Hamilton: open to talks with UVF but not meeting Catholic leader?

Norman Hamilton, Presbyterian Moderator, has claimed his decision not to meet Joseph Ratzinger, Bishop of Rome, was due to “troubling issues” which needed to be addressed.

However, the moderator said he had declined the opportunity to be presented to the Pope or to shake his hand after the service because there were a number of issues which needed “substantive discussion back in Ireland”.

“There appear to be troubling differences between us on how we deal with the past,” he said.

“Colleagues of mine are picking up pastoral issues within the Catholic Church, where Catholic families are coming to them asking for pastoral help, sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances, because they do not want Catholic clergy to deal with them in light of the abuse scandals.”

He doesn’t always have a closed hand and no interaction policy to people involved with “troubling issues” which need to be addressed.

In June, just weeks after the murder of Bobby Moffat, Hamilton stated he was open to direct talks with the UVF:

When asked by UTV if he would talk to the UVF, Dr Hamilton replied: “I certainly would”.

, , , , ,

  • alan56

    wel thats politics (sorry religion)!

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    I remember a wee while back there was a pair of Catholic brothers involved with the UVF (I’m sure someone would correct me with the details) perhaps if these guys were in the leadership of said organisation, then this christian (sic) would find other “troubling issues” that meant he could not meet with them.

    I simply do not believe this…………..what an utter pile of pish!

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    “Colleagues of mine are picking up pastoral issues within the Catholic Church, where Catholic families are coming to them asking for pastoral help, sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances, because they do not want Catholic clergy to deal with them in light of the abuse scandals.”

    I simply do not believe this…………..what an utter pile of pish!

    There that’s better. Don’t know why I can’t use my >> <<'s any more.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Lot of hypocrisy around but not entirely confined to Dr Hamilton. As far as I know the “Dr” in his title is an honorific in recognition of his position as Moderator of his church…a small token of decency to his followers.
    ….which of course Im happy to use………….and Im happy to refer to “Cardinal Ratzinger” or Pope Benedict XVI on grounds of fairness. Seems right. Especially as he has a long history in Academia, including a PhD.

    There are a lot of “former” Catholics doing the rounds impressing people by how much they have ditched their previous oppressive faith.
    But obviously not enough to send their kids to a “State” school. Or even an integrated one.

  • joeCanuck

    Indeed (pish). If someone else’s actions or lack of them bothers you, are you more likely to be effective by facing them and engaging them or turning your back while uttering a “holier than thou” comment.

  • padraig

    Well Alabama and Mississipi eventually leanred to leave the Nethenderthal state, so maybe….

  • slug

    Speaking as an Irish Presbyterian, I thought his position on the Pope was reasonable. He has gone to the act of worship and shared that with the Pope, which he has argued he has done as an act of respect to Irish Catholics, but he has opted not to have a personal meeting, because to do so may suggest that there are not underlying religious differences, which there are. I am not sure that this is hypocritial. Certainly I hope that he is not intending to be disrespectful to Catholics in Ireland-I don’t believe he is.

  • Mark McGregor

    After Rory’s complaint I’m trying to find a way to reflect the positions of both in their respective organisations while ensuring it is clear I don’t have any personal respect for the offices/titles they claim.

  • slug
  • Mark McGregor


    He hasn’t claimed it was over religion. He has clearly stated it was over attitudes to criminal abuse of children.

    When its over criminality his attitude to talking to the UVF is possibly relevant.

  • slug

    The statement I linked does not make that clear.

    However – re-reading it carefully – I see it does not rule out meeting the Pope, were he given enough time to have a substantial conversation. He does not want to have a meeting that would be unaccompanied by substantive discussion of issues. Those issues may include the abuse allegations – I suppose the whole issue of abuse is related to wider issues of top-down church governance that go to the heart of the origins of the original (and continuing) Protestant concern about the Caholic church, so it is not quite as simple a separation as you posit?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    I don’t understand where you are coming from slug.

    Is it so difficult for leaders of one religion to pay due accord to each other, there is far more ‘symbolism’ in the snub than there ever would be in a cordial meet’n’greet.

    I’ll restate-I simply don’t believe the moderator’s reason(s) for not taking up the offer to meet the Pope.

  • Mick Fealty


    Please say what you mean rather than using bad language. As a person who has been red carded several times in the past, your yellow will come that we bit quicker next time.

    I’ve no time for such casual incivility…

  • Glencoppagagh

    The real reason why the Moderator will not meet the Pope has almost certainly little to do with his own inclinations but much to do with the views held by a sizeable proportion of his church. They simply could not countenance it. Another sizeable porportion could countenance it but are anxious about how it would be ruthlessly exploited by the Free Presbyterians and other fringe groups.
    The issue of child abuse is a red herring since the Pope himself is not a perpetrator and the claim that Roman Catholics are approaching Presbyterian clergy for pastoral assistance is scarcely credible. There may have been one or two instances at most. The Church of Ireland would be the more likely first resort for such people.

  • Mark McGregor


    The emphasis in your link is certainly different from the extensive quotes in the link I’ve provided.

    Perhaps indicating a conflicting or dual mindset?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Considering that we have a thread entitled Fuck the Pope! I’m a wee bit bemused by your offence at my use of the word pish Mick. I did think to call a lie a lie straight out but thought pish more appropriate, it has a kind of resonance to it.

    I have been red carded once………..probably unfairly as it happens but then, never having been a favourite of yours it was no surprise. I have replied to this allegation about these phantom multiple red cards the last time you had a go at me out the blue as well. Still waiting for a reply.

    As far as yellow or red……………..same as I have always said repeatedly pal, do what you will it is your site. I must admit to being intruiged now though, as I have said it is not the first time you have had a nibble at me without adequate Casus belli. Do I really get on yir tits that much Mick?

  • slug

    I agree 100% with Mick’s position.

    Lets keep the standards high as possible here.

  • slug

    Well I think its good for these things to be queried and questioned.

    As a Presbyterian I do not think he is infallible 🙂

  • White Horse

    Well said, Glencoppagagh. Fearful of the Free Ps, the Moderator is trying to please everyone.

  • slug

    We haven’t lost that many to the Free P’s. But its true that the position adopted keeps “liberals” such as me happy, and keeps the more fundamentalist types on board too.

  • Nunoftheabove

    …..so in other words he either can’t quite make his mind up what he belives at all in or just doesn’t have the courage of his convictions to articulate what he thinks in case the other not-quite-decideds in his own church disagree. Quare stuff, this christianity.

  • Framer

    Chris Patten has categorised the Moderator’s stance as 16th century.

    What’s wrong with 1st century?

  • joeCanuck

    Maybe not that many bodies to the FP Church, slug, but what about political influence. My understanding is that a disproportionate number of FP members are MLAs.Is that true, and if so, do you have any idea why?

  • White Horse

    First century might confuse him with Christ.

  • Reader

    Mark McGregor: In June, just weeks after the murder of Bobby Moffat, Hamilton stated he was open to direct talks with the UVF:
    And you assume he would still be up for it if the concrete proposal was for him to queue up for half an hour for his turn at a 20 second audience with the UVF?
    I suspect Norman Hamilton’s position on “substantive discussion” is the common factor in both the tentative offer and the concrete refusal.

  • joeCanuck

    He might have to bone up on his history. I believe that back then the “dissenters” including Presbyterians got short shrift from the Anglican Catholics.

  • slug

    Yes that is entirely correct. Good point.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Which is worse — holding talks with a bunch of drug dealing, sectarian thugs or having an audience with the head of the world’s largest paedophile ring? Nice choice.

  • slug

    Framer can you provide a link for the Chris Patten comment?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    If that was in fact the case I would have some sympathy Reader. Why not give that reason?

    However think of the poor Pope…………….after meeting the leaders of so many Prod denominations I’d imagine his heid would be pummeled. How many are there anyway?

  • slug

    Its okay, Framer, I have found it.

    1st century woulld be wrong for obvious reasons.

  • slug

    He did give that reason – see the link I provided above regarding “substabtial discussion”.

  • slug

    “. Such an occasion inevitably has a lot of symbolism attached to it and, in the brief time available, could not be the substantive discussion I would welcome…”

    The quite from his official reason that you didn’t seem to study when denouncing him. Note that he would welcome a substantive discussion, according to this.

  • Mark why don’t you write a letter to the Irish News – and Slugger you won’t why some don’t come on here anymore !!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Youve certainly made the latter clear.

  • Like Chris Patten, I also believe Norman Hamilton should clarify his position……

    After all, the same Minister stood shoulder to shoulder with Loyalist bigots who blockaded Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School in 2001 for three months!

    The legacy of that disgraceful protest is still with us here in North Belfast.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    To some extent the Presbyterian Moderator position is rotated to a liberal and then a conservative.
    Clearly Dr Hamilton is no Dr John Dunlop, or Dr Ken Newell or Dr Ray Davey…..but hes no Dr Donald Gillies either

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    All churches can find ‘troubling issues’ to not treat those with different views in other religious organisations with respect and coridality and for a church leader in Ulster to behave in such a fashion given we that we are emerging from decades of community conflict is a disgrace.

    It would be nice to think that there are enough civic minded members of his church to have him removed – though Slug’s approving comment and claim that he is in the Liberal wing (is this a joke?) gives little cause for optimism.

  • Wonder will the Nazi Pope will say sorry on behalf of his Church, in relation to abusing kids ?

    Remember those years and years of sexual abuse ??

    Or maybe he could say sorry to the people of Claudy in relation the Bomber Priest ??

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Ok Slug

    As far as I could see his “official reason” is that he would like more time to speak to the Pope so as to attack the Catholic church on child abuse issues………………..because of course Papes have exclusive ownership.

    Reader expanded on something I might have sympathy with, if true.

    I apologise for my obvious ignorance……………….but what are you on about? Oh and I let you bodyswerve my question the last time but since you have put your head up again to defend this guy. Do you reckon he is someone who should be attacking the Pope over issues of child abuse?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    belfastjj and Gerry Lvs Castro

    Let the grown ups talk in peace, please.

  • slug

    “……..because of course Papes have exclusive ownership.” Well the Pope is at the top of the Catholic church, and its a very top down governance structure there.

  • slug

    ….but to get to your question of whehther the Moderator should bring up the issue of child abuse in the Catholic church. No, if its done in an inappropriate way. Yes if it is for the right reasons, as it is clearly an important issue. So it would depend on the way and manner. I don’t know Mr Hamilton so I don’t really feel I can judge that but I don’t think it came across as having been done in the right way in the coverage presented in Mark’s blog.

  • Glencoppagagh

    That was the practice but they’re nowrunning out of liberals and it has become liberal evangelicals such as Hamilton rotating with fundamentalists like his predecessor. They all have to be born more than once now.
    I’m reminded that it’s only a few years ago that the Moderator refused to attend an RUC memorial service in an Anglican church because an RC priest was also taking part. At least his stand took a bit of moral courage.

  • slug

    I am not sure they are running out of liberals – certainly I have not noticed this. Its true you can get quite a range and it depends on the congregation (on the demand side of the market for ministers) as the congregation selects the minister.

  • slug


    That applies to the DUP and I suppose the obvious reason is that people were followers of Ian Paisley in both religious and political sense.

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Stop being silly slug!

    Unless you are prepared to be thought of in the same light as the obvious sectarian bigots hereabouts you have quite a hefty challenge proving that Papes have exclusive ownership of child abuse;


    I suppose in light of the above I cannot be aghast at your other comment regarding the innapropriateness of the moderator bringing up the issue with the Pope.

    I’d better get to my bed before my bewilderment gets the better of me……….ye Gods!

  • barnshee

    “Is it so difficult for leaders of one religion to pay due accord to each other, there is far more ‘symbolism’ in the snub than there ever would be in a cordial meet’n’greet.”

    Since the pope fails to recognise the pressies as a religion at all-why is the mod going anywhere near him?

  • slug

    Oh I certianly don’t think that Catholics have excluive ownership – as you put it. Sorry if I seemed to say that – not at all. And I certainly don’t believe in “attacking” other religions on this issue, if that is using the issue to gratuitously attack. If Hamilton is doing that, then it’s wrong.

    However I return to the basic statement on the Web that the Moderator put out. He wanted to have time to have a substantive meeting – if there was to be a meeting at all. He didn’t want a symbolic sort of meeting where issues of difference would be glossed over. Fair enough as far as I am concerned.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    PE — which aspect of my comment do you have problems with — the labelling of the UVF as sectarian drug dealers or the portrayal of the RC church as an organisation sheltering and protecting known paedophiles?

  • Drumlin Rock

    funnily it is quite presbyterian to ignore titles, ideally the “teaching elder” should be a Mr the same as anyone else.

  • JJ Malloy

    Much ado about nothing.

    I wonder if Hamilton thinks him having a substantial discussion with the Pope would somehow open the Pope’s eyes to what needs to be done or what should be done. Of course not, this whole thing is political posturing masquerading as a symbolic protest or principled stand.

    To be fair, I wouldn’t wait a minute to meet the Pope (although if my dear mum found out she would be upset)

  • USA

    PE makes a fair point…..JoeCanuck also used the word “pish” but that went unchecked. IMHO the blog post “Fuck the Pope”by MMcG is much worse.

  • Kaido

    Presbyterian Church badly need someone to handle PR, an Andy Coulson.
    First they are pimping from the pulpits for the “widow’s mite” to be invested in the PMS and now old fashioned secterianism has raised it’s head from the top man of the church because it suits his purpose.

    Has the Presbyterian Church now assumed the mantle of the Unionist Party (whatever hue) at prayer as their principles seem to have fallen to the level we expect from our political leaders. Promises without fact or substance, but on second thought that accusation may cover any/ all religions.

  • slug

    This of course may be another reason – a NI Moderator is more likely to have an influence for the good meeting a UVF leader than someone who thinks himself infallible.

  • slug

    The Presbyterian church does not have large resources and has a very grass roots governance structure. The Moderator rotates each year – so by definition and design he is an ordinary minister rather than someone trained and experienced in high level PR.

  • Rory Carr


    Your assertion in reply to Slug that, “He [Dr Hamilton] hasn’t claimed it was over religion. He has clearly stated it was over attitudes to criminal abuse of children.” is not, I think, entirely accurate.

    Indeed in his interview with Will Crawley on Talkback yesterday Dr Hamilton waffled so much, dropping this bit about “issues back in Ireland” as a sort of deflection to Crawley’s repeated attempts to ask him if he recognised the Pope as “a brother in Christ”, a question which Dr Hamilton repeatedly refused to answer.

    One was left with the impression that within the safety of a group of Calvinist hardliners he would be quite open in denying the Pope as a brother-in-Christ but that it was probably not prudent to admit to such a hardline stance and alienate public opinion on open radio and so he dissembled.

    All-in-all the impression of the Moderator that was left after listening to this interview was akin to that left after having a coffee in McDonalds – weak, insipid, flavourless and satisfying to none.

  • slug

    Certainly as a Presbyterian I must say that I have never heard Ministers talk about the Pope or make comments you claim would be said.

  • Turgon

    As a former Presbyterian from the less than liberal wing (though I may be going to go back to them) I must admit that I agree with much of what Mark McGregor says.

    I do not think the moderator should meet the pope because of theological differences. Roman Catholicism holds that Presbyterians are not a true church and the Westminster Confession of Faith (the statement of Presbyterian belief) holds that the RC Church is in grave and fundamental error and indeed not a proper church.

    If Hamilton had said that was why he was not meeting the pope then it would have had some intellectual honesty and validity. However, he is scared to annoy his liberal wing (or the outside world) by stating theological differences: though I am dubious if he truly regards the RC Church as in error.

    He is also scared to annoy the fundamentalists by attending the meeting (though from what I know of him I think he is actually pretty ecumenical).

    Hence, his botched and being blunt dishonest pseudo explanation that this is because of the paedophile scandal.

    Let us remember that the former Deputy Head of Bangor Grammar, Lindsay Brown, was a paedophile who was a Presbyterian Church elder and abused boys on camps at the PCI owned Guysmere in Castlerock. Hence, the moderator has little room to talk about such things. Clearly Dr. Hamilton is not directly to blame for Holmes but equally the pope is not directly to blame for the assorted paedophiles he has in his church.

    Mark then makes an excellent point that Dr. Hamilton has offered to meet loyalist leaders who directly sanctioned the murder of Mr. Moffett. Hamilton’s position would still not have intellectual and moral credibility even if the pope had directly sanctioned paedophilia. Now clearly the pope has done no such thing but the loyalists have. Hence, Dr. Hamilton is exposed as an utter hyporcite and his pretended explanation for not meeting the pope is, I would submit, simply untrue.

  • fin

    So now we just need to hear why the First Minister Peter Robinson decided not to show up.

    So to recap, Dr Hamilton is making silly excuses to avoid the Pope, the DUP FM doesn’t even bother to make excuses for his no show, and the ex-DUP leader is leading a micro protest.

  • JJ malloy

    Spot on analysis.

  • Rory Carr


    When you say that the”Presbyterian belief… holds that the RC Church is in grave and fundamental error…” would that mean then that Presbyterians would not view Catholics as brothers-in-Christ? If that were to be the position then it would explain Dr Hamilton’s ducking of Will Crawley’s repeated questioning on this very point – he wouldn’t want to broadcast such fundamental intolerance, it’s such bad publicity in the modern age.

    Given that the position of the Catholic Church is that all who have undergone Christian baptism are to be regarded as brothers (and sisters)-in-Christ, whatever the errors of whichever schismatic sect of the One True Church they belong, it would also seem to place the Catholic Church in a position of superior Christian tolerance in demonstrating such love for their errant flock.

  • Alan N/ARDS


    Did the Presyterian church cover up the Lindsay Brown affair? Did they hide him among their ranks? You should really catch yourself on. The pope, as the leader of the Roman Catholic church has the power to remove (and should remove) the pervert priests, bishops and cardinals from the church. End of story.

  • Turgon

    Fair point and if Hamilton were not willing to meet the UVF leaders it would be entirely consistent and acceptable.

    However, the UVF leaders have not only hidden murderers within their ranks but have in actual fact sanctioned and approved of their murderous actions.

    Hence, for Dr. Hamilton to pretend that he cannot meet the pope because of RC church paedophilia but be willing to meet the UVF leaders in spite of UVF murders, is utter and dishonest hypocrisy.

    How can refusal to meet one who can be argued did too little about paedophilia be squared with a willingness to meet those who actively sanctioned, supported and facilitated murder?

    Hamilton is a gross hypocrite on this issue.

  • Alan N/ARDS

    ArdEoin Republican

    “After all, the same minister stood shoulder to shoulder with Loyalist bigots who blockacaded Holy Cross Girls primary school in 2001 for three months”

    The memory I have of that time was of Norman standing shoulder to shoulder on the road with Aidan Troy and another minister praying. Was Aidan Troy not standing shoulder to shoulder with people from Ardoyne on a daily basis. Standing with the crowd from Ardoyne every day was republican bigot/ sectarian child killer Sean Kelly. Do I hold Aidan Troy to blame for Kelly’s acts of barbarity? Not one bit! Like Turgon, you should catch yourself on.

  • JJ malloy

    I doubt a UVF leader cares what some Minister says anywya

  • Alan N/ARDS

    Rory Carr

    “Given that the position of the Catholic Church is that all who have undergone Christian baptism are to be regarded as brothers (and sisters) – in – Christ, whatever the errors of whichever schismatic sect of the One true Church they belong, it would seem to place the Catholic Church in a position of superior Christian tolerance in demonstrating such love to their errant flock”

    Do you really believe this? I’m a member of the Presbyterian Church. We believe that the Lords supper (communion) is open to all believers. If a catholic attended my church and wanted to break bread he/she would be welcome to participate in the communion of believers. No one would judge them unworthy to participate. On the other hand I as a Presbyterian christian would be deemed unworthy and refused it in the Roman Catholic Church if I wished to participate. It wasn’t so long ago that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin criticised the President of the ROI for breaking bread at a COI service. I believe he called it a sham communion. Such love and tolerance.

  • Nunoftheabove

    And what have you done about that legacy exactly and the plain moral high ground that it estabalished ?

    I mean, other than wallow in self-pity and use it to justify pathetic lumpen protests against verminous OO parades and perhaps grumbled inarticulately about bankers and the civilized world’s long overdue intervention in the stone-age, totalitarian, imperialist, homophobic, racist and sectarian regimes of Iraq and Afghanistan and how things would only be better if only the free state gombeens, imperial dupe unionist deadbeats, contemptible middle class stoopers and SF ‘brits’ would see sense and agree to be ruled by a shower of hayseed morons from north monaghan and/or track-suited dole-cheating bozos from Lurgan and/or bigoted deadbeats from North Belfast who know better than us ?

  • Big Maggie

    I love it when you religious boys engage in your hot-cross bunfights.

    Most entertaining :^)

  • Greenflag

    Looks like the Scots gave the Pope a hospitable welcome . I wonder if that was maybe partly due to the hyped up opposition from the likes of Tatchell among others . I suspect but can’t be sure that many Scottish Catholics and non catholics turned out to enjoy the fine weather ?

  • Rory Carr


    It isnot a question of whether or not I choose to believe it – indeed I am agnostic on such matters of theoogical nicetiest – I merely point out the stance of the Catholic Church towards non-Catholics who have undergone Christian baptism.

    If however, what you say of the Presbyterian Church welcoming Catholics taking communion with Presbyterians is true (and I accept that you are correct) then it would seem to me that they reciprocate the Catholic understanding that all baptised are to be regarded as brothers-in-Christ regardless of any other differences. Which is the question I asked Turgon for clarification.

    This being so, why then I wonder did Dr Hamilton have such resistance to acknowledging the Pope as a brother-in-Christ when pressed repeatedly by Will Crawley.

    I would just add that all of this is of supreme indifference to me as other than an interesting discussion.

  • Rory Carr

    Apologies for typos – the typescript on the Reply function is so small that editing is tortuously difficult.

  • “Clearly Dr. Hamilton is not directly to blame for Holmes but equally the pope is not directly to blame for the assorted paedophiles he has in his church.” ….. Turgon 16 September 2010 at 1:29 pm


    The evidence suggests that he is directly to blame for them being able to continue their secretive and perverse, suffer-the-little-children-to-come-unto-me pleasures for decades, for his actions, which were pathetic non-actions or accommodating penances in whatever sense of the word you can imagine, in the knowledge of those failings in the very odd business he now heads, is deplorable and in any right thinking society would be considered morally bankrupt, ethically subversive and negligent and criminal.

    And as to the grand delusion that he is infallible ….. oh please, is one such a fool to believe that is true, and of a man dressed in a frock and riding around in special bullet-proof glass box for all to gawk at? There are saner folk locked away in hospitals.

    “Hamilton’s position would still not have intellectual and moral credibility even if the pope had directly sanctioned paedophilia.” …. What a very odd thing to say, Turgon, for in such a case surely it would the high intellectual and moral position, as well as being simple common sense. And is not the above action as taken by the assortment of leaders as led by the present pope, not tantamount to directly sanctioning paedophilia? It certainly does not appear to have discouraged any of them being true and faithful to their leanings, in the safety of their surroundings.

    All in all, it is a bit of a disaster and a global disgrace and there is hardly likely to be end to the revelations as more and more find their voice and a forum in which to share their experiences and/or out the names of those who abuse children and the feeble minded.

  • Greenflag

    Dr Hamilton may be more in tune with the feelings of the people of Ireland than many commentators or bloggers think or assume .

    In an Irish Times ‘survey’ when people were asked ‘Do they believe that the Pope should be welcomed to Ireland’ 61% said NO and 39% YES .

    Allowing for the fact that Irish times surveys are not necessarily exactly reflective of national opinion it could at least be posited that half of the population of the Republic are not enamoured of any Papal visit at this time and probably not for some time to come .

    Maybe it’s just as well he left NI and ROI off his itinerary .

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    Whilst I appreciate that you have picked up on the substance of my point I find your response baffling. The overwhelming message that I have picked up from the Pope’s visit thus far is of the ‘Christian community’ tackling the rise of secularism and it’s hegemonic ethos that now prevails over society. Now I know that on occassions like this Presbyterians do not show themselves up in a good light and in fact the bigotry is cringeworthy, but for the life of me do not believe the Pope doesn’t recognise them as a religion.

    Perhaps it is primacy issues that you mean?

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    The Papes no more own this label than any other organised religion…………so gie’s peace!

    I could never seek to defend the church’s actions on far too many occassions regarding this issue, but you and your ilk just seek to use it as an extension of your bigotry………………well that is the way it comes across gerry. As always however I will apologise if I am wrong and you demonstrate that you attack every other organisation who has been complicit in this in the same manner.

    Somehow I don’t think you do.

    Re-UVF. A hopeless far reaching comparison with the church.

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    To be fair GF the weather forecast up until the last hours was for a horrible day, indeed many people were well covered up even though it turned out sunny if a wee bit windy day. For once the Edinburgh Gadgies outdone the Glesga weegies for numbers………for shame!

    I admit to making a last minute trip (all of 3 mins drive) with two of my boys upto the side of the M8 motorway at the Garngad where there was a hundred or so Papes of various colours and nationalities, we had just enough time to see his motorcade zip by before we went to fitba training.

    My youngest wasn’t impressed that he didnae wave.

  • militant mike

    i think Norman should be relieved that all Christine O’Donnell would want to shake would be his hand.

  • Alan Maskey

    Hamilton is an irrelevance. True, Billy Wright was a hero to these people but killing a few innocent Catholics does not get you out of the Sunday leagues.

    More to the point, MI5 have arrested several Orange/Islamic extremists today. Let us not forget Paisley’s disgusting behaviour when JP2 addressed the European Parliament. If the Orange MPs do likewise, will they be shot? And if not, why not?

    It is funny seeing these sad people – Oragnies, militant armchair atheists and their Islamic comrades doing anything to grab a headline.

  • Alan Maskey


    Good BBBC articles throwing out a few numbers re Christians in Britain and further afield. Not only are the Iirsh an irrelevance but the Orangies are less than that.
    I guess a lot of the white British RCs are 2nd or 3rd generation Micks. Lots of other strains there though.

  • Alan N/ARDS


    I didn’t know that the Orange Order organised in Algeria.

    Paisley might be a pain in the backside, with his childish antics, but I find the raping of children and then covering it up a lot more disgusting.

  • Alan N/ARDS


    Being baptised in a church doesn’t make a person a christian no more than being born in a stable would make you a horse. I can see were you are coming from but I happen to know many people who were baptised as babies and have never been inside a church since and most certainly do not follow the teachings of the bible. They wouldn’t call themselves christians. I’m sure on the catholic side there are many such like people. On a personal note I happen to know a number of very spirtual catholics who I would worship with anytime. I also know a number of people who call themselves “reformed catholics”. They worship in Presbyterian churches but wouldn’t call themselves Presbyterian. Because a person calls themselves christian doesn’t make them christian. I certainly not trying to judge anyone because there is no such thing as a perfect person or indeed church and like every human being on earth I am as fallable as the next one. It’s how they live out their christianity on a daily basis that’s important.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I guess a lot of the white British RCs are 2nd or 3rd generation Micks’

    Never mind the British RC’s . Some 26% of Britons (England, Scotland, and Wales or 17 million people have at least one ancestor (including 2nd and 3rd generation) originating in the Irish Republic (26 counties ) . If you included Northern Ireland (6 counties ) that 26% would be closer to 35% or 21 million people can claim at one ROI/NI grandparent .

    Apparently the Irish used to breed when they emigrated in earlier times . The above figures do not include the uncounted mass migrations of the 18th century. There are probably only a minority of Britons if truth was told that do have any Irish in their family backgrounds .

    But then so what ? The same can probably be said up and down most the Irish East coast for people with some British background .

    Ian Paisley deserves a vote of thanks for his dignified protest at the Pope’s visit . We’ll forgive his earlier tantrums at the European Parliament . As another ‘unbeliever’ one Dave Allen would have said were he around –

    ‘May his God go with him ‘

    Mind he never said where ;)?

  • Greenflag

    ‘I didn’t know that the Orange Order organised in Algeria.’

    So you have never heard of the ‘ Les Pieds Noir ‘ ? Or should that be ‘La main rouge D’Algerienne ‘ 🙂 ?

    Maskey is being just a bollix and what one would call an agent provocateur .

    You are quite right in your assessment re Paisley at least in his earlier manifestation being a haemorrhoid extraordinaire but I agree that whatever about individual priests being found guilty of inflicting life long psychological and physical damage to innocent children (again mostly the poor and defenceless ) the cover up by the RC hierarchy both under the present and previous Popes is truly much more disgusting than anything Paisley ever said or did in his political or religious career.

    In the annals of Irish history Paisley will be rehabilitated whereas Archbishop McQuaid and his ilk will be seen to have been reactionary ogres .

  • Greenflag


    ‘It’s how they live out their christianity on a daily basis that’s important.’

    Exactement 😉

    Never mind what they say just watch what they do . For when all is said and done -more is said than done ; )

  • Greenflag

    If ‘Fuck the Pope’ is not casual incivility would ‘Fuck the Queen’ be equally civil . Despite my inherent atheism and anti monarchical leanings I find that both are ‘uncivil’ If the desire is to raise the standard of debate then bloggers as well as commentators should be made aware that the “F’ word is not acceptable particularly when direct at another person /politician / clergyman or member of the royal family .

    Perhaps an exception could be made for certain bankers , IMF cretins and Wall St and City and corporate neo con and plain con criminals :)?

    Proinsias has made a point which should’nt be ignored by our ‘moderators’.

  • Greenflag

    correction to above -should read

    ‘There are probably only a minority of Britons if truth was told that do NOT have any Irish in their family backgrounds probably in places like Ashby de la Zouche and Lowestoft maybe ?

  • JJ malloy

    “Hamilton’s position would still not have intellectual and moral credibility even if the pope had directly sanctioned paedophilia. Now clearly the pope has done no such thing but the loyalists have.”

    His point is that even if the Pope had directly sanctioned pedophilia, the UVF have directly sanctioned and taken part in pedophilia and murder. So why meet one and not the other?
    Because his decision has nothing to with morality or intellectual integrity. It has to do with prejudice and satisfying his ‘flock’

  • El Paso

    There is a thriving Irish community in Ashby De La Zouch and St Charles in mearby Measham (same parish) is an excellent RC Primary school. Thanks for asking.

  • Alan Maskey

    Alan of N’ards knows some a la carte “Catholics”. Don’t we all – when we have to.
    Lss than 100 sodomites, Orangies and sundry riff raff turned up to protest at the Pope in London. Not a big protest by London standards.
    The Orange Order is organised in Africa as it happens. They even have RC Orangies there.
    Bottom line: Pope rules ok. Orangies, Islamic whackos, Hamilton and the fistophiles are a sad and insignificant minority.
    I stil feel Pope Ben and QE2 should have gone to the races instead. Indeed, they couild have worked in an Irish visit, what with Laytown Races on right now. Tghey would have enjoyed themsleves and the cream crackers would have made short work of the fisters.

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    Not being a culchie I am not too au fait wi the meaning of “cream crackers” in the context used. At a guess………. is it the bizzies?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    True chaps, the civil/uncivil dig is ridiculous and although I picked out the obvious reference point in FTP you will see much worse sentiments and words than “pish” on slugger virtually every day.

    Sadly the other reasons I have spelt out seem to be the constant.

  • Alan Maskey

    Cream crackers is kind of Cockney slang, for travelling people, who are very attached to their Catholic faith.
    The media have been looking for a story and so Thatchell, Dawkins and the other loonies have been built up.
    The Pope is playing his muliti level game: keeping in with the top table Brits, pushing religion in education and elevating Newman, a key piece in the RC game vis a vis intellectualism, Anglicanism, education and more.

    Hamilton and his type have a low opinion of the Papacy and that is fair enough. He is to be salutred for not going, as is anyone who follows his conscience in public and does not frighten the horses.

    I wonder waht would have happened had the Holy Father gone to an Old Firm match. Good to see the young Scots enjoyed the gig.

  • Rory Carr

    I think we might have some meeting of minds, Alan (of N/Ards), the search for spiritual truth is all. Whether it is pursued in a Catholic church, a Presbyterian church, in a synagogue or a mosque or indeed in a bar or brothel, in a hospital ward tending the sick or on a battlefield confronting an enemy or on a factory floor matters not – the honest search is what matters. How one chooses to commune with whatever higher power they seek is a matter only of personal choice, social influence or learned experience and is something that might be shared with others but certainly nothing to fight over.

  • Alan Maskey

    “a mosque or indeed in a bar or brothel, in a hospital ward tending the sick or on a battlefield confronting an enemy”

    Ha ha. There are several different brands of religion, all of which have as much a social as a spiritual role.

    1. Priestly: With a priest as intercessor, we run into agency problems.
    2. Decentralised: With each being their own priest, sometimes God becomes the junior partner. It would be hard to see Ian Paisley playing second fiddle to God.
    3. Corporatist: The Muslim herd mentality being a good example. Washing their feet where they will, praying in airport terminals, wandering around like Indian cows.

    Then there are the montheist belief systems versus the let a thousand gods bloom school.
    Enough there to get plenty of diversity.
    As regards worshiping in brothels thinking they were temples, there is recent scholarship suggesting the brothel whores were a Christian slander. Of course, we stil ahve them in India and places.

    Most people know little or nothing about their religion. That is why Mormons, atheists, politicians and other empty headed intellectual weeds can gain space.

  • Rory Carr

    I’m afraid, Alan Maskey, that you misunderstand me completely as your remark about “worshiping in brothels” indicates. I simply said that the search for truth is not limited by location – where, or how, one chooses to worship is secondary and really not all that important.