Pope Summons Irish Bishops To Rome

The Irish bishops are to travel to Rome to face the man in charge, Pope Benedict, and discuss possibilities for the church in the aftermath of the clerical sex scandals. The talks are scheduled for the 15th and 16th of February. The Irish Times reports that: “It is expected that proposals on dealing with the […]

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010: Is Ecumenism Boring?

Ecumenism is boring. In the same journal article I discussed in yesterday’s post, Dr Andrew Pierce quotes Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, who called ecumenism the ‘great yawn of our time,’ and H.A. Williams, who dismissed ecumenism as the ‘last refuge of the ecclesiastical bore.’ My husband, a marketer by trade, reckons that ecumenism is in desperate […]

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010: A failure of the ecumenical imagination?

My colleague Dr Andrew Pierce has identified a failure of the ecumenical imagination in an article, ‘Re-imagining Irish Ecumenism: Enlarging a Sense of the Possible,’ in the journal Doctrine and Life (2008). It seems that ecumenism, both in Ireland and internationally, is floundering and people who are involved with the ecumenical movement or are sympathetic […]

The Iris Robinson Scandal and Evangelical Culture in Northern Ireland: Rejecting or Redeeming the ‘Sinner’?

Today’s Sunday Sequence programme on BBC Radio Ulster featured a segment by Malachi O’Doherty on the effect of the Iris Robinson scandal on evangelical culture in Northern Ireland. Amongst others, O’Doherty interviewed Dr Claire Mitchell of Queen’s University Belfast, a collaborator in my own research on evangelicalism. Dr Mitchell’s comments highlighted a significant tension within […]

Maria Power Book Review: From Ecumenism to Community Relations & The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010

The week of prayer for Christian Unity begins next week, 18-25 January 2010, with activities planned throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. Christian unity and ecumenism have always been touchy subjects on this island, given the sectarian nature of Northern Ireland’s recent Troubles. The most recent book on the history of ecumenism in Northern Ireland, Maria […]

Pat Robertson on Haiti Earthquake: Knowing the Mind of God

American televangelist Pat Robertson has declared that the earthquake in Haiti was a direct result of a ‘pact’ Haitians had made with the devil. He also said it is a ‘blessing in disguise’ for the beleaguered nation. Robertson, a one-time American presidential candidate, has built a multi-million dollar religious broadcasting empire and is the founder […]

Peter Rollins: Re-emergence Conference (Belfast) & Book Review

Trinity College Dublin’s Belfast campus (the Irish School of Ecumenics) will host a conference called ‘Re-emergence: The Church is Dead, Long Live the Church’, 16-18 March 2010. It will feature input by Phyllis Tickle, Dave Tomlinson and Peter Rollins. The event marks the launch of the ‘Insurrection’ tour, and is as yet its only UK/Ireland […]

Iris Robinson scandal – What now? Meaningful Change or Business as Unusual?

Last night’s BBC Panorama programme on the Iris Robinson affair, ‘The MP and the Whistleblower,’ followed much the same script as the original Spotlight programme. The Panorama showing, geared towards a wider UK audience, merely updated the on-going saga to include yesterday’s most important development: Peter Robinson’s decision to vacate the office of First Minister […]

The Robinson Scandal, Evangelical Pietism and Waiting for God to sort things out?

On today’s BBC Radio Ulster programme, Sunday Sequence, I discussed with Free Presbyterian minister Rev. David McIlveen, and former editor of the News Letter Austin Hunter, how the Robinson scandal may change Northern Irish social, political and religious culture. Rev McIlveen, a senior Free Presbyterian cleric who is a close confidant of former DUP party […]

The Robinson Affair: DUP’s Evangelical Constituency May Find it Easier to Forgive than to Trust

In yesterday’s Irish Times, Fionola Meredith wrote that folks might be surprised that Protestant fundamentalists seem willing to forgive Iris Robinson. Meredith notes that this constituency (I prefer to refer to them as conservative evangelicals) has been quick to condemn what they perceive as the immoral behaviour of other public figures. Why should their reaction […]

Iris Robinson Scandal, Episode II – Dodgy Loans with a side of tea and scones…

Wednesday we found out about the sex, yesterday we found out about the money. Last night the BBC ran the Spotlight programme that is assumed to have prompted First Minister Peter Robinson’s interview on Wednesday about his wife Iris’ marital infidelity. The programme revealed that Mrs Robinson secured a £50,000 loan for her then 19-year-old […]