Reality -Check for Belfast News Letter

Posted By: March 29, 2013

Letters to the Editor
News Letter
Dear Editor,

Regarding your Editorial, “Twelfth Could Be Province’s Cash Boost”(Wednesday 27th October 2004):

You say: “The highly colourful Twelfth parades have unique appeal, crossing the community divide, especially in the field of music, and these events should not be seen either as threatening or disruptive.”
Would to God that were true, and if it were Irish-Americans would gladly play their part in promoting “the Twelfth”.
But, seriously, do you really believe that the world sees the Twelfth in this light Š Drumcree, Billy Wright, Johnny Adair with his Alsatian dogs, the Paisley-Trimble jig, the burning of the three little Quinn children, anti-Catholic Resolutions, anti-Pope rants, etc. etc.?
Those dreadful images can never be erased from the popular mind — not even by the most magical PR campaign — until the Orange Order fully decommissions its anti-Catholic mind -set and deletes from its rules and regulations all inherently anti-Catholic bigotry. Until it does, no amount of tinkering, fudging, public relations-stunts or empty words — or totally unrealistic Editorials — will change the fundamental nature of the problem.
For as long as the Orange Order, as an Institution, is anti-Catholic some of its members will act out accordingly. And here let me stress, Anti-Catholicism is not about a difference in faith and theology, which by definition exist between different religions, (that’s why there are different religions). Rather, anti-Catholicism is a socio-economic-political system for oppressing Catholics . As a Fermanagh-native I do not believe for one moment that all Orangemen are anti-Catholic. Indeed I know — from personal experience and from my study of history — that there are many decent and fair-minded members in the Orange Order.

I also know the ultimate blame here rests with the British Crown and Government. The Orange Order in being anti-Catholic is simply being loyal to one of the foundational laws of the Royal Family that enshrines institutional anti-Catholicism and bigotry at the very heart of the British monarchy ——- the Act of Settlement 1701, which constitutionally forbids anyone who becomes a Catholic or marries a Catholic from being the Monarch Š and in such case he/she forfeits the Crown and the people are absolved of their allegiance.

That would be like having a provision in the American Constitution that forbade a Black person from being president. Can you imagine how that would have further fueled the fires of White racism in America? Could any person of justice defend it or evade it by silence?

Therefore, justice and decency demand the British Crown/ Government must repeal the Act of Settlement and the Orange Order must repeal its anti-Catholic rules and regulations.
What’s so difficult about that?

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus