Sunday, 27 March 2011


Yes, it is finally time for this great man to file his pen and put away his various means of communication. At the ripe old age of 84 he deserves a well earned rest, he has, after all, given most of his working life to promoting the Catholic Church through the media.
A famous orator he also held post as MP representing the folk of Northern Ireland, he has led the Democratic Unionist Party and last year he was made a peer becoming Baron Bannside.

Photo: BBC
Farewell Dr Ian Paisley - 'the bitter orange'
Ian Richard Kirk (honestly, you couldn't make it up) Paisley has, for as long as I can remember, slagged off the Catholic Faith, the Holy Father and all things emanating from Rome. And, in so doing he has created a wave of sympathy for Catholicism and, in particular, for the Catholics of  Northern Ireland. During a session of the European Parliament he famously interrupted proceedings shouting that "Pope John Paul II is the Antichrist" - he also referred frequently to the church and the Holy Father as "the Whore of Babylon".

Paisley has  presented such a bigoted and sectarian viewpoint that he has pushed people's opinions into the opposite (Catholic) camp. For all of that, I find him a rather interesting figure. He actually commenced his theological studies in South Wales at what is now the Evangelical Theological College ( a very grim place - I know, I've been inside it and was greatly relieved to get out alive).
His Doctorate credentials came from a US Baptist College (obviously a hard anti Catholic one down South) and he very quickly established his own church and brand of Prebyterianism once back in Belfast.

On the occasion of Pope JP II's visit to Great Britain the HF met with the Presbyterian Church's top honcho in Scotland and gave him his blessing.
This enraged Paisley who immediately set up a group of supporters along the Papal route all holding banners stating: "All those blessed by this man will burn in hell". Legend has it that, as the Popemobile drew level with this group, the Holy Father extended his hand to them and gave them his blessing!

But Ian Paisley really has a dark background. I recall watching the infamous televised Oxford Union debate back in the 60s when Paisley produced a consecrated host from his pocket and ground it underfoot. All Catholics watching must have taken a deep intake of breath at that point, one can only pray that the host was not, in fact, consecrated.

He appeared to mellow somewhat with age but I suspect that someone with his level of bigotry would always carry it under the surface.

He leaves behind him, a son, also an Ian and also a politician.


  1. Poisonous man! No, venomous man! Oh heck, both then!

  2. I'm not sure anything he's done for the UK is worth a life peerage; it certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  3. There is no legend attached to 'the blessing'. In fact Dr Paisley was blessed at three different times by the passing pope - all caught on film and reported by the evening news the same day. All in our house watched it with great amusement.

  4. I pray God makes him more holy than me. Glory to the Divine Mercy! :)

  5. Retired priest Athanasios Paul Thompson has read and listened to the Irish Presbytarian "prophet" more than once. It is a way to sharpen the conscience for the holy intent to love all Christians, even those who may be our enemies and with whom we disagree. How often we hear the criticism of Adventists and Baptists from Catholic people. The bite we feel from Rev Ian Paisley's anti catholic rhetoric can be a blessing. Athansios Paul says: "None of us love as Christ loves and that will not happen here when we demonize our brother Ian Paisley." Yes he seems dedicated to seeing only the negative in Catholicism. But have we not often treated other professing Christians the same way? "Let's pray a Kyrie Eliason for all men!"

  6. I met him the evening after he had officially retired. He was sat in a Pizza Express in Millbank (of all places!).

    He seemed pleasant enough, though a bit grumpy. He also ended his meal with a mint tea - which seemed very sedate for someone known as a firebrand! lol.

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