Fr. Mc Manus on Dr. Paisley

Posted By: March 29, 2013

April 16 2001

Dear Editor,
Please allow me to correct a statement by Niall O’Dowd, Publisher , Irish Voice.

In ” The North’s Dark Star” he wrote ” Mc Manus reported that Paisley had jokingly asked him if he was going to say Mass inside the [ White House]” ( Irish Voice , Periscope , April 11 2001)

In fact, what I reported was this : As I shook Paisley’s hand I said , “Now Dr. Paisley, do I hear your Confession or do you hear mine?” He responded ” Your forgiveness would be no good to me “— making the point , of course, that Protestants don’t believe in the Sacrament of Confession.

But Niall O’Dowd is quite right in emphasizing that Dr. Paisley and I had a pleasant conversation. I am always friendly to the Protestants of Northern Ireland. It is the way I was reared, and it is an absolutely essential and profound part of both my religious faith and my political belief.

I disagree with Dr. Paisley on many things. But he is my Ulster brother and my brother in Christ. And as such I love him and all the Protestants of Northern Ireland.

As a Catholic, I am deeply conscious of the many terrible things the Catholic Church has historically done against Protestants and people of other faiths– especially against God’s Chosen People, the Jews.( Anti-Semitism is the most ancient and most blasphemous heresy of the Catholic Church. Thank God. the Church now realizes it and has begun to repent of it).

My point is this : Irish Catholics must be more aware of the fears and suspicion of Irish Protestants– we often gave them good reason. And that is , in part, why Dr. Paisley has such appeal to the Protestants of Northern Ireland.

While we struggle for nonviolence, equality, justice and peace, we must not forget that seeking forgiveness is an essential part of such a struggle. Without forgiveness there is nothing.
Fr. Sean Mc Manus
President, Irish National Caucus.PO Box 15128 Washington DC 20003-0849.Tel: 202-544-0568.