Belfast Telegraph

Orange Order members told 'don't use RIP - it's too Catholic'

By Jonathan Bell

Orange Order members have been told not to use the term "RIP" to commemorate deaths with the term considered "un-Protestant".

The instruction was made in an article in the Orange Standard, a magazine for members of the institution. The term is thought un-Biblical and a form of superstition which is connected historically to Catholicism.

Wallace Thompson, Secretary of Evangelical Protestant Society said he would encourage Protestants not to use the term but realised many would use it without understanding its roots.

"The issue is obviously a sensitive one," he told BBC Talkback, "because people are expressing their grief.

"Just observing on social media we have noticed a lot of Protestants are using the letters and some are evangelical Protestants."

Mr Thompson said there needed to be a better understanding of the issue among those that observe the Protestant faith.

"From a Protestant point of view we believe when death comes a person either goes to Christ for all eternity or into hell. That's what we believe the Gospel to be.

"So from a Protestant point of view to use the term is not theological or correct."

The comments were made in an article in the Orange Standard concerning the widespread use of the term particularly on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

It said that while the term was probably used "innocently" it was a "illustration of spiritual confusion within Protestant circles".

“The letters ‘RIP’ meaning ‘Requiescant in pace’ or ‘rest in peace’, have long been used by the Roman Catholic Church, and can be frequently seen, for example, in death notices and gravestones," the article said.

The Orange Order said the message in the article was clear and well put together and "clearly explains why Protestants and members of the Orange Institution should not use the term 'RIP'.

"For guidance on any matters like these we should refer to what the Bible teaches."

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