Take it down from the mast?

Bit of a stink brewing in Wexford after local MEP, Avril Doyle, had a Papal flag and Irish tricolour removed from a local church prior to her daughter’s wedding last month. The Fine Gael politician has defended her decision to seek the removal of the flags, saying, “It was my personal call as I believe there is no place in church for flags of any kind.” The Catholic Church in Ireland, unlike other Christian Churches, does not have a tradition of flying flags in churches. In this case, however, the flags had been in place since local celebrations in 2003 to commemorate the bicentenary of a priest’s (Fr James Dixon) first Mass in Australia.

  • sammaguire

    First step in the proposed FG/Alliance merger?? Cute hoors!!

  • páid

    Ah, good, a thread about flags.

    I’ll put the kettle on.

  • Tkmaxx

    Avril,should have had her daughter married elsewhere. Non catholics attending the wedding can hardly complain about a papal flag being flown from a Catholic Church. As for national flags – I agree national flags should not be flown from churches. Avril is right though it was her personal choice – respect it for that and dont try to draw a political point from it.

  • Dawkins

    Chris,

    “The Catholic Church in Ireland, unlike other Christian Churches, does not have a tradition of flying flags in churches.”

    They gave it up long ago. They found the only way to do it was to open all the church doors on an unusually windy day.

  • Chris Donnelly

    very good Dawkins.

    Tom K
    Seems to be causing enough of a stir to be discussed, don’t ya think?

  • ulsterfan

    A brave woman not afraid to speak her mind.
    The flying of flags is thankfully not a problem throughout the country.

  • George

    You’d swear it was Avril who was getting married with all the decisions she seems to have made about the day.

  • sammaguire

    Didn’t actually notice the Papal flag bit. That’s a joke. Why bother get married in a Catholic church (nobody forced her) if you have a problem with a Papal flag. Anyway hope she wasn’t doing the driving home after the reception!

    http://www.octane.ie/forum/archive/index.php?t-37.html

  • I hate flags in or around church. Good on ye Avril!

  • sportsman
  • Pancho’s Horse

    Isn’t it amazing the number of people who still fondly believe that there is an ‘Irish Church’? It was swamped by the Brits and the Roman Church back in 1200.A Celtic Church may have been bearable (or tholeable, as we Ulster Scots say).

  • Wolfe Tone

    Don’t care for Avril and I’m an Irish Republican but Irish flags in churches I don’t agree with. Can’t see why she has a problem with Papal flag in an RC Church.

  • sportsman

    When I went to a wedding in Clare a few years back the road from the house to the church (200 yards or so) was festooned with tricolours alternated with Munster flags and the little car park in front of the church had the yellow and white flying too. I think the father of the bride paid for them but I dont recall any objections.In fact it was rather beautiful.

  • Donnacha

    Don’t see the point of flying a tricolour in a church myself, although the Papal flag does have some relevance. Incidentally, it’s a lovely church. I got married there in 1994 for all the good it did me. I rememebr the parish priest of the time looked alarmingly like Christopher Plummer and when we asked about using our own music he replied “Is it sacred or profane?”
    I said “It’s traditional.”
    “Ah, lovely,” he replied. “‘Tis both.”

  • heck

    The Fine Gael politician has defended her decision to seek the removal of the flags, saying, “It was my personal call as I believe there is no place in church for flags of any kind.

    most catholic churches in the united states fly an american flag! whats the difference? while it is a divisive issue in Norn it should only be an issue for west brits in ireland.

  • Donnacha

    As I said I just don’t see any point in it. Any communicants in Crossabeg – whether they be of the daily or occasional species – will know fine well what country they’re in. Although it must be said that it’s not without precedent in Wexford. There was always a rather spendid tricolour, fringed with gold threads in St Aidan’s cathedral in Enniscorthy for some unknown reason. It hung in front of a list of dead Bishops of Ferns. So maybe it’s a Wexford thing, although the Shannon Chapel just across the bridge form the cathedral never saw the need for one.

  • Pounder

    [i]You’d swear it was Avril who was getting married with all the decisions she seems to have made about the day.

    Posted by George on Sep 24, 2007 @ 10:48 PM[/i]

    yeah sure Georgie the mother of the Bride is nobody, oh wait. Do you really think that Avril was making any unilateral decision her daughter disagreed with? Heaven forbid that anyone else would make a [b]personal[/b] choice that you found disagreeable.

  • pith

    Just by the way, my favourite flag flying controversy comes from the sleepy English village of Thaxted where in the 1920s Conrad Noel, High Anglican priest and Christian Socialist hung the Irish Tricolour in the Church alongside the Red Flag and the Cross of Saint George.

  • finn

    I’ve only once seen the Papal flag in a Catholic church in GB. The Church of England are allowed to fly St George’s cross with a badge – if they have permission of the Earl Marshal – a Roman Catholic! The only time I’ve seen any national flag in a Catholic Church is when it’s graped on the coffin of a deceased vetran – mainly the Union Flag and once the Polish flag

  • bollix

    re the flying of the papal flag – apparently the pope is a catholic.

    I remember seeing the American flag flying in catholic churches when i was over in the states and I always felt slightly uncomfortable about national flags in a church. It seemed to me to identify the church too much with nationalism. I was at Shaw’s Saint Joan last night (fantastic play btw, really superb) and one of the priest characters said something along the lines of the church recognising no kingdom but God’s kingdom.

  • most catholic churches in the united states fly an american flag! whats the difference? while it is a divisive issue in Norn it should only be an issue for west brits in ireland.

    So, because the Americans buy into a form of particularly stupid ultra-nationalism, we should to? Irish people should (and usually do) have more sense.

  • Dawkins

    If the parish priest had any enterprising spirit at all, he’d cut the papal flag up into little pieces and offer them on eBay :0)

  • Todd

    Look the simple reason she did this and obviously won’t admit to is because she is a west brit. end of…

  • George

    Pounder,
    the secret to a peaceful and pleasant wedding day in my view is where the couple, and the couple alone, make the decisions about the big day.

    I find it odd that mother of the bride said she decided how the layout of the Church would be. No mention of the daughter or the son-in-law from Avril.

    Personally I think it was simply a case of lovely white orchids and fancy limos for a snazzy society wedding not fitting in with couple of grubby four-year-old flags at the altar so good old Avril decided they must be gone and found a pretty little principle to justify it.

  • Harry

    I understand her decision to remove the flag – it is a political interruption of a spiritual event. If spirituality is about the Brotherhood of Man then why have political symbols placed within it? Pure spirituality would be more pleasing and appropriate at that moment.

  • Harry

    Besides we don’t have a tradition of flags in churches in this country.

  • CincinnatiDave

    So, because the Americans buy into a form of particularly stupid ultra-nationalism, we should to? Irish people should (and usually do) have more sense.

    Posted by Sammy Morse on Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:27 AM

    Thanks Sammy. Thats the funniest thing I have read this morning!

    Good old Americans & their “stupid ultra-nationalism”…

    Actually for most folks here they simply have a deep love for their country. I think its called patriotism. Sure its been used & abused by some but its hardly ultra-nationalism. They revere their veterans & honour their flag. I am honoured to have such friends.

    In our congregation we have folks from over a dozen nations & the US flag along with about 70 others hang from the back wall. Yes Ireland is there along with Scotland, Iran, China & a host of others. We pray for those lands & have some involvement with work in maybe 2 dozen.

    The only time the Ulster flag has made it is a couple of years back when we had a St.pats party & both it & Irish flag were pinned up on the wall together. Very nice they looked too! 🙂

    “Irish people should (and usually do) have more sense.”
    Yes we are known the world over as sensible people…
    how could I forget?

    Cheers
    David

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Avril Doyle is right to request their removal. Places of worship should be non-political. Deep spiritual belief should not be tainted by worldly nationalism. But how should I know being a stone cold atheist.

    But an old republican song written by Dominic Behan comes to mind and as Avril is a Fine Gaeler kinda contradictory…..

    Take it down from the mast, Irish traitors
    The flag we Republicans claim.
    It can never belong to Free Staters,
    You’ve brought on it nothing but shame.

  • Garibaldy

    How come the priest didn’t say it’s up to him how the church is festooned? The arrogance involved in asking to change the decorations of the church is breathaking.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    ”How come the priest didn’t say it’s up to him how the church is festooned? The arrogance involved in asking to change the decorations of the church is breathaking.”

    I’m sure if she is giving ‘Father Ted’ a few bob to pay for the use of the church she should have some sort of a say especially if she is a regular mass goer and regularly paying her dues.

  • Garibaldy

    G,

    Not the way the Catholic Church is supposed to work. Otherwise you end up back in the C18th when local families nominated people to be priests purely because they were connected to them, resulting in numerous disasters.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Anyhow I wouldn’t have thought Avril Doyle (being a Fine Gaeler) or her family would have an asociation with the church given all those years trying of to legalise divorce in the RoI. A registry office I thought would be more apt.

  • Splurge

    She was completely wrong in saying “It was my personal call”. Leaving aside the views of the bride and groom, it’s an issue for the Church authorities, not Avril.

    Having side that – flags should not appear on the sanctuary of a Catholic Church full stop. I don’t think her issue was the type of flag as such.

    The tradition in the US comes from books of remembrance after WW1 and in many cases this was in the porch or an alcove, not up at the altar.

    As for Pancho’s Horse – there never was a “Celtic Church” distinct from the Catholic Church. As St Patrick said, “As you are children of Christ, be you also children of Rome”.

  • Reader

    Splurge: Quoting St Patrick ” “As you are children of Christ, be you also children of Rome”
    Um, since that means that if you aren’t a child of Rome you aren’t a child of Christ, I doubt that opinion would get universal agreement in Ireland – in several contexts!

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Why did the Pope give his backing to the Billy Boy to come over and show us the error of our ways? Of course there was a Celtic church. It had a monastic basis and the monks could cohabit to their hearts’ content and it was very successful.

  • The Dubliner

    She was completely wrong in saying “It was my personal call”. – Splurge

    Agreed. It would only be her call if the church was her private property. Since the flag was there since 2003 and she didn’t object to it before the marriage, it is likely that she is not a regular churchgoer there, so she should be publically thanking the local church for acceding to her whim rather than publically rebuking them and other churchgoers for putting the flag there.

    She should also be called upon by local voters to demonstrate that the real issue isn’t a lack of patriotism for the national flag. If it is, they should decline to vote for her.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    As for Pancho’s Horse – there never was a “Celtic Church” distinct from the Catholic Church. As St Patrick said, “As you are children of Christ, be you also children of Rome”.

    Ermm …this bit was probably added by Rome in latter years. Who knows if it is authentic, as indeed the bit about the snakes and the shamrocks….ahem!

    The ‘Celtic Church’ as it has become known was indeed unique and somewhat different to mainstream Roman Christianity at the time, from what we know today. Besides somewhat differing customs, the Irish monks attired themselves diffently, sporting different hairstyles ‘tonsures’ etc… Christianity is said to have already been in Ireland (prior to the arrival of St Patrick) arriving here with Egyptian Coptic Christian monks on the west coast of Ireland seeking solitude on the likes of the skelligs where beehive hts can be still found today. Hence the uniqueness of the ‘Celtic Church’ and all it’s trappings. ie….The ‘Celtic Cross’ may have derived from the Egyptian Ankh. Egyptian T-crosses can be found on ‘Celtic’ crosses.