Apology follows Pope joke…

ORANGE Order chaplain Rev Stephen Dickinson copped flak yesterday for his impersonation of the Pope in February. Breaking News reported: Mr Dickinson, Grand Chaplain of the Orange Order, said he had “taken the mickey” out of Pope John Paul II but had not meant to cause any offence. “The joke was neither meant to be anti-Catholic, nor was it anti-Parkinson’s,” he said. Unfortunately for the minister, that’s not how some saw it.

  • aquifer

    Looks like the UUP got rid of those guys just in time

  • fair_deal

    “Looks like the UUP got rid of those guys just in time”

    The UUP’s finger prints seem all over the release of this story.

  • Henry94

    Far more representative of Protestant/Unionist reaction was the wearing of black armbands by Linfield players at a match the other night.

    The big story here is not the attitude of a few headbangers but the overall attitude which I can tell you Catholics on the ground are very happy with and very appreciative of.

  • Indeed

    Why does ‘Breaking News’ only bring this story now – two months later? Looks like someone pigeon holed this one to exploit it at an opportune moment.
    Shouldn’t go without mention that Rev Dickinson also mimicked Paisley and McGimpsey, but then thats not news is it.
    Nice to see UUP Councillor Jim Dillon not missing an opportunity for bitterness and vindictiveness when he stuck the boot into Rev Dickinson as well. A sure fire way to get the Presbyterian vote out.
    Give the man a break. He’s apologised-let’s move on to more newsworthy items

  • smcgiff

    ‘The big story here is not the attitude of a few headbangers but the overall attitude which I can tell you Catholics on the ground are very happy with and very appreciative of. ‘

    Agreed, Henry, which is why I only alluded to the story yesterday instead of actually discussing it.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    I read this exclusive story in Daily Ireland yesterday. BG mustn’t be getting his morning subscription if he has to rely on Breaking News to get a story broken elsewhere yesterday.

    Well worth hearing the Reverend Dickinson’s interview on Talk Back yesterday. For weasel words it takes some beating.

    The Presbyterian Church needs to boot this fellow out if it’s serious about religion at all.

    A church which allows its ministers to mock the sick and dying – whether it’s the Pope or otherwise – has no business claiming to follow Christ.

  • Davros

    Agreed OC. He has no place in the church.

  • queens_unionist

    The Presbyterian Church should take no such action.
    I know this minister.
    I have sat under his sermons and i have chatted informally to him.
    He is a man of good humour. He enjoys a joke.
    If anyone can say they havent told a joke before that some have takent he wrong way etc well let him cast the first stone.
    This man is an excellent preacher and pastor.
    I will do my utmost to defend him.
    This man is a great asset to the Presbyterian Chruch and to all under his pastoral care.
    He looks after and cares for children [maybe even fosters, not 100% sure] and at the moment is looking after a disabled child.
    Maybe the anti presbyterian and anti church critics should get there facts straight before going for the jugular.

  • slackjaw

    No problem at all with him mocking the Pope as a religious figure. I’m not interested in his apology, because he didn’t offend me, and I’m a Catholic by denomination only, but making jokes about Parkinson’s disease, however, can be a gross insult to those who suffer from it, their carers and their families.

    But I’ve said plenty of offensive things in my life without giving them a second thought, so it’s not up to me to pass judgement on this individual.

    More important though: I sense that a lot of the outrage about this from Protestants is genuine, but I think that a lot of the outrage from Catholics will be manufactured and feigned. Do you really reckon the Daily Ireland gives a toss about off-colour jokes made about the Pope?

  • yerman

    I’m an Orangeman and I have to say that I dont agree at all with what Steven Dickenson has done – if he was ‘imitating’ the symptons of parkinsons then its not a laughing matter. He is one of the few people within the Presbyterian church who would be a true evangelical preacher, but stories like this only serve to detract from what he should be doing – preaching the gospel.

    That said – why did this story appear 2 months after the event? It hardly shows Jim Dillon with his finger on the pulse of current events.

    It is possible/probable that Rev Dickinson meant no offence by his actions, but he really should have thought it through a little more.

  • maca

    Such jokes from such a person are not acceptable. I’ll be the first to admit i’ve often told nasty jokes, but i’m not a vicar/pastor/whatever.
    Anyone in his position needs to behave at a higher standard.

  • Gonzo

    Oilbhéar Chromaill

    You’re right, I didn’t bother with DI yesterday. Or Daily View. With all this competition, I’m having to make choices…

    Anyway, it was a great Talkback, with Dickinson squirming badly.

  • Shelly


    One careful owner

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    A DUP apologist for Rev Dickinson has just made an appearance on Evening Extra to say she can’t understant what all the fuss is about.

    Apparently the gospel meeting was a fundraiser for the DUP. [I don’t get why DUP objects to Rome rule when that party is tied to a religion – but that’s another story]

    No doubt people in the DUP would have no problem mocking the pope given their leader’s disposition in that direction is well known. So catholics could well understand why such a person would see no reason to have a fuss about such a mockery.

    What’s so shameful about this is that Rev Dickinson has neither resigned for the offence he caused nor has his church seen fit to take any action against him. Disgraceful and Un Christian in the extreme.

  • Gonzo

    Has the Presbyterian Church issued a statement?

  • Tiny

    Why should the Presbyterian Church make a statement, Donaldson should, on Talkback he referred repeatedly to the event being a Gospel Concert, he should have owned up to it being a DUP fundraiser organised by fellow ex-UUP members, instead he allowed Drumbo Church take the blame

  • Gonzo

    Why should the Presbyterian Church make a statement

    Because it was a Presbyterian minister that made the ‘joke’. not the Gospel Concert/DUP fundraiser.

  • Tiny

    Gonzo, I accept you point, however there was an element of deception involved in the booking of the hall by the Chairman of the DUP’s Downshire Branch. It seems that the church didn’t realise what the meeting was for, i.e fundraising, also it was quite clear that Donaldson was hiding this from listeners during his time on Talkback allowing Drumbo Pres to take the blame

  • Tiny

    As was said earlier, is there another political party in Western Europe that would hold a Gospel Concert to raise funds for a political party?

  • Alan2

    I have heard the Rev Dickinson at a mission organised by the Faith Mission and he is a good preacher….he intersperses alot of jokes and stories amongst his preaching. Never heed a word of it. It is simply PC madness. The man does an awful lot for charity and if people are devoid of a sense of humour then they must surely live a very miserable life? How many people have heard and laughed at the ethiopian jokes? Just about everybody. It A JOKE. In reality it is a sad situation and most people try to help the situation in Africa.

  • Tiny

    Alan2, if the whole thing was so inocent why didn’t Donaldson admit it was a DUP fundraiser organised by the the chairman of the Downshire branch, as I have said earlier, he choose to let the church in Drumbo take the blame, the man is a coward

  • maca

    You’re wrong there Alan. Yes we have heard and probably laughed at Ethiopian jokes, that doesn’t make them ok. Somethings shouldn’t be joked about, it’s not “PC madness”, it’s simple decency.

  • Tiny

    maca, isn’t that what it says on Basil McCrea’a billboards in Lagan Valley, maybe Basil has found Jeffrey’s weak spot

  • smcgiff

    ‘The man does an awful lot for charity and if people are devoid of a sense of humour then they must surely live a very miserable life?’

    Quite right, they’re only jokes. In fact, he should take it on tour.

    There’s plenty of source material of late. I’m sure there’s a sketch somewhere that could convey the hilarity of the Tsunami. Perhaps he could pretend to be a ten year old stuck under debris as the water rises. There wouldn’t be a dry pants in the house.

    Did you hear the joke about the Queen? No?
    She changes religion when she crosses the Scottish Border. Hilarious! Sure beats the transubstantiation Malarkey of the cod eaters.

  • Tiny

    What about a joke about the party leader who hides during election campains, as Noel Thompson said at the end of this weeks ‘Talkback’, “we have invited the leader of the DUP”, doubtless Robinson will turn up

  • Alan2

    Tiny – are you talking about this event or the minister`s remarks? I have no idea who the event was for. If it was a DUP fundraiser or a simple gospel meeting…so what? makes absolutely no difference.

    How many jobs do you have Tiny?
    Paisley has quite a few including running his church.

    “Somethings shouldn’t be joked about, it’s not “PC madness”, it’s simple decency.”

    Perhaps but I would like to know the words and context of the joke before I would go condemning someone who I have heard preach the Christian messgage.