Northern Ireland

Orange Order in Mass U-turn call

Mass Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Reverend Mervyn Gibson said the rule banning members from attending Catholic church services 'harked back to a different era'

The Assistant Grand Master of the Orange Order has said he would support the lifting of a ban on members attending Catholic church services.

The historic rule stops members going to the funerals and weddings of Catholic friends.

The Reverend Mervyn Gibson told the BBC's Talkback programme he would support a move to lift the ban on entering Catholic churches.

He said the rule "harked back to a different era".

"That's a rule that the order has - we are a democratic organisation, so if someone feels they want to change that rule it can be proposed, debated and voted on," he said.

He told the programme that some members of the Orange Order do attend weddings and funerals of Catholic friends - but do not enter the chapel for the service.

But, when asked if he would bring the motion himself, Rev Gibson said there was "too much going on" at present.

He also told the programme that Catholics were "Christians in need of reformation".

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