Friday, February 24, 2012

Catholics In Northern Ireland Prefer The Queen to Dublin In Defending the Faith and Country ?

Get Religion has an interesting look at Northern Ireland and in particular journalism issue surrounding the world's most well known Anti Catholic politico in the Anglo world. That is Northern Ireland politician Ian Paisley who we learn recently had a serious health challenge. See Croppies lie down (no more).

The piece goes into Protestant / Catholic relations in Northern Ireland that are more complex than we in the USA might think. I was struck by this part :

....Perhaps the use of the word was deliberate. Was Paisley’s volte face a result of his Protestant Christian faith, or was it a political calculation? As an aside, I believe the image many Americans have of Northern Ireland misses the changes that have taken place over the past twenty years. While you can still buy bumper stickers in South Boston that read 26+6=1, you will find only a few takers in Belfast.

The News Letter, a Belfast newspaper, ran a fascinating interview with a young Roman Catholic priest entitled “Border debate is irrelevant — Priest” on the same day as the AP story.

No Roman Catholic priests under the age of 45 are interested in removing the border and many Catholics are re-thinking their nationalism, a Catholic priest has said.
Fr Eugene O’Neill said that many Catholics were questioning whether as Catholics they necessarily had to be nationalist and look to Dublin when the United Kingdom was more respectful of Christian churches.

Fr O’Neill was speaking to the News Letter following a broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster’s Thought For The Day earlier yesterday morning.

In comments backing up polls which suggest that many Catholics would now vote to retain the border, Fr O’Neill said that as an Irish passport-holder he saw the Queen and senior British government figures as defenders of faith in the UK.

And, in a blistering attack on the Dublin government which shows how far the church and the state have moved apart in the Republic, Fr O’Neill claimed that there were similarities between how the Irish government is making life difficult for churches and how repressive communist regimes have persecuted Christians.

The Republic is now “a cold house for Catholicism”, he told the News Letter, singling out the atheistic Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore for particular rebuke.

By contrast, he said that the UK Government had demonstrated a respect and appreciation for the role of Christian churches which Catholics could support.

1 comment:

Shane said...

The man is very much in a minority. I have never met any NI Catholics that could be considered unionist at all.

Furthermore it ignores the fact that secularization has impacted much more acutely on the NI Catholic community than the Protestant community. The reality is that very few Irish Catholics, north or south of the border, could care less about what priests tell them.