The Orange Order reacts to the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK .
Oh dear. Oh deary me.
"While we recognise the civil and religious rights of all, we cannot welcome or agree with the visit of the Pope to this country."
I am fully signed up to the first part of this assertion, that of civil and religious liberty for all. Yet, even in the same sentence the Order asserts the Pope is not welcome. If the Pope decides to accept an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to visit the country of which she is the Head of State, then that is up to him. As Bruke's Corner points out,
"Queen Elizabeth II, acting in her role as chief governor of the ecclesiastical estate of her realm, has issued the invitation to Benedict. The statement of Grand Lodge is, therefore, a blatant rejection of the Queen's role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England."
"The Pope claims himself to be the vicar of Christ on earth, a title which assumes supreme and universal supremacy both in honour and jurisdiction over all - church, state, the world. Any who would welcome him are in danger of appearing to acknowledge his primacy and universal supremacy in all of these matters."
How then will the leadership of the Order cope with the Queen, who is greatly admired within the Order and many a Lodge having at least one picture of her on the wall, welcoming the Pope to the UK after having specifically invited him? Or, as Burke's Corner also contends, does it signify Benedict recognising the Queen Elizabeth as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England? He is visiting the UK on HER invitation alone.
The reformation, on which the Orange Order stands, was never anti-Roman Catholic, it was pro-Protestant. It was also rife with splits (Lutherans, Calvanists, Presbyterian). The Orange Order draws members from all of the different Protestant denominations, and statements on behalf of the whole membership should reflect that, not a narrow section. I do not deny their right to feel such a way or indeed express their theological opinions on the Pope's visit. I would just have liked them to make the statement on their own denominational behalf. The Orange Order should not have been used as a platform to launch such a statement.
Well, of course it is sectarian. Sectarian means '
I think the Grand Chaplain and any Orange Brother who intends to act on the statement also need to remember, they will probably be right back at the end of the queue of people already wishing to have a wee chat to Benedict about a little matter of child abuse and its cover up.