An evening service in another parish. The service could not have been more conservative, Holy Communion in Elizabethan English. A dozen in the congregation, the reassuring words of Cranmer, the Church of Ireland at its most traditional. Standing at the church door, shaking hands as the faithful left, a man bearing an unhappy countenance bade neither “good evening,” nor a word of thanks that someone should give up the Sunday evening of bank holiday weekend to come to his parish to take a service for a small number of people, …
The Irish Times reports dialogue from this week’s edition of Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge programme. Had insulting comments been made about Roman Catholics by Northern Ireland Protestants on a BBC programme, they would rightly have been labelled as “sectarian.”
“So you reject the Catholic Church but let them be Protestants because that’s not really a religion?”
“I think most Irish people today are bloody Protestants, cos they watered down Catholicism and dropped the bits that they don’t like.”
“So that’s what Protestantism is? Watered down Catholicism?”
“Yes! It really is!”
Eureka moments come along sometimes, not noticing one has displaced the bath water, or whatever it was that the Greek man did, but moments when one realizes that one has been getting things completely the wrong way around.
Preparing a paper for a symposium next month, in which there is an attempt to apply an approach derived from systems theory to the church there is a realisation that the system is becoming dysfunctional for reasons that are the very opposite of the ones imagined.
If the church has values that …
On the wall of Saint Andrew’s Church in the Co Laois town of Rathdowney, there is a memorial tablet to a former incumbent. Such memorials to rectors are common, but a memorial to a rector who died in the Pyrenees must be something unique. The tablet gives no information regarding the circumstances of the unfortunate Mr Bredin’s death:
BY HIS WIFE TO THE BELOVED
THE REV EDWIN BREDIN A.B.
RECTOR OF THIS PARISH
AND FORMERLY CURATE
HE DIED 21ST JUNE 1879
AT CAUTERETS HAUTES PYRENEES
The Twelfth of July has become an irrelevance – and therein lies the problem. It is an irrelevance to religious leaders, who long ago disavowed any connection with the day and all that was associated with it. It is an irrelevance to political leaders, long gone are the days where the Orange Order played a significant political role through its membership of the Ulster Unionist Council.
This year’s Assembly election should have been a reassurance to the bonfire builders and flute players, but the visceral feelings expressed in the burning …
Writing notes on parish history for our diocesan magazine, there was an intriguing insight into parish life in the late Eighteenth Century. Seir Kieran Church of Ireland parish lies six miles west of the Co Offaly town of Birr and had a population of thirty-four souls at our last diocesan census. Lest this seem a catastrophic decline, in the years before the First World War, when rural Ireland was considerably more populous, the number of members of the Church of Ireland in the parish was eighty-six.
Whether one looks at …