Prod denominations need to follow Big Frank’s example

Former Blanket columnist Dr John Coulter believes the various Protestant denominations could learn a trick ot two from the election of Pope Francis. This article first appeared in the Monday 25 March edition of the Irish Daily Star.

Pope Francis is just the tonic that the warring Prod Church factions in Ireland need.

No, I haven’t been indulging in late drowning of the shamrock or Maghaberry Moonshine; just asking the two dozen-plus Protestant denominations on the Emerald Isle to get their acts together.

On paper, Pope Francis stands to be the most influential pontiff in terms of reforming the Church in Ireland since the famous Vatican Two Council of the late 1950s.

Just because he portrays himself as a down-to-earth cleric doesn’t mean he will avoid kicking ass on the most important challenges facing global Catholicism.

The sooner Big Frank makes his first trip to Ireland, the better. He needs to get to grips with the sexual abuse scandals by excommunicating any cleric or sister convicted by the courts of any type of abuse.

But Big Frank can also teach a lesson or two to the various warring Protestant churches. It won’t be too long before the hardline fundamentalists trot out the usual drivel about the pope being the AntiChrist.

The irony is that many of them share the same core beliefs as Big Frank.

This pope will take a firm stance against abortion, same sex marriage, divorce, contraception, gay clergy, and women bishops – all also opposed by Prod fundamentalists.

But Pope Francis will bring a sense of unity to the Irish Catholic Church. Irish Catholicism – like many Protestant Churches – is a denomination at war with itself because of the alleged sexual abuse cover-ups.

Many pew Catholics no longer have any faith in their hierarchy. Pope Francis needs to use any Irish tour to put in place a new leadership and strip out all the dead wood.

Ireland suffers a lack of young priests because of the stereotype that to want to join holy orders is a statement about sexual preferences.

Pope Francis could learn one trick from Protestants – allow the clergy and sisters the option of marriage.

What is so wrong about the concept of married priests and children in the parochial houses? Making Biblical marriage optional is one compromise Big Frank will have to make to kick-start the Irish Catholic Church.
But unity as a key theme of Pope Francis’s papacy will be a tough pill to swallow for many Protestants.

I am not talking about a rebirth of the ecumenical movement. If Pope Francis can heal the rifts within Catholicism, the various Prod Churches must learn to live with each other.

With more than 24 different separate Protestant denominations, plus a legion of other independent Protestant churches, I often wonder which place of worship Jesus Christ Himself might join if He came back?

I also recall the days when my dad was chairman of the Evangelical Prayer Breakfast movement. Fundamentalist nutters used to gather in groups outside the venue and scream chants at those attending. Some Christians they were!

And what about the other nutters who say women can’t join a church because they don’t wear hats?

Prod denominations need to follow Big Frank’s example and rid their churches of the nutball fundamentalist clap trap that has polluted the Reformed Faith for decades.

1 comment:

  1. John Coulter-

    " Pope Francis needs to use any Irish tour "

    Belfast would be a good stop on that tour-we would put up the yellow and white Vatican flags all over the place for the big welcome and Frazer and that other blonde one would go to court and face Hunger-strike to take those flags down- it would be like the second comming-