Posted By: May 08, 2023


Our Social Media Post and email blasts yesterday with its short comment in red (below) on the coronation of King Charles evoked a huge response. People wanted more information on State-sponsored anti-Catholicism in the UK and Northern Ireland.

So, we republish the 2017 article from the Irish Echo, below the red text.

The coronation of King Charles and the words of the oath he swore—solemnly, formally, and as King— raises anew this issue, which The Guardian in a 2001 Editorial described as “the basis for the modern-day monarchy – an act of parliament which explicitly discriminates against Catholics.” … And which Tony Blair, God bless him, called when no longer Prime Minister, “plainly discriminatory.”

If the sectarian words of the King’s oath don’t mean much to the average English person, their anti-Catholic resonance mean everything to a significant number of extreme Orange/Protestant/Unionist supremacists in Northern Ireland … And everyone who knows anything about how the artificial and undemocratic mini-State of Northern Ireland came into existence, knows that … But they also know that it was NOT the Protestants who created Northern Ireland, but the London Parliament by its “Partition Act” (December 23, 1920), with the assent of the King of England, George V, the great-grandfather of King Charles.


Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus

“Whatever one thinks of the King Charles coronation, it did at least highlight the point the Irish National Caucus has stressed for many years—the sectarian, discriminatory, and anti-Catholic clauses of the unwritten and uncodified British constitution. Those clauses are the foundation stone of the Royal Family, since 1701.”

—Fr. Sean Mc Manus. [ May 7, 2023].

Don’t Mention Anti-Catholicism in The North

Fr. Sean Mc Manus

Irish Echo. May 31-June 6, 2017 (page 12)

Echo Opinion

Thanks to The Irish People newspaper (now discontinued) being digitalized, one can read this:

“Father Sean McManus in giving the Benediction said:

‘We pray for an Ireland free and independent, where the little man, the man of no property, the ordinary guy, can walk tall without having to depend on political patronage…. An Ireland where all power, whether political, ecclesiastical, military or economic will always be used for the good of the people.

We pray, in particular, that once the divisive British presence has been banished, we will have a Country of harmony and reconciliation. An Ireland where religion will never again be used as a political device. An Ireland where the Catholic man from the Falls Road can go and have a pint of Guinness with his Protestant pal from the Shankill Road. . . An Ireland where the young Protestant woman from the Shankill Road can date the young Catholic man from the Falls Road.


We pray above all for the little children of Ireland that one day they will soon be able to share the same playground, the same classroom, the same school, and, yes, one day the same Church to worship the same God that died for both.’”(Second Annual Irish Northern Aid Dinner, New York City. January 18, 1974.The Irish People Newspaper. Page 9. January 26, 1974).


That brought back a lot of memories.

It also bears witness that this Fermanagh man has always had a deep ecumenical theology and has been animated by a non-sectarian vision for his homeland—or as Wolfe Tone put it, the desire to “substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter.”


When I first came to America on October 2, 1972, I saw it as my duty to counteract England’s Big Lie: that there was a “Religious War” in Northern Ireland (the Six Counties of Ireland that England was still holding onto). But being from Fermanagh, I knew it would be silly and woefully non-historical to ignore that, in fact, England had (since The English Reformation, as distinct from the German Reformation) used Anti-Catholicism as a major weapon in its conquest of Ireland. Before the English Reformation (1169 to 1536), very Catholic England oppressed very Catholic Ireland without using the weapon of Anti-Catholicism.


Some silly Irish-Americans, however, felt that to deny that there was a Religious War in Northern Ireland they had to avoid condemning Anti-Catholic discrimination. That stupid idea was spread by the Stickies (the Official Republican Movement, as distinct from the Provisional Republican Movement. (It was also spread by the British Embassy, naturally).


In the early 80s, I launched a campaign to expose the constitutional foundation of Anti-Catholicism in Ireland: The Act of Settlement, 1701—the foundation stone of the Royal Family.


This Act still TODAY forbids a Catholic from being the Monarch. Like having a provision in the U.S. Constitution barring a Black person from being President. I always point out that the Orangemen did not enact the Act of Settlement. Thus, State-sponsored sectarianism and Anti-Catholic bigotry are enshrined in the unwritten, non-codified British Constitution.


One person — believing in the Stickie nonsense and the British Big Lie — tried to oppose my campaign: “[McManus claims] Americans should be objecting to the Act of Settlement… under the belief it has something to do with the conflict in Ireland. It is quite possibly the most idiotic thing for Americans to be lobbying for.”


How convenient — absolving the British Monarchy and Parliament from any connection with “the conflict in Ireland.”


Fortunately, nobody listened to that egregious nonsense.


However, the Big Lie is hard to keep down. It has popped up recently.


Another person — the spiritual heir, perhaps, to the former person — took to the internet to decry my analysis of the root causes of Anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland, and how the Protestants are not to be ultimately blamed but the British Constitution: “Sean McManus’ continued harping on it being Catholics vs. the world drives me nuts – it’s counterproductive to progress.”


A bit like trying to dismiss African-Americans’ opposition to Anti-Black bigotry as being counterproductive to progress. God save us from such progress—and from such egregious misunderstanding!


Furthermore, isn’t the phrase “Catholics against the world” a very strange formulation for someone proclaiming his concern for justice in Northern Ireland? It almost betrays an animus for all Catholics in the world, period.


But isn’t it a bit ironic that this Fermanagh man has to listen to lectures from people who apparently have a very superficial understanding of the real nature of England’s rule in Ireland.

Indeed, especially ironic, given the quoted Benediction at the beginning of this article over 43 years ago about my vision for the relationship between northern Protestants and Catholics.


Not to mention that for this year, the 500th anniversary of Luther’s Reformation, I have made many statements rejoicing in the theological agreement between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation on the Doctrine of Justification — the one issue that more than anything else sparked the Reformation; and welcoming also the fact that the Anglican/Episcopalian Church and the World Methodist Council have endorsed the Agreement on Justification.