Mixed messages over Loyalist Cemetery Picket

Posters plastered on walls throughout the Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey indicate that some loyalists are intent on staging a protest at today’s Cemetery Sunday service in the nearby Carnmoney cemetery. However, loyalist paramilitary groups issued a joint statement over the weekend urging their supporters to stay away from the planned protest.

  • I saw the headline on the Daily Ireland and I’ve heard of these protests before. I think this kind of protest is ridiculous and would love to know how this service affects them. I’m not sure that overhearing a religious service is really grounds for a protest, otherwise I might be “protesting” at my local church when they start ringing the bells next Sunday and waking me from a well deserved lie-in!

  • Hidden Gem

    I would be pleased and grateful if anyone reading this, regardless of the Faith to which they subscribe, be it Catholic, Protestant, COI, Presbyterian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Sikh etc said a prayer for the deceased members of my family.

    The call by loyalist paramilitaries for people “not to respond to the calls for a Loyalist Protest in relation to Cemetery Sunday” is only right. It would be, as they claim, “in the interest of Civil and Religious Liberty for all…” I personally fail to see how such a service could offend someone’s religious sensibilities. I know that all of our dead are prayed for on this occasion, regardless of which community they come from. It sounds as if some people are working to their own misguided agenda in stoking the fires of bitterness.

  • I can understand people being annoyed about the PA system but it sounds like a bit of a flimsy excuse to be offended. How long is the service and have they actually asked them to turn the PA system down a notch?

  • Crataegus

    Have these idiots nothing better to worry about? I think that we as a society should take a much stronger line regarding those who organise this and similar protests.

    When will people in NI just go about their own business and stop going out of their way looking for trouble and looking to be offended?

    I wonder if those organising this are in full time employment? Am I, and probably many of those attending the service, helping to feed them? I support paying tax for pensions, health service and education, but it really sickens me to have to pay to maintain the intolerant who obviously have nothing better to worry about or do.

  • conor

    beano,

    you are a moron. You want the PA system turned down?

  • If the complaint is that it’s too loud, I asked if they had approached the organisers about reducing the volume so it could be heard by those in the cemetary but not the surrounding residential area. That’s mornonic how exactly?

    And read what I said. I didn’t say I want it turned down. It seems that only a moron would misquote someone and then insult them based on what they didn’t say.

  • lib2016

    Fiendish devils, themmuns! Using a Catholic P.A. system in a Proddie graveyard.

  • Garibaldy

    The original excuse was that holy water was being sprinkled on protestant graves. Glad to see a new excuse has been found.

  • paisley tweed

    This is the true Unionist culture. No different from Holy Cross, Harryville etc. So why pick on this ne as they only want to walk the Queen’s Highway.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t particularly trust the loyalist paramilitaries. If they wanted to stop the protest they would be more than capable of doing it. I suspect they’re just playing to the media.

    I was hoping that unionist politicians might be able to bring themselves to condemn the protest this time around, but I find that I’ve been disappointed once again. A few years ago one of the local unionist councillors blamed the rioting that occurred on the Catholic priest, who he claimed had “provoked” the riots. The trouble is that some unionists don’t think the right to assemble and have a religious service applies to anyone other than them.

    This nonsense about a PA system is ridiculous. It’s just a taig-hating protest.

  • TAFKABO

    The trouble is that some unionists don’t think the right to assemble and have a religious service applies to anyone other than them

    Well at least it’s one area where both sides seem tp be in agreement.
    This protest , if it goes ahead, is ill judged and totaly inexcusable.
    Why, it would be like starting a riot in Dublin, just because some prods wanted to walk down a street.

  • Fanny

    “The original excuse was that holy water was being sprinkled on protestant graves.”

    Eh? Is Catholicism the sole Christian denomination to use holy water. News to me.

  • Crataegus

    Protesting For Dummies

    Chapter 1

    Events to avoid when organising a protest.

    1 Commemorating the dead.
    2 Burying the dead.
    3 Children going to school.

  • TAFKABO

    Brillant.

  • TAFKABO

    s/b Brilliant.

  • Garibaldy

    Fanny,

    Anglicans may use it. I don’t think demoninations like the Presbyerians (the largest group) do, but am open to correction. The water was an excuse but theologically justified, in the same way that the Catholic Church does not recognise the communion in other churches as valid.

  • Fanny

    “…demoninations like the Presbyerians…”

    Garibaldy, that must rank as the best Freudian slip ever on Slugger.

  • Jo

    There’ll be the Devil to pay for that slip, Gari 🙂

  • TAFKABO

    I’ve always been led to believe it was an exclusively Catholic thing. I cn think of no Protestant denominations that use “holy” water. I’d be interested to know if there were, or even if the Orthodox church uses it.

  • Fanny

    Damned Catholics, claiming everything for themselves!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_water

  • Grandma

    Good on the protesters for taking the fight to the old Catholic ladies who go to events like this. Shades of Holy Cross. Have Unionists no shame?

  • Occasional Commentator

    Surely Protestants don’t believe the water is in any sense “holy”, therefore they may as well protest against the rain! (No offence meant if I’ve not understood the theology right – I’m just a curious atheist).

  • Reader

    Occasional Commentator: Surely Protestants don’t believe the water is in any sense “holy”, therefore they may as well protest against the rain!
    And President McAleese can pop in for some bread and wine in a Prod church, anytime.

  • Garibaldy

    My view that all religions are Satanic seems to have slipped out.

  • Fanny

    I’m tempted to quote Baudelaire but figure that might be pretentious in a thread about Loyalist yahoos.

  • Robert Saulters

    I think the suppliers of the PA system are missing a trick. Surely there is great mileage to be made from martekting the fact that their PA systems are so loud.

    I think the Order could look into getting the same supplier for the Field next year as you cannot hear d1ck when you are taking things easy at the back.

  • bertie

    Hidden Gem

    “I would be pleased and grateful if anyone reading this, regardless of the Faith to which they subscribe, be it Catholic, Protestant, COI, Presbyterian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Sikh etc said a prayer for the deceased members of my family. ”

    I understand your sentiments but Protestants (or most of them anyway), don’t believe in prayers for the dead, only the living as the dead are beleived to be no longer needing them. May they rest in peace is possibly the nearest we can do for you.

    “The call by loyalist paramilitaries for people “not to respond to the calls for a Loyalist Protest in relation to Cemetery Sunday” is only right. It would be, as they claim, “in the interest of Civil and Religious Liberty for all…”

    It is indeed right to call for people not to join this protest, but considering that these people have done so much to put people in graves, I am unimpressed.

    “I personally fail to see how such a service could offend someone’s religious sensibilities. ”

    It strains my imagination as well.

    “I know that all of our dead are prayed for on this occasion, regardless of which community they come from. It sounds as if some people are working to their own misguided agenda in stoking the fires of bitterness. “

  • Dr Strangelove

    Bertie – “It is indeed right to call for people not to join this protest, but considering that these people have done so much to put people in graves, I am unimpressed”

    Are you saying that the Catholic attendees were Republican paramilitary activists ? Have you gone to the police with your evidence Bertie ? Could we possibly have a taster of the evidence which you have ?

  • Donnacha

    Surely Bertie meant the Loyaslist paramilitaries who spoke out against the protest. Surely.

  • Dr Strangelove

    Ah, I hope so, I think I might have misread Bertie’s post. If I have, apologies.

  • bertie

    Donnacha
    I did indeed

    Dr Strangelove,
    I’m horrified to think that my point was misuderstood and am glad that you asked so that it gives me the chance to clarify. Apology accepted.

    BTW. That last bit of my first comment was from Hidden Gem’s quote. I was going to make another comment but changed my mind. I forgot to delete it.

  • Canaan banana

    i had heard during the last series of protests about cemetry sunday in Glengormley that Billy Hutchinson claimed that it was in some way justified because soem of the head stones were ‘provocative’ so that’s all right then!(sarcasm)

  • Comrade Stalin

    I remember when this whole business was discussed a while ago.

    Holy water is created when a Catholic cleric blesses it, isn’t that right ? In that case couldn’t Ratzinger merely extend his hands and bless all of the water in the entire world, rendering all drinking water, seawater, fresh water and so on contaminated by Popery ? What would the protestors do then ?

  • Bob

    once again unionist politicians are silent

  • Billy

    Bob

    Absolutely correct! Two responses from Unionist politicians – either silence or some attempt at justifying this blatently sectarian protest.

    I remember Billy Hutchinson trying to justify this protest and also being verbally torn to ribbons on national television when he attempted to justify the Holy Cross protests – in the end he stormed off one interview live on air as he knew that he was out of his depth (hardly difficult).

    This protest is nothing but pure anti-Catholic hatred and could only be supported by b-i-g-o-t-s.

    Holy Cross was the same. The only “good” thing that came out of it was the massive publicity it got worldwide. I was living in London at the time and my English friends were truly horrified when they saw the naked hatred for Catholics being taken out on little children – throwing bags of Urine, explicit pornographic pictures being waved etc.

    There was a clip of 3 generations of a Protestant family (a 70 year old woman, and a child of about 12) shouting f***ing fenian c**ts at the children.

    Despite the attempts of the Unionist media and politicians to portray all the trouble in North Belfast as being caused by Catholics with Protestants as victims, the Holy Cross protest educated a lot of impartial people to the truth.

    Thank God there has been no repetition of this and the call from “Loyalist” paramilitaries to stay away must be welcomed.

    However, the fact that this protest happens at all shows that there is still an element of pure anti-Catholic hatred. We await the condemnation from the DUP – but not with bated breath!

  • carnmoney

    In fairness to some unionists, they haven’t all been silent. Yesterdays’s service was attended by the Alliance Mayor of Newtownabbey, Lynn Frazer, with her DUP Deputy, Billy de Courcey, and a few other councillors – UUP, SDLP, Alliance.

  • Digger

    I’ve been to a few funerals up at Carnmoney – invariably wet and howling wind all year round. I doubt if the local yahoos could strain their ears to hear any broadcast from the graveyard unless the PA system is pretty exceptional a la Snow Patrol. I can remember the Born Again brethren blasting out hymns and scary shouting on the grassy knoll next to the flats, though strangely enough, they faced the Valley Leisure Centre car park in an attempt to convert the athletic. I think they must have given up on the godless local Prods. Similarly, Carrickfergus used to have the angry ranters with a pa system on market day which did not seem to attract much in the way of objections, though it was obvious toddlers and small children were filled with the fear of god as they were dragged past. I can hear (due to bionic implants – 5 mile radius) Orange bands practising in Rathcoole during the summer yet I fail to muster any offence. Am I normal?

  • Hidden Gem

    bertie

    “…Protestants (or most of them anyway), don’t believe in prayers for the dead, only the living as the dead are beleived to be no longer needing them.”

    If this is really the case, I am truly astonished as I was under the (admittedly misguided?) impression that all, Christian denominations believed in a final day of judgment. Furthermore, I thought the Protestant Faith held the belief that salvation is achieved by a person repenting for their wrong doing and this “repentance” could take place at any point before the final Day of Judgment. If this is not the case, what is believed to happen to the soul after our bodies depart this earthly existence? Does it go to a holding place? And does that mean that our prayers are of no use to souls in this holding place who are awaiting their Day of Judgment? I personally know people of varying Christian faith denominations who reject the idea of “Purgatory” and “Hell” outright because it presuppose an uncompassionate God ready to torture his creation by imprisoning people because of their wrong doings.

    “…considering that these people have done so much to put people in graves, I am unimpressed.”
    Surely you would not judge all Catholics by the actions of the paramilitaries? The murderous actions of any terrorist group find no justification in either the Catholic or Protestant faiths.

    It seems to me that the objections surrounding this issue are far from theological and that “Religion” is being scapegoated here for small minded political expediency.

  • Brian Boru

    I think these protesters are truly beneath contempt if they go ahead with this. A truly bigoted and sectarian act that all sides should condemn.

  • Daisy

    The actions of loyalist paramilitaries have been applauded for stopping a blatantly sectarian protest which had no moral or political point as if we should be grateful to them. Why is that?

  • Reader

    Hidden Gem: If this is really the case, I am truly astonished as I was under the (admittedly misguided?) impression that all, Christian denominations believed in a final day of judgment.
    But I’m not sure what that has to do with prayers for the dead, which seems to be an attempt to tell an omniscient deity that he might have been a wee bit harsh about our Sara’s soul, and could she be bumped up a level…
    Nor am I sure that every denomination believes the sames things about the day of judgement, in particular, what the souls of the dead are doing in the meantime.

  • Reader

    Daisy: as if we should be grateful to them. Why is that?
    It’s called “positive reinforcement”, and it may well be useful to go along with it. For instance: I have praised each of my children in turn for nearly getting everything into the potty.

    The GFA was built on that sort of thing. And look at the number of people who wanted Gerry to get a Nobel Peace Prize for not supporting killing any more.

  • Fanny

    “Nor am I sure that every denomination believes the sames things about the day of judgement, in particular, what the souls of the dead are doing in the meantime.”

    There’s the first difficulty right there, Reader: “meantime”. According to Christian theology such things exist outside time. Just as God had no beginning or end so can the date of the Day of Judgement not be fixed. In eternal terms it’s meaningless.

    Similarly there never “was” a war in heaven and all its “consequences”. Outside our human consciousness there is no past, no present, no future. The Reformation came about partly because bishops were trying to sell “time off” in Purgatory, an absurdity for a “place” not subject to temporal laws.

    I’ve tried to be as succinct as possible. Whole libraries are devoted this issue alone.

  • Hidden Gem

    Reader,

    I had previously stated my failure to comprehend the grounds for any possible theological objection to a service that commemorates the dead and, consequently, why anyone would feel the need to protest. Bertie made reference a fact which surprised me and one that, even now, I find difficult to believe…., namely that most Protestants don’t believe in prayers for the dead. I think Fanny has quite succinctly explained such a theological difference but I am still unsure as to why anyone would feel the need to protest at such an event. It still seems that “Religion” is not really he issue here but instead, it is being used as an excuse to continue and perpetrate some people’s bitterness. May be Mick should consider starting an ecumenical blog to allow people of faith to offer prayers for our community?

  • bertie

    Hidden Gem

    Fanny has a better understanding that I do about the theology of the dead so I’ll leave that. I wasn’t offering it as justification of the protests but in answer to your request for paryers for your family.


    “…considering that these people have done so much to put people in graves, I am unimpressed.”
    Surely you would not judge all Catholics by the actions of the paramilitaries? ”

    No” read the few posts under my origonal one.

    “The murderous actions of any terrorist group find no justification in either the Catholic or Protestant faiths”

    Agreed!.

  • Reader

    Hidden Gem: I had previously stated my failure to comprehend the grounds for any possible theological objection…
    Well, grounds for disagreement don’t amount to grounds for an objection – not by most people and in particular not in this case. Theological dispute ought to be a matter for consenting adults.
    But in any case I don’t think that the protestors were motivated by theological differences. It was enough that it was a public service by “themmuns”.

  • Bushmills

    Hidden Gem

    Prayers for the dead are most definitely not offered by Protestant churches who interpret what the Bible says: “it is appointed unto man once to die, and after death, the judgement” literally.

    Similarly Roman Catholic practices such as counting rosary beads, confessing your sins to a man when you can confess them directly to God (the death of Christ removed the need for a Priest to interceeed with God on our behalf) and the belief that a container of water over which a priest mumbles a few words suddenly becomes “Holy” are not ascribed to by the reformed churches.

    As for the “protest” itself – I doubt very very much if most of the participants in this hateful exercise have darkened the door of a Protestant Church since they were at Sunday School. I am pleased that it didn’t go ahead and hope the issue will be finally put to bed.

  • Hidden Gem

    Point taken bertie, it seems we are in agreement.

    Reader – “…grounds for disagreement don’t amount to grounds for an objection – not by most people and in particular not in this case.”

    I don’t agree. History is littered with examples of cases where disagreement, in particular disagreement of a theological nature, has resulted in physical disaccord and objection. There are just too many examples in the history books to cite and that’s not even looking at the state the world is in at the moment – all because of “Religion”.

    However I do agree with you in your doubt that the protestors were motivated by theological differences.

    Point taken Bushmills. “…Protestant churches who interpret what the Bible says…, : …literally.” Therein lie the difference eh?

    I would willingly expand on how mantric forms of prayer, such as the Rosary, are not uncommon in many Religions not just the Judaeo-Christian type, the theology behind the role of Peter (..on this rock I will build my church) for, amongst others, the purpose of the sacrament of reconciliation, the historical and theological significance of Holy Water and much more besides…. However, I don’t think this is the appropriate blog for it.

    It seems most people blogging here are of the same opinion, that sectarian bitterness rather than genuine religious objections of a theological nature are behind threats of protest at the Cemetery Sunday service at Carnmoney cemetery.

    I wonder what, if anything, will happen next year?

  • Fanny

    Bushmills

    It is certainly not part of Roman Catholic belief that when a priest “mumbles a few words” over water it “suddenly becomes ‘Holy'”.

    I knew “The Return of the King” was, for many gullible people, one episode of “Lord of the Rings” too many. Magic does not figure in Catholicism.