Orange order right over ‘RIP’ term, says Catholic columnist

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A leading contributor to the Catholic Herald newspaper has agreed with the Orange Order view that the term ‘RIP’ (‘Rest in Peace’) is associated with Roman Catholicism, not Protestantism.

Father Alexander Lucie-Smith, consulting editor of the Catholic Herald, cited reports that the Orange Order had advised its members to stop using the phrase ‘RIP’ to offer sympathy after a person has died because it is “un-Protestant, un-Biblical and a superstition connected to Catholicism”.

Father Lucie-Smith said: “RIP stands for requiescat (or requiescant) in pace, ‘May he or she (or they) rest in peace’ and calls to mind the opening words of the Mass for the Dead, which are ‘Requiem eternam dona eis, Domine’. RIP is therefore shorthand for a prayer – ‘May they rest in peace’.

“But as the Orange Order points out: ‘From a Protestant point of view, we believe that … when death comes a person either goes to be with Christ for all eternity, or into hell. The Orange Order is completely correct about this. The Reformers rejected the doctrine of Purgatory, along with praying for the dead. As far as I am able to determine, the Book of Common Prayer used by Protestants has no explicit prayer for the dead.”