A SENIOR Catholic cleric has spoken out against the “sectarian hatred of Catholics” shown during some Twelfth of July celebrations. Fr Tim Bartlett, an adviser to Cardinal Sean Brady, said most Orange parades had been “jjoyful, positive celebrations” but that “totally unacceptable sectarian hatred and propaganda” was linked to some demonstrations and bonfires.
He highlighted issues ranging from the statue of Our Lady that had been placed on an onlit Twelfth bonfire “to effigies of priests in the most tragic of circumstances, which is simply depraved, right through to the playing of The Sash outside a Catholic Church“. He said there was “excuse-making, not least from some Protestant ministers in the public domain” for some sectarianism. Fr Bartlett said sectarianism was at odds with the “many fine people” he knew within the Protestant and Orange community and called on unionists and Protestant Church leaders to tackle the issue.
Presbyterian minister and Orange grand chaplain the Rev Mervyn Gibson has been criticised for his emotive Twelfth speech and his praise of loyalist flag protesters. “Let this generation not be found wanting. Do not fight the war on yesterday’s battlefield – fight the war on today’s battleground as we unite to get rid of the Parades Commission,” he told Orangemen on Friday. Former Presbyterian moderator Dr Norman Hamiliton said on Sunday that the “case for civil disobedience” did not “stand up to either biblical or public scrutiny” but that Mr Gibson must speak “for himself”. “I personally, and the Presbyterian Church, totally, utterly, abhor any expression of sectarianism in any way,” he said. Meanwhile, parishioners at St Matthew’s Catholic Church in east Belfast, which was targeted by loyalists on Friday night, heard on Sunday that Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor had telephoned from Lourdes to offer his support to parish priest Fr Aidan Kennan.
With many thanks to : Claire Simpson, The Irish News.
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