Clergymen witnesses a backward step

Courtesy of Newshound, Suzanne Breen, writing in the Newsletter, has a couple of suggestions for possible candidates for witnesses to decommissioning. But, as well as pointing out the need for more than an official ‘blessing’, she raises an important point – “I don’t believe there is this huge reservoir of respect for these men. Indeed, a substantial section of the population – including believers – view them with (at best) suspicion and (at worse) contempt.”

I’d go further. Whatever progress, such as it is, that we have got has only come about by the gradually increasing acceptance that the issues here are political and, as such, can only be resolved through political dialogue – however tardy some may still be in fully grasping that.

The ‘witness’ idea that is being promoted suggests that the two governments haven’t fully understood that themselves.

What, given the conditions in which progress has been made, could be more patronising and regressive than the idea that one Catholic and one Protestant clergyman could act as official representatives of the entire community here?

  • The Devil

    I don’t know about the rest of you but when the image of a priest holding a kodak flashes in front of my eyes,

    I instinctively reach for the phone and look up the number for “Childline”

  • carlosblancos

    ‘They made absolutely no impact during the conflict’

    Yeah right Sue.

    Tomas O’Fiach during hunger strike.
    Rev Ian since 1969.
    Cahal Daly while at Down & Connor.

    I seem to remember some guy, Fr Alex who definetly had something to do with ‘the conflict’.

    And didn’t various Protestant clergy engage with loyalist paramilitaries pre-ceasefire?

    I can hear ‘yeah but they’re not establishment’. Perhaps not, but they were certainly given sanction.

  • peteb

    So you don’t have a problem with one Catholic and one Protestant clergyman acting as official representatives of the entire community here, carlos?

  • fair_deal

    The NIO does seem to have an overinflated sense of the importance of the (past and present)leaders of the four main churches. Despite the fact that attendances are plummeting in all four.

    Also it is the smaller evangelical and charismatic Protestant churches that are growing in membership and influence. However, these smaller churches tend not to buy into ‘politics’ per se or the NIO’s particular political agenda so they are ignored by the media and the NIO.

    Although when it comes to any form of clerics I tend to have some sympathy with Garibaldi’s approach.

  • willowfield

    peteb

    So you don’t have a problem with one Catholic and one Protestant clergyman acting as official representatives of the entire community here, carlos?

    You mean two Catholic clergymen, one of whom would be Protestant, the other Roman Catholic.

  • peteb

    Let’s not be too pedantic, Willow.

  • Christopher Stalford

    “The NIO does seem to have an overinflated sense of the importance of the (past and present)leaders of the four main churches. Despite the fact that attendances are plummeting in all four.”

    Useful fools…

  • Will

    “The NIO does seem to have an overinflated sense of the importance of the (past and present)leaders of the four main churches.

    Hence we see Eames and Newell on tv as soon as the clergy proposals see the light of day, prostituting themselves all over the media in the hope that they will be the chosen one who will get all the juicy details for their next book.

    It is people like Eames and Newell who for the last 30 years castigated Ian Paisley for mixing religion & politics, but as soon as the NIO came knocking on their door in order to be unpaid PR men for ‘nice’ politics then suddenly its ok.

  • Christopher Stalford

    “It is people like Eames and Newell who for the last 30 years castigated Ian Paisley for mixing religion & politics, but as soon as the NIO came knocking on their door in order to be unpaid PR men for ‘nice’ politics then suddenly its ok.”

    A compelling argument.

  • James

    Black America, which was kept out of political play since the 1870’s, came into the Civil Rights era with no secular political leaders. Thus we witnessed clergy and white politicians stumbling about trying to find some basis for communication. It became farcical when the Watts riots broke out in 1965 and Johnson’s emissary to the black LA community was Harry Belafonte.

    Northern Ireland does not have this problem. You have secular political leaders up the gazoo so why not put the lazy bastards to work?

    You have all seen what a cock-up it’s been here as a result of the God Squad so why do you want to inject more sectarianism into your mess?

  • peteb

    The thing is James, we aren’t being asked. There are only 4 groups involved in the decision and this ‘clergymen witnesses’ notion – the Irish and the British Governments, the DUP and Sinn Féin.

  • D’Oracle

    What about using one of those wide-angle or fish-eye lens thingies.?

    Just in case its damaged by stray low trajectory flak -what about a back-up high speed movie job which could be analysed (and drooled over) back at DUP HQ numbered frame by numbered frame -eh.

    Come to think of it shouldnt it have a big zoom or will the proposed men of God be wearing flak.
    jackets and get up close if not personal.

    Decisions, decisions ….and so little time ! dunno