If there were clauses in the unwritten, non-codified British constitution prohibiting black people or Jews from being king or queen of England, every political party in Ireland, north and south, would rush to condemn it (as they should, and I would be the first).
Yet, on May 6 2023, King Charles in his coronation proudly swore before God and the entire world that he would uphold and defend “Protestant succession to the throne” – in other words, no Catholics need apply.
And yet, despite this in-your-face crude and appalling bigotry and anti-Catholicism, not one political leader in Ireland, north or south, publicly demurred. Not one said that such constitutionally-enshrined hatred is wrong in principle – especially its fruit in Ireland. Oppression is complete when people internalise/accept the contempt of the oppressor.
And, to make sure his meaning would not be missed, the king’s own website before his coronation spelled it out: “The Act [of Settlement 1701] laid down that only Protestant descendants… are eligible to succeed. Subsequent Acts have confirmed this. Parliament, under the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, also laid down various conditions which the sovereign must meet. A Roman Catholic is specifically excluded from succession to the throne. The sovereign must, in addition, be in communion with the Church of England and must swear to preserve the established Church of England and the established Church of Scotland. The sovereign must also promise to uphold the Protestant succession.” (www.royal.uk/encyclopedia/succession)
The Bill of Rights 1689 states that should monarchs convert to Roman Catholicism, they immediately and automatically cease to be monarchs (“be forever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the Crown”) and that the subjects are absolved from their allegiance.
Imagine the brazen hypocrisy of such a title “Bill of Rights” that by name excludes and demonises Catholics – the largest Christian Church in the history of the world – and that King Charles proudly swore to defend it in 2023. If it were not so deadly serious for its implications in Northern Ireland (justifying anti-Catholic discrimination), it would be almost laughable.
And so it will continue for as long as there is an established Church (meaning no separation between Church and State) in England, with the monarch its automatic governor. And yet, despite all this, England succeeded in presenting Ireland as Church-dominated, when in fact, and in its highest laws and constitution, England itself is a sort of theocracy.
Fr Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus, Washington, DC
Where is the outrage?
The slogan ‘from the river to the sea’ – deemed antisemitic by some – is used to this day by ultra-right Israeli politicians to signify their intentions of taking over the whole of Palestine.
Like the term antisemitic itself, it is used against any form of pro-Palestinian protest. They state that it calls for the destruction of Israel, while not noticing that Palestine is being wiped of the map in ethnic cleansing and genocide.
The raids in the West Bank and Gaza destroying roads, water supplies as well as committing massacres is clearly an attempt to make life as hard as possible for Palestinians in the hope they leave.
No one seems to mention the fact that Israel is holding over 2,000 hostages without access to trial or judicial recourse and many of them are children.
People should not forget that while Hamas’s action cannot be justified, they tried every means of parliamentary process when they were democratically elected in 2006 with a majority in Gaza and the West Bank. What was the response of the US and EU? Sanctions and economic blockade because they did not like the outcome.
Western media lives on IDF bulletins without challenge and every supporter of Israel is given a voice.
Meanwhile, ‘settlers’ burn villages and homes and no one seems to care.
Where is the outrage for this?
Understanding the horror
When I was a very young man, I read Leon Uris avidly and saw the film Exodus more than once, and was convinced that there was only one narrative on the foundation of Israel in the land of Palestine.
I loved the idea of Jewish settlers from Europe taking over the territory of others, in my ignorance of the reality.
It was only years later that I began to realise there was a more valid story regarding the indigenous population of Arabs, called Palestinians, who have been ignored and written out of the ‘accepted’ version of history.
I was late to hearing the truth of the expulsion of native Palestinians from their legitimate lands and homes.
When Israel was being set up, their leader, David Ben Gurion, said that “within two years nobody would remember there had been Arabs on the land” they now possessed outside of that which was agreed the new State of Israel could occupy. He was wrong in his claim.
A special unit of the first Israeli administration, later lauded as heroes, began a policy of brutally driving Palestinian families from their farms and even the houses they’d lived in for untold generations.
We need to trace the Israeli history back to the lead-up to 1948 and to the terror inflicted upon all who attempted to protect the native Arabs, in order to learn the true nature of the foundation of the apartheid state of Israel, to fully understand the current horror unfolding.
Bantry, Co Cork
A little more generosity wouldn’t go amiss
I very much welcome Cormac Moore’s continuing interest in the period since the partition of Ireland.
Growing up in the 1940s and 50s, I recall clearly the humiliation suffered by Nationalist MPs in the ‘old Stormont’ (Harry Diamond, Eddie McAteer, Cahir Healy etc). Had unionism been ‘more generous’ then, things may very well have been a lot different. Got to say though, going to St Peter’s morning Mass, I used to pass by the wall murals where overall history is neglected by ‘our side’. This is particularly emphasised while overhearing the tour taxi drivers speak for the most part about the more recent ‘troubles’.
This year was the 225th anniversary of 1798 – I didn’t see any murals relating to that period. I for one did not forget. Henry Munro’s name was on my ‘anniversary list’ for Mass in St Teresa’s parish in June this year, and he a Presbyterian. A little more generosity would not go amiss.