Royal Black writer and CoI report are both wrong

Mocking the dress of clergy, but RBI dress could also be mocked
Mocking the dress of clergy, but RBI dress could also be mocked

An Anglican Sir Knight’s letter (May 2) is as ridiculous in his smugness in what he writes on ceremonial as is the Church of Ireland report on the Royal Black Institution that he has grounds for criticising.

He mixes up essence and ritual and then compounds the two to mock the dress and ritual gesture of the officiating priests and other clergy and laity at Anglican ceremonies as though the dress and ritual gestures of the Royal Black Institution might not also be ridiculed.

He could mock Luther for the ritual sign of the cross, prayer to the Virgin, or Luther’s refusal of the sacrament of the altar to those who loaned money to the poor at interest.

And as for what he has called the Reformation there was not one uniform movement for much needed reform within Western Christendom. These had been going on for centuries (and were often brutally suppressed) before conditions were such (the scandal of indulgences) that Luther made a break through.

There were again rippling reformations following that, the outcome of the Council of Trent embodying one, and again Geneva and Wittenberg another, and again the Anglican Settlement another. All again today are talking to each other; something that Northern Ireland political parties might note.

An outcome of these reformation upheavals (resulting in institutionalised confessions) within Western Christendom is that many of the liberties we have today (although beyond comprehension at the time) such as freedom of speech and conscience, are owing to the consequences of what happened then.

W A Miller, Belfast