Irish Catholic Primate in secret Orange meeting

The Catholic Primate of All Ireland has held secret talks with leaders of the Orange Order and other key Protestant fraternal societies in his residence in Armagh.

The Irish Independent reports that Archbishop Sean Brady on Monday met with the leaders of the Orange Order, the Independent Orange Order and the Royal Black Preceptory.

Well-known names in the Orange Order and two elected representatives of the Northern Ireland Assembly were among the delegation on the Protestant side.

The Orange leaders took the unprecedented step of meeting Archbishop Brady in his home. This was the first such encounter of the Orange and the Green in the centuries old sectarian feud in Northern Ireland.

The meeting having taken place after recent sectarian killings that threaten the fragile peace process has raised hopes that serious dialogue has been initiated.

The aim of the "first-step" talks appears to have been to copper-fasten a mutual desire to prevent the further possible loss of life in the weeks ahead during the highly volatile Orange marching season in the North.

The Archbishop revealed that the meeting took place at the request of the Loyal Orders.

It represented, Dr Brady said, "their willingness to go beyond the barriers of history", and he "greatly welcomed their desire to explain their customs, principles and values" of their institutions.

A statement from the Orangemen said: "It was a useful exchange of views held in an atmosphere of concern for the coming months which all sides wish to see pass in an entirely peaceful manner."

Pictured: Sean Brady

Primate in secret Orange meeting (Irish Independent 6/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Statement on first meeting between the Catholic Primate, Archbishop Seán Brady and the leaders of the Orange Order, the Independent Orange Order and the Royal Black Perceptory (Cathoilc Communications Office)

Statement on first meeting between Irish Primate and Orange Order (Independent Catholic News 6/6/06)
Irish Mass attendance below 50% (Catholic World News 1/6/06)
Government commission calls for clerical abuse victims to come forward (catholicireland.net 31/5/06)

7 Jun 2006