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Mixture of attitudes in the Orange Order

The Very Rev Ken Newell, a former Moderator of the General Assembly, rightly upbraids the Orange Order for what is, since the Second Vatican Council, an out-of-date stance towards Roman Catholicism.

That at least is the Order's stance at the official leadership level. As for the actual membership living in today's world, it is more a mixture when it comes to attitudes, including some - if not members, then supporters - who basically would be working class anti-clerical were it not for historical reasons.

The former Moderator, however, is not as helpful as he seems to think when he suggests that the Order's leadership should enter into discussion with Catholic theologians (a big task) without naming any in particular.

Should the Order do as he suggests, it would find something also of a mixture, not unlike thinking in the Order itself although in general conducted at a more sophisticated level.

Meanwhile, whilst the Orange leaders get on with scanning theological works, the various traditions or denominations in the church (call them how we will) should be tackling the Anglophobia, a religious problem at its most bitter in Sinn Fein (despite its professed secularism - perhaps that secularism is not unlike the misplaced anti-clerical Orange?).

W A Miller

Belfast

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