Old and new lights within the Orange?

Apparently Lá Nua broke this story on 11th July, and published a response from the Orange Order on 7th August. “Members of the Orange Order belong to the Institution because they are firmly committed to their Reformed Protestant Faith and in a world where secular values are changing the societies in which we live, our faith is important to us.”
A “senior member” of the Orange Order said to Lá Nua; “They might think they are being smart issuing that type of answer but it is showing that they are burying their heads in the sand. Many members have been very positive about the suggestion internally but nothing has happened at an official level yet”

A spokesman for the Order said that “we’re a pro-Protestant organisation, not an anti-Catholic one, we’re an All-Ireland body and we have members in nine counties in the Republic.”

The source in the Order said that the rules existed because Catholicism was a threat to Protestantism in Ireland historically, but that those days were long gone now. Ireland has changed so the Orange Order should change too,” he said.

Given the tendency of some senior unionist politicians to play close to the Pope Benedict’s Un-Enlightenment line on scientific thought, the old fracture lines have less resonance today more than ever?

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  • Occassional Commentor

    A hopeful development, I think.

  • RG Cuan

    I knew I read this story somewhere before the English language papers carried it this month…

  • Brian Walker

    It’s great to know that the debate is right back ALMOST to where it was 40 YEARS AGO, when the rows over Sunday swings and the Republican Clubs ban were also raging.

    INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO WHAT FOLLOWS

    Phelim O’Neill cousin of Terence was the Etonian squire of Lizard Manor Aghadowey, who hid a taste for a good scrap under an aristocratic air of not giving a damn and a black sense of humour.He was a Westminster then a Stormont MP who served briefly as Minister of Agriculture in the dying days of the last UU government of Brian Faulkner. He then went completely berserk, sent his daughters to the Loreto Convent in Coleraine and joined the Alliance Party. On the death in the early 80s of his father Hugh, the first Speaker of the NI Parliament, Phelim became Lord Rathcavan and decamped to Mayo. He died in 1994. I’m sure Phelim joined the Order for the most cynical of reasons, to hold his seat and qualify for a job. That was what you did.

    PHELIM O’NEILL AND THE ORANGE ORDER.
    11 June, 1968

    Belfast Telegraph

    Grand Lodge may expel Mr Phelim O’Neill

    Report: If Phelim O’Neill is expelled from the Orange Order for his attendance at a catholic function, it will ‘raise searching questions about the role of a Unionist public representative in fulfilling his duty as he sees fit.’ O’Neill himself is defiant, citing his ‘minimum inescapable public duty’ in defence of his actions.

    12 June, 1968

    News Letter

    Grand Lodge may take no action

    Report: The Grand Lodge of Ireland at its meeting in Omagh, it is hoped, will take no action against members in technical breach of its rules on attendance of catholic events. The lodge should ‘take cognisance of the contribution such occasional public and private attendances at Roman catholic functions make to better community relations.’

    13 June, 1968

    Irish News

    Orange Order rules here, says Fitt

    Report: Gerry Fitt, following the expulsion of Phelim O’Neill from the Orange Order, says he will make known at Westminster his concern at the Order’s ‘unhealthy influence’ over the Northern Ireland government.

    News Letter

    Phelim is ruled out of Order

    Leader: Phelim O’Neill is expelled from the Orange Order for his attendance at a catholic church service. Gerry Fitt condemns ‘”the ridiculous pressure” which the Order wields in the Northern Ireland political scene.’ William Craig denies that the Order is anti-catholic.

    Belfast Telegraph

    Unionist-Orange gulf

    Leader: Many Unionist MPs are worried by the Orange Order’s decision to expel Phelim O’Neill. It is seen as ‘an open challenge to one of the main objectives of government policy – improvement of community relations by involvement at local level.’ Any further expulsion may lead to a split between the Order and the Unionist Party.

    MP seeks ‘early clarification of relationship’

    Report: Phelim O’Neill reacts to his expulsion from the Orange Order, and asserts that the Orange Order has ‘far too much political power as a pressure group.’

    [IN, NL, 14 June]

    Fateful decision

    Editorial: The Orange Order’s expulsion of Phelim O’Neill is to be condemned; it places the relationship between the Order and the Unionist Party in question, and makes nonsense of protestations that the Order is not anti-catholic. The move has damaged the prime minister’s efforts at improving community relations. In the end, a stark choice must be faced: ‘either the Order alters its out-dated rules or surrenders its influence in party affairs.’

    [IN, NL, 14 June]

    News Letter

    Bishop slams Ulster’s bigotry image

    Report: The Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor dismisses the image of Northern Ireland as it is often seen abroad, claiming that this image of bigotry is created by certain ‘noisy and unruly elements.’ The real situation is that ‘today there is a far greater spirit of goodwill and co-operation in the churches of this land than ever before.’

    END NOTE. The bishop above was Cyril Elliot who was a walking member of the Order.I’m sure he saw membership as entirely consistent with Christian charity. To my mind, this belief played as great a part in the impeding collapse as outright bigotry.

    Four months later on 5 October, the civil rights march in Derry was batoned and the modern Troubles were off.

    Are there actually people alive today, young and older, who can’t see any connexion?

  • doctor

    “Given the tendency of some senior unionist politicians to play close to the Pope Benedict’s Un-Enlightenment line on scientific thought, the old fracture lines have less resonance today more than ever?”

    Mick, I’m not sure if this is meant as a genuine question, in the belief that the Orange Order is actually in the process of becoming more acceptable/less offensive to Catholics, or if its meant to be sarcasm. I’m hesitant to write a half-page post if it just turns out to be the latter.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    A spokesman for the Order said that “we’re a pro-Protestant organisation, not an anti-Catholic one, we’re an All-Ireland body and we have members in nine counties in the Republic.”

    so why do they recieve so much hatred and destruction from the green side?

  • doctor

    Well, if the Orange Order says something in a press release it must be true…

  • Outsider

    Mick

    Over one year ago you stated on this site that you would report each and every attack on Orange Halls until these attacks ended.

    There were 5 attacks recently on Orange Halls and thus far a muted response from Slugger, was this promise you made an empty one?

  • republican-with-attitude

    To Doctor,

    Why don’t you think the Orange Order aren’t an all-Ireland body?

  • Outsider

    republican-with-attitude

    Possibly because they are a global body and not just an all Ireland body.

  • [aside]Phelim O’Neill: “The time has gone when all that politicians, either Unionist or Nationalist, had to do was to break wind in either orange or green hues. A few slightly more rapid steps forward could be taken. Individuals or organisations, whether they are Unionist or Nationalist, who blow on the dying embers of sectarian strife are quite out of tune with modem times in this Province. I believe this is true and I very much hope we can make a little more rapid progress.” … 21 December 1967

  • It’s possible that the attack on Phelim may have been a political rather than a religious one.

    [aside]Phelim O’Neill: “I suffer the burden sometimes of receiving anonymous letters that are intended for the Prime Minister. I happened to be brooding over one the other day which floated up to the surface. I think it was at the bottom of a very untidy drawer; I must have thrown it in several years ago. It was one of these extremely obscene letters from an ardent devotee of Mr. Paisley. It is very strange, however, that these ultra-religious people can write these very obscene letters and I would not for one moment attempt in any way to tell the Committee what was in the main body of the letter.

    It was signed “U.V.F.” and the postscript said this, which I think I might repeat in this Committee: “I saw you on the television the other night, you long jawed old bastered you.”

    Now it may be that there was some religious connotation in this, because I think I remember that somewhere in the Old Testament someone slew someone with the jawbone of a domesticated quadruped. But the thing that really appalled me – and I thought it was absolutely unbelievable when, on the Minister’s own admission, we are this year spending £57½ million on education – was that “bastard” was spelt “bastered.” This is a terrible reflection, in my view, on our own educational system, because it is quite unbelievable that, when money has been spent on this scale for so long in Northern Ireland, there can be a single adult in our community who cannot spell this ancient and indeed honourable old English word, enshrined over and over again in the works of the famous bard.” .. 8 May 1968

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Possibly because they are a global body and not just an all Ireland body.”[/i]

    that’s a bit Irish

  • doctor

    “Why don’t you think the Orange Order aren’t an all-Ireland body?”

    “Possibly because they are a global body and not just an all Ireland body.”

    It wasn’t the all-Ireland bit, it was the anti-Catholic bit.

  • Llamedos

    Why worry it would appear that reason long escaped through the windows in all Orange Halls.I once had an employee who was a fervent Orange woman, no she was not Nell Gwynne, who did not know where Orange was, let alone that the then Prince of Orange was at the time the same said William the Third an exceedingly fine role model as nowadays he would probably be included on the sex offenders register. Some people choose to worship some strange idols. They are an irritating anachronism in this day and age – religous charity for whose benefit?