Drawing a line

Commenting about his upcoming meeting with Archbishop Brady, Ian Paisley has drawn a line between religion and politics.

“I wasn’t going to have an ecumenical dialogue with him…We are going to talk of matters that he wants to talk about relevant to the political situation.”

Meanwhile, religious commentator Alf McCreary is using the dreaded ‘h’ word for the meeting.

  • JR

    It’s the Demon Doc’s last chance to come back into the fold of the Mother Church.

  • Nevin

    “he wants to talk about”

    FD, what do you think the DUP want Sean Brady to do?

    PS Still no mention of this encounter on the DUP website. They’re not usually so coy.

  • Tochais Siorai

    A northern version of Father Ted.

  • willis

    Here is what Ivan Foster had to say about the last time loyalists met the Archbishop.

    http://www.ivanfoster.org/article.asp?date=9/2/2006&seq=6

  • DaithiO

    Ivan Foster, a voice of reason ?

  • Greenflag

    Lest we forget these two clerics are meeting to discuss ‘politics’ not religion . At no prior time in the history of Ireland has the role of religion in politics been weaker . This is an attempt by Brady to pretend that the past can be brought back and an attempt by Paisley to ‘soften’ his traditional anti catholic and anti irish long playing record of half a century or more .

    The problem in NI is ‘political’ not ‘religious’.
    It needs to be solved by political means .

  • Nevin

    “I hope that those who have power to do so, will commit themselves totally to a shared and positive future, by putting in place a local power-sharing Assembly which has full community support for the institutions of law and order. I hope that all those who can make this happen will consider carefully their responsibility to the greater good and the benefits of local accountability” – Archbishop Brady 23 Sep 2006

    More

  • POL

    So why meet Brady?.Brady does not speak for Nationalism nor Republicanism.Is he elected by popular vote does he have a mandate? Paisley ought to be talking to elected representatives, and like he says they are not discussing ecumenical matters.

  • pith

    Now that it has nothing to do with religion does that mean the meeting will not be included in the “Rome in the News” section on the European Institute of Protestant Studies website?

    This really is rich from someone who has spent a lifetime mixing up politics and religion.

  • John East Belfast

    I dont get it with Paisley.

    In his mind how is it worse to sit down with the political wing of the IRA than it is to sit down with a Senior Officer of the anti Christ ?

    He is prepared to talk politics with the devil and not with SF ?

  • Nevin

    POL, Sean Brady identifies with these remarks:

    “After partition Northern Nationalists kept a respectful distance from the State and became ‘a society within a society’. The Catholic Church was the key institution in integrating the community and clerical leadership was important. There was an intertwining of Catholicism, Irish culture and political nationalism.”

    More

    Is the Catholic Church no longer providing this function? Has it been supplanted by the ‘Republican Movement’ ie the PIRA Army Council?

  • Greenflag

    POL,

    ‘Brady does not speak for Nationalism nor Republicanism.’

    Precisely . Paisley however speaks for Unionism or at least a majority of Unionists ‘ By ‘overcoming’ his personal disdain (his perfect right of course for ‘catholicism ‘ or suspending it temporarily’ ) and meeting with Brady , Paisley sends out a message that the RC Church in the person of Brady somehow ‘represents’ the politics of the Irish people . Archbishop Brady is not an elected politician as Paisley is .

    Brady should have told Paisley that if he Paisley wants to discuss politics he should do so with the politicians who have been elected by the people. Brady I’m sure means well but his political naivety is breathtaking .

    pith,

    ‘This really is rich from someone who has spent a lifetime mixing up politics and religion.’

    What mixing up ? They are one and the same for Paisley just as they are for the Taliban and just as they were for the medieval RC Church in Europe or for Calvinist Republic in reformation Switzerland .

    The Irish Republic should have nothing to do with Paisley or his ilk . And Brady ashould focus his efforts on trying to stave off the decline of the RC Church in Ireland instead of seeming to give spurious legitmacy to the outdated and backward ‘medievalism ‘ of the FP and DUP mix of old time religion and God politics .

  • seabhac siulach

    “Meanwhile, religious commentator Alf McCreary is using the dreaded ‘h’ word for the meeting. ”

    Is it a case of…when pope and history rhyme… (apologies)

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I think we’re missing the point here. Of course Paisley and Brady aren’t going to thrash out the future of Ireland at their meeting. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about optics.

    Cast your minds back to ’97. Doesn’t anyone else remember the Ulster Unionist leadership – Trimble, Taylor, Empey and Nesbitt (I think) – all heading up to Ara Coeli to meet the Archbishop? That in itself was a first.

    And why did Trimble meet with Brady? Two reasons. One: to be seen to be doing something and thereby buy himself some time; and two: to prepare the grassroots for the fast-approaching day when they would have to enter negotiations with Sinn Fein.

    Now, a mere nine years on, Paisley has arrived at the same situation as Trimble, and I think it’s even more interesting than Trimble’s position was then. Trimble would not have had any religious difficulties in meeting with Brady – we know that Paisley does. That this meeting is happening suggests that, regardless of what he might claim, he IS feeling under pressure.

    (If a novelist were to write the life of Ian Paisley, the trip back to his original hometown of Armagh would be such a womderful penultimate chapter that it’s hard to believe that this is actually happening. The piquancy of the situation is heightened by the fact that the Archbishop’s palatial residence is a mere few hundred yards from the now-derelict house in the now-republican area of Armagh where, eighty years ago, Ian Kyle Paisley was born, the son of a firebrand Baptist preacher. That’s where his life began and, now that it’s nearing its end, it’s quite something that he should be returning.)

    But as I say: we’ve seen this movie before, we know what this means and we know what happens next.

  • Nevin

    “he should be returning.”

    ??? Isn’t the meeting at Stormont?

  • willis

    Nevin

    C’mon, it’s a novel

  • No Dozer

    Greenflag

    Are you saying that the Free P’s who live on the Free State side of the border are the scum of the earth.Should people shun them and boycott their businesses?

  • páid

    The Doc has nothing to worry about. He’ll get two Hail Marys and a Glory Be.

    “Leave open the door, good man, Mrs Doyle’s still waiting.

    Now, Oh My God, because thou art so good….”

  • Greenflag

    ‘Are you saying that the Free P’s who live on the Free State side of the border are the #### of the earth.’

    No . I’m sure most of them are decent people as are I’m sure most Moslems , Jews, Catholics , and Protestants atheists , and agnostics etc etc . You may have noticed that I’m opposed to clerics of any denomination being elected to the Dail or indeed Westminster.

    I don’t believe the DUP have anything to offer modern Ireland or indeed Northern Ireland except a divided sectarian past and an even more divided and sectarian future .

  • Greenflag

    Billy,

    ‘It’s about optics. ‘

    Indeed otherwise known as ‘smoking mirrors ‘

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “No . I’m sure most of them are decent people as are I’m sure most Moslems , Jews, Catholics , and Protestants atheists , and agnostics etc etc . You may have noticed that I’m opposed to clerics of any denomination being elected to the Dail or indeed Westminster. ”

    So its anti-democracy you are, eh — any candidate is acceptable, save for those who offend your sensibilities?

    Greenflag: “I don’t believe the DUP have anything to offer modern Ireland or indeed Northern Ireland except a divided sectarian past and an even more divided and sectarian future . ”

    For good or for ill, and Lord knows (sorry, no offense) that I have my opinions on the Rev. Dr. No, he represents a perspective — a popular one, apparently, given his party’s success at the polls. As such, what he is “selling” — continuation of the Union, colonial / unelected rule and a maintenance of the status quo — is being bought a plurality of the voting public.

    Downside of the democratic process — the people always get the government they deserve… or in this case, the lack thereof.

  • Greenflag

    ‘So its anti-democracy you are, eh—any candidate is acceptable, save for those who offend your sensibilities? ‘

    I’m not anti democratic . I prefer to keep Church and State separate . If I want to listen to religion I go to church and if I don’t I go elsewhere . If I have a headache I take an aspirin . I don’t go to a dermatologist .

    ‘he represents a perspective—a popular one, apparently, given his party’s success at the polls. ‘

    He gets 8% of the votes of all the people on this island and in Northern Ireland he gets 29% of the total electoral vote .

    I’m not denying his ‘popularity’ among his own narrow constituency . Slobodan Milosevic also enjoyed popularity and Hitler too got only 33% of the vote when he declared ‘democracy’ dead .The Taliban in Afghanistan got even more votes .

    Talking to any of the above would have a waste of time ?

    To be blunt after 40 years of the DUP farting around unnecessarily achieving in real political terms nothing bar the continued relative decline of NI what is any Irish Government or political party going to benefit from having anything to do with the DUP.

  • Nevin

    “He gets 8% of the votes of all the people on this island”

    Er, the island doesn’t have a government ….

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “He gets 8% of the votes of all the people on this island and in Northern Ireland he gets 29% of the total electoral vote . ”

    Within the current political realities, his hypothetical percentage of the “all Ireland” vote matter not a whit. What matters is that, right now, he has power over the process.

    Greenflag: “To be blunt after 40 years of the DUP farting around unnecessarily achieving in real political terms nothing bar the continued relative decline of NI what is any Irish Government or political party going to benefit from having anything to do with the DUP. ”

    Doesn’t matter — the DUP’s purpose is to maintain the status quo, i.e. the Union. They have succeeded in this purpose. That is may not suit your preferences likely doesn’t cost the Rev. Dr. No a bit of sleep. Likewise, the equations over who would or wouldn’t ally with the DUP in a hypothetical all-Irish parliment is of no import at this place and time.

    The Rev. Dr. No has nothing to gain and a bit to lose from going into government with SF. Ergo, there will always be a new objection, likely accompanied by blue smoke and mirrors — a special effect for effect. That said, wishing and imaging how weak the DUP would be if this was an all-Ireland gov’t is pointless.

  • Burkean

    Fair Deal may not like the ‘h word’, but surely it is right to use it in this context – it is, after all, the first time the DUP Leader has condescended to meet with the head of the RC Church in Ireland. Considering the long history of – how should we describe it? – the less than charitable theological and political polemic directed by Paisleyism towards RCism, how is the meeting not ‘historic’?

    As for the Doc drawing a line between religion and politics, this is another historic aspect to the event – that line was somewhat obscured from view when he (I’ll be charitable) expressed his objections to JP II addressing the European Parliament. So, yes, Paisleyism – or at any rate, Paisley – is moving on.

    I guess we should admire him for this historic step. After all Tony Blair only had to deal with Clause 4 – not a representative of the Anti-Christ.

  • Greenflag

    DreadCthulu, ‘What matters is that, right now, he has power over the process. ‘

    Only because Northern Nationalists and Republicans still believe that ‘power sharing ‘ is the answer to Northern Irelands’s constitutional impasse . IMO it’s not -it’s quite the reverse . The SDLP and SF should be looking for direct representation in the Dail and should be pushing for a ‘repartition ‘ solution so that the Irish people of Northern Ireland can look forward to a brighter economic and political future . The sight of SDLP and SF leaders ‘begging ‘ Paisley to stop saying NO to power sharing is pathethic . Have they any self respect left ? I did’nt think so which is why Paisley continues to wipe the floor with them . And now to rub salt into the SF and SDLP faces Paisley talks instead to the head of the RC Church .

    I’ll say one thing for Paisley he can spot a slavering lap dog without a backbone a mile away . And he’s got two in both SF and the SDLP:(

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    ‘Er, the island doesn’t have a government …. ‘

    Bertie has not resigned . So the island still has a Government 🙂

    Now if the other part of the island is still trying to assemble it’s assembly so that it can agree not to agree whatever it was that was’nt agreed upon in the first place or back in 1998,1974, 1920 etc etc etc that as somebody might say is being dealt with by the colonial government or overlord ?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “Only because Northern Nationalists and Republicans still believe that ‘power sharing ‘ is the answer to Northern Irelands’s constitutional impasse . IMO it’s not -it’s quite the reverse . The SDLP and SF should be looking for direct representation in the Dail and should be pushing for a ‘repartition ‘ solution so that the Irish people of Northern Ireland can look forward to a brighter economic and political future .”

    Riiiiiiiiiiight.

    Somehow, until a great many things are straightened out, I think the Republic would be loathe to take delivery, assuming arguendo that repartition was a realistic option under the circumstances your describe.

  • Greenflag

    DC,

    The repartition of NI will ‘evolve’ following the seven council re partitioning /redistricting plan . By the time the people/politicians get around to discussing it’s merits or demerits as a solution it will already be a fait accompli .

    The central fact of political life in Northern Ireland is that the State is divided from within approx 50/50 . Neither of the two main parties either SF or DUP have the stomach nor the ability nor the political know how or will to transform NI into less a public sector dependency and to a more modern economy.

    All that devolution would achieve for NI is that local politicians get to distribute English taxpayers money in NI.

    Seeing SF’s O’Caoleain getting an earful in the Dail yesterday one could not help feel that SF might find political life less difficult in the ‘soft ‘ North than in ‘tough’ Dublin .

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “The repartition of NI will ‘evolve’ following the seven council re partitioning /redistricting plan . By the time the people/politicians get around to discussing it’s merits or demerits as a solution it will already be a fait accompli . ”

    Perhaps is a federated state. N.I., still attached by a financial umbilical cord to “Mother” England, will not accomplish that much, even with the redistricting. They’ll talk a good game, but the immutable fact that N.I.’s economic life support comes from across the Irish Sea will prevent too much from being accomplished.

    Greenflag: “The central fact of political life in Northern Ireland is that the State is divided from within approx 50/50 . Neither of the two main parties either SF or DUP have the stomach nor the ability nor the political know how or will to transform NI into less a public sector dependency and to a more modern economy. ”

    And how is re-grouping the same players into different groups going to accomplish anything? Seven councils or seventy, they’ll not be allowed their own foreign policies, natioalist fever-dreams to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Greenflag: “Seeing SF’s O’Caoleain getting an earful in the Dail yesterday one could not help feel that SF might find political life less difficult in the ‘soft ‘ North than in ‘tough’ Dublin . ”

    Which makes me question SF’s motives — why all this unpleasentness to become a political non-entity for the foreseeable future? There will always be a more palatable coaltion partner than SF.