Irish Presbyterian Moderator refuses to shake the Pope’s hand

The leader of the largest Protestant church in Northern Ireland has refused to shake the Pope’s hand.

Ian Hamilton is not comfortable shaking the hands of a man many protestant feel is an antichrist.

The Presbyterian Moderator, Dr Norman Hamilton, plans to go to a service in Westminster on Friday, attended by the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

But Dr Hamilton said he turned down the opportunity to be presented to the Pope after the service because of “troubling issues” which needed to be addressed.

He insisted his decision was not a snub to Catholics or Pope Benedict XVI.

He said he had changed his plans in order to accept an invitation to attend Friday’s ceremony because he wanted to show “proper respect to the Roman Catholic people of Ireland and their leader”.

However, the moderator said he had declined the opportunity to be presented to the Pope or to shake his hand after the service because there were a number of issues which needed “substantive discussion back in Ireland”.

“There appear to be troubling differences between us on how we deal with the past,” he said.

“Colleagues of mine are picking up pastoral issues within the Catholic Church, where Catholic families are coming to them asking for pastoral help, sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances, because they do not want Catholic clergy to deal with them in light of the abuse scandals.”

He added he hoped people would understand that he was in “difficult circumstances, where there were all sorts of conflicting pressures”.

Dr Hamilton was elected as the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in March.

The 63-year-old became a significant public figure as a result of his mediation work in the Holy Cross dispute in north Belfast in 2001.

Source: The BBC.

My comment:

The Protestant Church of Norther Ireland is the Church in Europe that know what Roman Catholics are capable of doing. Roman Catholics created and supported the IRA.

In 1988 Ian Paisley told the late pope who he is. Today few leaders have the same guts.

Ian Paisley is the founding member and past moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.

In 1988, when Pope John Paul II delivered a speech to the European Parliament, Paisley shouted “I Denounce you as the antichrist!” and held up a red poster reading “Pope John Paul II ANTICHRIST” in black letters. John Paul continued with his address after Paisley was ejected from the hemicycle by fellow MEPs.

4 thoughts on “Irish Presbyterian Moderator refuses to shake the Pope’s hand

  1. Ivar,

    The Brits attempt of political takeover of Ireland resulted in the “religious” war of protestants and Catholics. I do not think the cause is religious in nature. I have issues with the Brits for doing this to my family’s people.

    1. Dear Sue.


      Before I was saved, I was an atheist, and a strong supporter of the IRA. I was against British colonialism. Today, I see this differently. There are equally mistakes among the Royalists as among the Nationalists.

      But in regards to Ian Paisley’s comments, He is right. But this comment does not make him righteous. Jesus is our only righteousness. Before I shake the hand of the Pope, I will have to tell Him he is an antichrist. I do not know if I ever will get the chance to meet him eye to eye.

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