Minister: Some more observations on Protestants and Catholics

A letter from Rev David Clements:

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

It is pleasing when a consultant psychiatrist describes something you have said as “typically thoughtful” (‘Let us be honest about the terrorism of the past and failings on all sides,’ Feb 9, see link below).

I am glad Dr Philip McGarry found value in my previous letter (January 30).

Indeed, I would like to return the compliment and say that I found his letter helpful. He is right to point up the sectarian nature of so much of that the UDA/UVF did during the Troubles.

He is also right to say that the root causes are complex and have little to do with questions of doctrine.

A retired colleague tells a story of how he challenged a young lad at an 11th night bonfire. “What way is that for a young Protestant to behave?”

The urchin replied, “Wad-a-ya mean, mister? I’m not a Protestant – I’m a loyalist.”

To move the conversation on a little, I make these two observations. They are generalisations and I will gladly concede exceptions.

Firstly, Protestants/Unionists have not voted in significant numbers for political parties that have links with illegal paramilitary organisations. Catholics/Nationalists have voted in much greater numbers for parties linked (some say inextricably) to organisations who glorified acts of terrorism.

For the vast majority the war may be over, but hardly any can yet say, “we should not have been shooting policemen.”

Secondly, Protestants tend to preach, march, play instruments, sing hymns and make individual traybakes. Catholics tend to tell stories, sing songs, write poetry and plays and make community myths.

When a contested history is being written (or rewritten,) which skill-set do you think would be most useful?

Rev David Clements, Cullybackey

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