Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Orangemen at Catholic funeral are role models

The Orange Order needs to think seriously before it takes any action against Tom Elliot and Danny Kennedy for attending the funeral of Constable Ronan Kerr.

Clearly the rules of the Orange Order say members "should not" attend any act of Roman Catholic worship, but they do not say "must not" - therefore there is the opportunity for interpretation.

In reality, Tom Elliot and Danny Kennedy haven't been nipping down to Mass every other Sunday, nor have they been advocating that others should try it out.

So they have not in any way supported the beliefs or tenets of the Roman Catholic faith.

No, both men - as representatives of the unionist community - attended the funeral of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty. In doing so they neither sold their principles nor denigrated their faith. In fact, they did the opposite.

They also showed a positive example of true Orange values - civil and religious liberty for all and respect for those who serve our community.

For these reasons, the leadership of the Orange Order must give an equally positive lead. They must make it clear: the ban on Orangemen attending Roman Catholic services is a ban on partaking in the Mass, but it is not a ban on members doing their civic or Christian duty.

Progressive Past Master

Co Down

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