Orange Order opposes visit by the Pope
Newsletter – 24 March 2010
THE Orange Order has voiced its opposition to a planned visit to the UK by Pope Benedict XVI. The Pontiff is due to fulfill a series of engagements in Scotland and England in mid-September.
The Pope's itinerary is scheduled to include a reception at Holyrood Palace hosted by the Queen, a speech in Westminster and a visit to Coventry.
However, there are no plans for the leader of the Catholic Church to visit Northern Ireland.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Orange Order said while the Institution recognizes the "civil and religious rights of all", it could not "welcome or agree with the visit of the Pope to this country".
The Orange statement claimed the teaching of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church is at "total variance with the Biblical message that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone".
It went on: "We therefore call on all the citizens of the United Kingdom, and especially members of the Loyal Orange Institution, to demonstrate their opposition to the Pope's visit to England and Scotland, and to oppose any future invitation to visit Northern Ireland.
"At the same time, we call on all members of the Loyal Orange Institution to refrain from any uncharitable acts or sentiments against our Roman Catholic fellow countrymen.
"Furthermore, we urge all members of the Institution to examine their own relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, to make sure that they have a saving
faith in him."
Under current Orange Order rules, members are not encouraged to partake in worship at a Roman Catholic Church.
Leopards don’t change their spots and the Loyal Orange Institution does not change their inbred hatred and bigotry against the Catholic Church. Please bear in mind that these are the same people who were invited by the Smithsonian Institute to participate in a folk festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC three years ago. The theme of the festival was to demonstrate the “cultural diversity in the North of Ireland today”. Shamefully, the Stormont government supported their participation in the festival Washington DC over the strong objections of Irish American Catholic activists. One can only wonder if Stormont would also support the Orange Order’s opposition to a possible visit by Pope Benedict XVI to the North of Ireland.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus - 4th Degree