland but the Scots would have none of her.

    There is no doubt that she was finally entrapped into becoming embroiled in another plot to murder Elizabeth – but its a measure of her stupidity that she was so easily caught and her character that she did become involved. It really was third time unlucky for her as Elizabeth had not pressed for her trial in earlier attempts

  • chrisjones2

    Half sisters

  • chrisjones2

    “As you have cast yourself in the role of running-defence”
    ……. as I have learned to my own cost in the past its Mick’s site and big boys rules apply – and honestly i dont see how else he could keep the mob (all of us) in order

  • chrisjones2

    The MLA is probably a Member and the OO have a female OO as well – they make the Lodge Tea and have dinkie girlie sashes designed to accommodate the anatomical differences

  • chrisjones2

    That’s just untrue….he said they were Christians but ‘needed reformation’

    I remember laughing my head off when I heard it

  • chrisjones2

    a belief in the Big Yin?

  • Thomas Girvan

    What has the OO got to do with it?
    We were discussing the Masonic.

  • woodkerne

    The Belfast Agreement includes explicit assurance of protection for minorities. Any feasible formation of a secular, pluralist unitary state in Ireland will likewise naturally demand a correspondingly post/modern constitution, incorporating human rights legislation, as well as recognition of the dual and diasporic identities comprising the future Ireland. Equally, there can be no guarantee of privilege or special entitlement for sectarian practices at odds with principles of social justice. Wouldn’t you agree?

  • Jollyraj

    Perhaps he meant in a small museum out by the airport.

  • sadie

    abc.

  • Jollyraj

    I don’t believe Gerry.

  • john millar

    “So you shall purge the evil from Israel.”

    Only Israeli needs to worry Ballymena Dundonald seem safe.

  • john millar

    Roman Catholicism excommunicated my great aunt for having the temerity to marry a protestant. A Roman catholic relative whose son married a prod was advised by the priest not to attend her sons wedding (in a prod church)
    Roman Catholicism is a creed is founded in and upon anti-protestantism???

  • john millar

    Attended many ?Masses? mostly for departed friends/colleagues Not a RC so obviously I can`t/don`t take the host BUT in some (mostly middle class ) events the non catholics were welcomed and got a blessing instead

  • Croiteir

    I think you will find that Catholicism existed before Protestantism and thus cannot be founded upon anti-Protestantism.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Elizabeth I was the niece of Mary’s grandmother (shared ancestry therefore was Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. In addition, Elizabeth I died childless (according to history) so the Virgin Queen’s the ancestor of NOBODY. Try harder when attempting to catch other posters out bud!

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    It all depends on what ‘anti-catholicism’ means: hating all RCs or just fundamental disagreement on doctrine?

    On a lighter note, it amuses me that it seems to be believed that popery might seep through one’s pores while attending a RC service like bad humours used to when having a bath. I can attest that that never happened to me and I’m now virulently anti-catholic.

    At worst the OO is, to me at least, archaic and ill informed. Of course it was archaic and ill informed at its foundation too but hey, oath bound secret societies were all the rage at the time.

  • John Collins

    No. Just goes to show what an ‘authority’ you are on Mary, Queen of Scots. She was most certainly not her half sister. Margaret, the sister of Henry 8 was Mary Queens of Scots paternal grandmother. So Mary was a first cousin once removed to Queen Elizabeth. None of Henry’s children had family, so his sisters descendants thus came into the frame

  • woodkerne

    Archaic, I agree. It is doubtless also true that past and present members have not/do not wholly subscribe or adhere to all of the Order’s anti-catholic precepts and prejudices. These observations are reasonable and relevant of course. Let’s also acknowledge that the OO is a diminishing authority. All that said, at the least, Orangeism (an ethnic-particularist worldview analogous in its everyday operation to the practice of racialism) contributes to the atavistic reproduction of sectarian beliefs and predispositions within the wider society. For this reason, in the interests of a de-sectarianized public sphere and civil society in future, the pernicious effects of orangeism should not be minimized, nor patronised as a harmless ‘cultural tradition’. The harm and hurt caused are real and recurring and the ongoing offence against common courtesy needs to stop.

  • Skibo

    I think we all need to step back a bit, accept that we all have rights of expression but with such rights comes responsibilities. Where Rights of one impinges on rights of another then there needs to be dialogue, discussion and agreement or both rights should be void.

  • file

    Hi murdockp – like I said to Mick, you are not ALL liberals. Read The irish Times any day to get a gist of the general liberal attitude towards people who believe in God.

  • Skibo

    Lads there are very few orange parades that are contested. The fact that a minor number of them are does not make them all contentious. There is a requirement for a museum in the new Ireland but it would be better if they can keep parading but get the contentious parades resolved.

  • file

    chris, are you seriously suggesting that all the evidence for the historical Jesus is a myth?

  • AntrimGael

    I took a dander around St. Annes Cathedral a few years back and was a bit shocked to see so many Standards, plaques and plates commemorating British Army regiments. It was more like a Military Disneyland than a place of God and a bit hypocritical and ironic I thought.

  • Skibo

    Chris he was pushed about the question a number of times as to whether Catholics were Christian or not and he could not say yes. He confirmed that he would not accept the baptism of a catholic as baptism if they joined his church. He did not accept Catholic priests as Brothers in Christ.
    I had one further gripe, one which I think is not held highly enough, the referring of Catholic places of worship as Chapels. They are not Chapels, they are Churches. A Chapel is a room within a large building used for worship.
    It is just a further way in which Reverend Gibson tries to demonize the catholic Church.

  • What evidence?

  • file
  • woodkerne

    On your final sentence, no, as a matter of chronology, the formation of the Church of Rome predates the development of Protestantism by centuries. On your substantive point which I take to be the corresponding evidence of catholic oppression of non-believers, I agree, the action you describe is clearly offensive and exclusionary. For my part, though, as an anti-religionist, your belligerence makes my point for me, which is (an admittedly utopian one) that, in general, we’re better off wthout organized religions.

  • mickfealty

    Then, there’s Donald Trump?

  • mickfealty

    This is why I distrust the introduction of terms like ‘hate crime’. It requires us to politicise the law in ways that are not always helpful in the precise since that, to an extent, it involves some class of mind reading.

    As for ‘inferiorise’: that’s a completely new one on me.

  • mickfealty

    It was intended as a light aside Jarl. I was fresh from (regretfully) banning someone who’s been a commenter here for a lot longer than you.

    Easy way to stay clear of trouble from me, is to read the commenting rules. Oh, and bring a sense of humour?

  • woodkerne

    I think the term hate-speech is useful, and instructive, as a (quasi) judicial category because it captures the malign intent and the injurious effect as well as permitting an appropriately context-specific interpretation of the alleged/indictable offence.

  • woodkerne

    A materialist formulation offered in contradistinction to the individualist and mystificatory norm: “It is not consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”

  • Jollyraj

    So you are fine with the vast majority of Orange parades?

  • chrisjones2

    Well many of his most extreme comments seem focused on Mexicans and Muslims but I doubt God has much to do with it

  • chrisjones2

    Opps sorry …i thought he was referring to Bloody Mary. They were Cousins

  • chrisjones2

    I glad I that gave you a small frisson of pleasure. Still better than dealing with the arguments innit

  • chrisjones2

    Is that why we have a ban on abortion even when the mothers life is endangered? and a ban on gay marriage? And until recently a ban on gay blood donations?

  • John Collins

    There was plenty reasons for inventions on both sides. You say bluntly Mary murdered her husband. We know there were other parties who also wanted Darnley dead and it would have suited these people also to have the blame for that murder placed on Mary. An explosion took place near where he may have died, but he was not injured in it and initial attempts were made to claim he was strangled, but there was no physical evidence to support this. So even the cause of death was never established. Question marks galore but little proof
    She faced a hiding to nothing situation from the minute she arrived in Scotland. She was female, catholic in a hugely Protestant country, French reared , a designation that was not wanted by some Scotch and certainly the English Authorities did not want the ‘Auld Alliance’ between Scotland and France continued.
    I know the follow up with Bothwell looks bad but is it just possible that she was kidnapped and of course this kind of spectacle would have suited her enemies and we never be sure who he might have been in cahoots with anyway.
    There is little evidence that Elizabeth bore her any ill will, but the same might not be said about her advisers. The possible arrival of another catholic on the English Throne might not have suited either their preferences or even their career prospects. The veracity of the casket letters, which allegedly bore proof that Mary was plotting Elizabeth’s death, is now even questioned by some historians.
    Basically I am not saying she was an angel or an intelligent ruler, but we must always remember that the winner always write the history.
    On a slightly related note in my young days I heard old people say that Henry had eight wives and had six of them executed. Of course this was nonsense, the decent man had only six wives and had only three of them executed.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Did you look at the Books of the Dead when you were there?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I have to say, though i’m agnostic myself I cringe at some of the ‘evangellically anti-evangelical’ attitudes of some quarters, not cool in my opinion.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Well.if they vote for the DUP to counter Sinn Fein, people get all the religious stuff thrown in for free.
    Maybe things are beginning to change since the surreptitious takeover of the DUP by ex Ulster Unionists.
    They even have champagne receptions now.
    Who’d have thunk it?

  • John Collins

    Yes Mary QOS was the same relation to both of them through their father. Mary Tudor had not entered the debate.

  • John Collins

    Well Chris
    (1) You simply posted, in this case, something that was plain wrong. I have no apology for correcting you as you seem to have devoted considerable time to researching the life and career of MQOS and of all contributors should not have got the two Queens relationship so wrong. I apologise for being a tad sarcastic, but of course you are no shrinking violet in that regard yourself.
    (2) I have at least attempted to reply to your substantive point below, although I do agree it took me a while.
    (3) One of the main problems with Slugger, as no doubt you too will have noticed, is that the substantive points, or points, of many contributions are never responded to and indeed I admit to that failing myself, if only on occasion.
    (4) I think overall those who support the Monarchy, which I certainly do not, should not be so hard on MQOS. We all should realise that every Monarch since Elizabeth 1 was a direct descendent of her, several of them on different sides. The present Queen, her husband and Princess Diana are all descendants of her more than once.

  • John Collins

    Well Russia, hardly a bastion of RCism, organised huge progroms against Jews and Germany, which a had population that was 65% Protestant,and yes Hitler was an RC, were hardly behind the door at it either and of course most Christians religions approved of slavery for centuries.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Brian, I’d mentioned this myself on another thread with a link to the massive list of Catholics hanged during her erign:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/sluggerotoole/swallow_your_doubts_and_take_a_pew_in_the_reformed_national_church_of_brexit/#comment-2937661730

    We have a genuine moment of almost modern style pluralism historically, but it is a full century later, and has recently been well researched by Svott Sowerby, whose book Making Toleration” should be required reading for any “Citizenship” course in NI. Elizabeth was “tolerent” but only selectivly and elclusively for those of the reformed faith.

  • grumpy oul man

    That is what he said, maybe you might have a look at those that are contentious and maybe see if you can figure out why!
    It is obviously not a plot to wipe out the OO or “protestant Culture” or there would be a awful lot more concerned residents, so what do you think is the problem?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While, Jarl, I’m not averse to the occasional well deserved “gushing admiration” as you yourself have at times noted, I and a few others here are perfectly happy to settle for actual informed arguement and some consistency rather than simple attempts at “put down” and point scoring.

    Sadie was making a simple point (which you were not answering), she did not need to unpack every issue associated that point, and begin argueing Elizabeths “side” too. Regarding the detail of your point there are across the ranks of the gentry and aristocracy quite a few of the by-blows of Charles II who are descended from Mary, and thereby from Henry VII whose daughter Margaret Tudor was Mary’s grandmother, but have no direct line back to Henry VIII or his daughter. Cousins, note, not direct descent.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Welcome back…….

  • John Collins

    Oh Chris you impress me. You seem to apply equal opportunities in the area of putting the boot in. Utterly non sectarian.

  • Jollyraj

    I think there simply aren’t enough concerned residents to go around – nor enough buses to transport them around from place to place to be offended. Also an issue is that a good number of parades are in the morning, and a lot of the concerned residents don’t do mornings.

  • Skibo

    Yes I am and further to that I accept that the Orange Order does many a charitable act. The Orange Order is an Irish organisation and can be cherished by Ireland. The issue is how certain lodges interact with their Catholic neighbours.
    I do not expect the OO to be a warm house to Catholics. I don’t think they really have to change the rule at attending Catholic services but what I would say was if they were pro Protestant instead of anti Catholic, that rule would be expanded to all religions it does not agree with.
    On the issue of Churches, which of the Protestant churches does the Orange Order represent as they are so diverse and do not agree among themselves as to the true path to enlightenment?

  • Skibo

    JR that fact that there are minimal protests at morning parades has more to do with the hangers on who come back drunk to the evening parade wanting to assert their religious superiority over their neighbours at the top of their voices!

  • grumpy oul man

    so your going with the conspiracy theory,

    Did you know that believing your own propaganda is never a good idea, Do you remember when Unionists claimed that the right to march where you want was a right! a lot of mugs believed that and we had the epic failures of Drumcree and Twaddle, However the OO and AB,s in Derry had the wit to realize what a crock of BS that was and talked to the residents,sorted the issues and now have a great oul time, they didn’t believe their own propaganda and got a result.

  • Thomas Girvan

    It sounds a bit like an Irish joke.
    Did you hear about the Irish KKK,?
    They are the ones who get burnt out

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Freemasonry “sectarian”, woodkearne? Having long discussed Freemasonry with currently active masons in order to understand its historical presence in the humanist Belfast of the late eighteenth century, what one comes away with is a sense of a fraternity which is freely open to anyone of any religion (the Koran and the Bagavad Gita sit alongside the bible on the “alter” at Freemason’s Hall, Molesworth Street). It became clear that Masonery in eighteenth century Ireland provided one of the few venues where Catholics and protestants could meet as equals without religion coming between them, and accordingly there were sizable numbers of Catholics involved in Masonry before the decisive intervention of popes Pius VIII and Gregory XVI in the 1830s, when the ban “In eminenti apostolatus” that had first been sttaed by Clement XII was most enphatically applied to Ireland. Until then there were pretty equal numbers of Catholics and protestants involved , and even quite violent faction fights between those “hedge Masons” who had split from “regular” Masonic lodges to form the LOI and these tolerant regular masons. The Masonic Lodge at Ballycarry which James Orr, the United Irishman poet was member of, certainly had such skirmishes into the first decades of the nineteenth century.

    I quote “TheFreemasons’ Pocket Reference Book” (fourth edition, London 1963):

    ‘It need hardly be said that there has never been the slightest connection with the Craft, in fact, in the early part of the nineteenth century private Masonic lodges not infrequently forbade their members to have anything to do with certain organisations, including theOrange’.

  • woodkerne

    An informative account of the comparative openness to anti-sectarian relations in late 18th century Belfast. No coincidence that the conditions you describe coincide with the high point of United Irishmen activity: arguably a last augur of optimism in Ireland for a pluralist shape to civil society and politics. Instead, that is, of the hardening off into a sectarian binary consolidated by events thereafter. Whatever the origin and intent of their original communalist formation, in most of the period since and throughout the twentieth century and up until now, masonry and the orangeism (among other more or less noxious oath bound societies) have become unambiguously associated with forces of reaction in British and Irish affairs.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I see that unlike myself, you have not been talking to contemporary Freemasons!!! I know that it’s common knowledge that “only Unionists become Masons”, but like a lot of what’s commonly known, its not actually true! The pervasive myth that Freemasonry is linked to Unionism in some close manner is quite easily dispersed by meeting with some contemporary Masons. Certainly there are some Unionists who are Freemasons up in the north, but a few of my Dublin Masonic informants who have co-operated in my research are retired commandants in the Irish Defence Forces, none of them hankering for the return of the Union Flag on Dublin Castle. The whole point is that Masonry is “what it says on the tin”, entirely non-sectarian, and most carefully non-political! Freemasons may have personal political beliefs, but Masonry itself is most sensitive about maintaining its non-political status. As an old Anarchist myself (ex PD too), I’m not unaware of just how conservative many of the Masons I meet are, but the enduring apolitical nature of freemasonry’s principals ensured that this does not define it, and it is notable to my mind that the IRB oath and organisational structure of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was itself quasi- Masonic!!!

    Of course the Loyal Orange Institution is unashamedly political and it is one of its sectarian clauses which this thread is discussing, but conflating a fraternity which, I’m told, still holds as its most central idea the brotherhood of all humanity, and an organisation which originally split from Masonry on the very issue of demanding lodges with a complete exclusion of their Catholic “brethren” simply does not hold up to scrutiny.

    It might help to read Petri Mirala’s excellent “Freemasonry in Ulster, 1733-1813” to grasp the depth of this significant disagreement on important principals between both fraternities.