Fr. McManus’ letter in Irish News, Belfast, May 2, 2018

Posted By: July 21, 2021

Since 1920, whenever it appeared that Catholics in Northern Ireland might be making a little progress – or being seen as getting uppity – right-wing fundamentalists were magically produced to preach odious anti-Catholic bigotry. It, of course, had nothing to do with true religion but, rather, all about “keeping Catholics in their place” – maintaining the systematic injustice and institutionalized violence of England’s Orange State.

Of course, straightforward political methods, needless to say, were also used. For example, in the recently published book on the modern UVF UVF: Behind the Mask, author Aaron Edwards states (in a not altogether unsympathetic book): “Its [UVF) founding members claimed at the time that it had originally been formed to oppose the perceived threat posed by the IRA, though they later admitted that the UVF was really a tool of political intrigue utilized by a handful of faceless right-wing unionist politicians.”

The ‘two-wings’ approach was thus always used: the ‘religious’ anti-Catholic one, and the political-paramilitary anti-Irish one.   

The latest example of the appalling and deeply offensive anti-Catholic strategy appears in the article, ‘The Protestant at Mass’ in the April-June edition of Ulster Bulwark, a right-wing, fundamentalist magazine. The article appallingly describes the Mass as evil. Nothing could be more offensive and shocking – indeed evil – to Catholics.

And, to make it even more atrocious, a co-founder of the DUP – and a key ally of the leader of the DUP delegation in the British Parliament –  brazenly defends this appalling anti-Catholicism. This is all the more sad given the wonderful, Holy Spirit-inspired growing agreement between the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the World Methodist Council, the World Lutheran Federation and the World Communion of Reformed Churches on key issues – God help the poor north.

Protestant leaders in Northern Ireland – especially the DUP – must denounce this bigotry. And, I don’t want to hear those – who otherwise say they are for the human rights of all in the north – try to downplay and dismiss this odious religious hatred, no ‘buts’ – as if attacks on Catholicism is somehow not all that important. Anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, and anti-Muslimism must all be unequivocally and publicly condemned – no ‘buts’.

President Irish National Caucus,
Washington, DC