What the Pope Could Do for Peace in Northern Irela…

What the Pope Could Do for Peace in Northern Ireland—It may be a straw-man, but NI Protestants have been yelling about “Rome Rule” for 200 years. Some of them fear being reunited with the rest of Ireland on the basis of one-person/one-vote because of the overwhelming Catholic majority on the Island. Not that today’s Irish Catholics are all that “priest-ridden,” Ballykissangel notwithstanding. Be that as it may, Pope John Paul II claims to be an admirer of Eastern Christianity, Byzantines and Orthodox. Both Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches preserve local autonomy–“autocephaly” they sometimes call it, or self-governance. Why not Western Catholic Churches? Do they have to take orders from Rome to be in communion with her? Eastern Catholics are fairly free of Vatican intervention in their affairs; most Eastern Orthodox are (effectively) completely free from foreign ecclesiastical intervention, yet in total communion with each other, total agreement in faith and liturgy, closer even than the “provinces” of the Anglican Communion or any other Protestant family of churches.

What if “the Irish Catholic Church” were governed independently by its bishops in national synod, while continuing to pray for the Pope at Mass and attending Churchwide Councils chaired by him? Recently the world’s Catholic bishops–even papally-handpicked representatives–pressed JP2 for more autonomy, more national and local responsibility…”devolution” as they call it in the UK.

The result would be continuing Catholicity without “Rome Rule”! And one less Protestant objection to the inevitable reunification of Ireland.

(Ironically, the history of autocephaly in Orthodoxy is that it has usually been declared first, and recognized by (m)other Churches only later, not unlike national Unilateral Declarations of Independence. And the close institutional and emotional ties between Ireland and Rome are the historical result of the Invasion, Reformation, and persecution. And so it goes….)

Sharon Started It—Lest we forget, a year ago Isr…

Sharon Started It—Lest we forget, a year ago Israeli prime-minister-wannabe Ariel Sharon invaded Haram al-Sharif, the mosque above the Wailing Wall, in what seems to have been a deliberate act of provoking the Palestinians/Muslims, which he hoped would propel him into the PM’s office in elections several months later, and torpedo a land-for-peace agreement, opening up the Occupied Territories to further Jewish settlements. The cycle of violence that has resulted is his fault. Objective evaluation of recent history.

I’m no anti-Semite: I love Semites–Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims! But in any war the first casualty is the truth. Sharon tore a page from Rev. Ian Paisley MP MEP, the Protestant extremist in Northern Ireland who provoked 30 years of “Troubles” with violent mob action. Just as Paisley has succeeded in foisting the blame and negative publicity off on Catholics/Nationalists/Republicans in NI–‘It’s all about the IRA’–Sharon is succeeding in getting the Palestinians blamed for the conflict he provoked!

I mourn Israeli dead. And Palestinian dead. And Protestant dead. And Catholic dead. NO MORE DEAD, OK?!