The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Orange Order: Personification of anti-Catholic Bigotry

Father Sean Mc Manus, President, Irish National Caucus • 29 October 2004

Historically, the Orange Order has served as the perfect expression of British policy in Ireland: suppression of Catholics through sectarian privilege and Protestant supremacy.

This British "divide and conquer" policy was clearly spelt out in the 1790s by a British General's Report. He had, he wrote, "S arranged to increase the animosity between the Orangemen and the United Irish [men]. Upon that animosity depends the safety of the centre counties of the North.."

While British interest in Northern Ireland may have changed (because they know their old imperial game is up) the" monster" they created remains: anti-Catholic bigotry.

It is important to understand here that we are not talking about a difference in faith and theology, which by definition exist between different religions (that's why there are different religions). Rather, anti-Catholicism is a socio-economic-political system for oppressing Catholics.

It is also important to understand that I am not saying all individual Orangemen are
anti-Catholic. I am speaking here of the Orange Order as an INSTITUTION. For the British Government, anti-Catholic bigotry was mainly a "means" to an end -- divide and conquer. For The Orange Order, it seems, anti-Catholic bigotry has become an end in itself.

The Orange Order was founded on September 21, 1795 after a clash between Protestants and Catholics at the "Battle of the Diamond" Armagh. In 1905, key Orange elements moved to give more political and structural shape to their supremacist ideology by forming the Ulster Unionist Council and the Ulster Unionist Party.

But the seeds were actually sown even earlier:

"The Orange Order took on a distinctively Unionist flavor when Home Rule threatened in the 1880s. The effective beginning of the Ulster Unionist Party was a meeting of seven Orangemen, elected as M.Ps. at Westminster in 1886." (From Northern Ireland, A Political Diary by W.D. Flackes and Sydney Elliott)
Today, the closest American parallel to the Orange Order is the White Citizens Council -- a racist, anti-Black organization. It is the "white-collar" version of the Klu Klux Klan, appealing to the more "respectable and moderate" people.

Unionist Party, Political Wing of Order

Every Prime Minister of Northern Ireland during the period 1921-72 was an Orangeman. And today it is estimated that there are about 120 ex officio Orange seats on the, approximate, 860 seat Ulster Unionist Council.

In American political terms, that would be like The White Citizens Council (which played a part in the downfall of Senator Trent Lott, former Republican leader of the U.S. Senate) having, ex officio, a key set of seats on the governing body of the Democratic or Republican Party. Would African-Americans or any fair-minded American stand for it?

Today, as always, the members of The Orange Order are pledged to: "strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act of ceremony of Popish worship; he should by all lawful means, resist the ascendancy of that Church, its encroachments, and the extension of its powers". (Qualifications of an Orangeman)

And in their "Twelfth celebrations" for July 12, 2004, Orange Orders passed -- as they do every year -- anti-Catholic Resolutions and also Resolutions against the Pope's proposed visit to Northern Ireland. What do you think would happen to the career of a Member of Congress who belonged to an organization that proposed resolutions opposing the Pope's visit to the United States?

On July 12, 1996, Robert Saulters, later elected Grand Master of the Orange Order, told the Orange Order that British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, "has already sold his birthright by marrying a Romanist. He would sell his soul to the devil himself. He is not loyal to his religion. He is a turncoat."

"Buck Stops With British Crown and Government"

But in keeping with the point made at the very beginning of this article, we must not forget where the blame ultimately lies -- with the British Government and British Crown. It is ENGLISH LAW ITSELF that is the root cause of the Orange Order's historic anti-Catholic bigotry.

The Act of Settlement 1701 -- described by British newspaper, The Guardian, as the foundation stone of the royal family -- provides the moral and political justification for all Orange anti-Catholic bigotry in Northern Ireland. And it is a law to which the Orangemen are fiercely attached, and to which their allegiance belongs. This law forbids a Catholic from being the Monarch and if the Monarch marries a Catholic or converts to Catholicism, he/she forfeits the Crown and the people are "absolved of their allegiance". This is the law TODAY.

That would be like having an American law that states that no Black person can be President of the United States.

Surely, from all this two things follow: The British Government and British Crown must repeal the inherently anti-Catholic Act of Settlement 1701; and Unionist politicians must resign from the Orange Order until the Order renounces all its anti-Catholic rules and regulations.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

31 October 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Blanket Interview: Hugh Orde
Carrie Twomey & Anthony McIntyre

The Convict and the Cop
Suzanne Breen

Thanks and Goodbye
Diarmuid Fogarty

In Response to: John Kerry, the Wrong Choice
Saerbhreathach Mac Toirdealbhaigh

The True Face of a One-Eyed Jack
Richard Wallace

Hurley's Twisted View
Lonnie Painter

Three More Votes for Kerry-Edwards
Kristi Kline

Your Silence Will Not Protect You
Joanne Dunlop

The Orange Order: Personification of anti-Catholic Bigotry
Father Sean Mc Manus

Double Standards and Curious Silences
Paul de Rooij

29 October 2004

Questioning Collusion
Mick Hall

Mary Kelly’s Protest ‘An Act of Passive Resistance’
Ruairi O Bradaigh

Death and the Pool
Anthony McIntyre

John Kerry: The Wrong Choice on November 2nd
Patrick Hurley

The Emerging Case for a Single State in Palestine
Todd May

The Clash Thesis: A Failing Ideology?
M. Shahid Alam



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