20. May, 2015

Prince Charles Spearheads Reconciliation and Compassion.

This last Tuesday evening [19 May] at a reception at the National University of Ireland Galway something very civilised happened. It was an event that reflects the clear difference between civilised and primal peoples.

 Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, shook hands publicly and met privately with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and his colleague Martin McGuinness at the start of the Princes four-day visit to Ireland. The meeting lasted some twenty minutes.

 Later in the trip the Prince accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, will visit the village of Mullaghmore in County Sligo - where his great-uncle, Earl Mountbatten, was killed by an IRA bomb in 1979.

 The symbolism of this hand shake, the first meeting in the Republic of Ireland between Sinn Féin's leadership and a Royal Family member cannot be understated.

 Earl Mountbatten was killed by the IRA whilst boating. Mountbatten was a good man, a great military commander and administrator during the Second World War and the immediate post war years. He was extremely popular in Britain, indeed one of the most popular of the Royals.  It is no secret that Prince Charles adored him. His death shattered the Prince and scarred Great Britain.

 The photograph of this very public act of reconciliation, with the Prince holding the quintessential symbol of Britain, a cup and saucer of tea, is a lesson to a world desperately in need of reconciliation, peace and dialogue.

 It is this mindset that prevents the French, British and many European countries from holding grudges against each other for the manifold wars and injustices they have wreaked upon each other over the centuries. It is the mindset of forgiveness, deeply ingrained in our Judaic Christian values. It combines pragmatism and a genuine desire to forget the past and to get on with the future.

 That is why the Western world has trouble coming to terms with the ingrained hatreds and grudges held by some other cultures. The disintegration of the former Yugoslavia was case to point. That peoples in that tragic region could hold centuries old grudges and act out their hatreds in such a brutal manner was impossible to believe. Similarly the current divisions in Islam are beyond the comprehension of most Westerners.

 Great Britain has in its history certainly earned its unfortunate sobriquet ‘perfidious Albion’. But no country is free of faults. On the other side of the coin it should also be remembered that the Union Flag has been and remains a potent symbol of stability, tolerance and virtue.

 The Prince of Wales, in the best traditions of British statesmanship, has just set an example to the world.



Bill cebula

23.05.2015 05:10

Are we hypocritical when parliament recites the Our Father. Methinks yes


25.05.2015 09:38

Perhaps we are. But, if it pricks one conscience it is worth the while. Let us not abndon hope.

Bill Cebula

23.05.2015 05:09

Jesus said peace be with you, I give peace. Not happiness, wealth etc. what he meant no forgiveness, no peace. I think he was absolutely right

Bill Cebula

23.05.2015 05:06

Forgiveness for Christians is mandatory. Cannot find reference where it is mandatory for other faiths. Good idea yes, but not mandatory

Bill Cebula

23.05.2015 05:04

Those who do not forgive cannot consider themselves to be followers of Christ . Sadly many calling themselves Christians do not forgive


25.05.2015 09:37

Too true BIll. Sadly a lesson Bill lost on many of us. It takes courage.

Bill Cebula

23.05.2015 05:01

Forgive us as we forgive. No forgiveness do not expect to be forgiven. As potential head of Anglican Church Charles is on the money. I believe he is sincere.


25.05.2015 09:35

I too believe he is sincere Bill. I think he is a sincereman.


20.05.2015 10:22

And yet how remarkable it is that there are those who live within the civilities of our western heritage who seek to undermine in the name of "tolerance".


20.05.2015 22:53

Very true Fred. They are real 'enemy within' to be exposed for what they are. And they must be tackled by all without fear or favour.

Sam Cannon

20.05.2015 06:20

An unusual error by you John. The Queen and Prince Phillip met GA and MM in June 2012 so it is the second meeting by the Royal family.


20.05.2015 22:47

Indeed Sam, they met in Northern Ireland, not in the Republic. Should have made that clearer. Thanks.

Sam Cannon

20.05.2015 06:18

Your capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation speaks volumes about your character. Let us hope that progress continues.


20.05.2015 22:57

Kind of you Sam. Let us continue to pray for that elusive beast, peace, wherever it may reside.


20.05.2015 05:12

Well summed up John! This is the only way forward but many can't see past their nose. Unfortunately it is often the next generation who are the most polarised.


20.05.2015 05:26

Thank you Steve - and how correct you are, exponentially so!

Latest comments

08.11 | 06:21

The Australian community is in for a world of long overdue pain. It is wholly its own fault for which I have nil sympathy.

08.11 | 06:15

Thanks indeed for the comment. I do agree that we badly need to 'clean out the swamp'. Trump certainly stirred those fetid waters.

08.11 | 05:22

I agree with the general thrust of your comments but the Australian community believes the governments can deliver without pain and there will be a lot of pain up ahead.

07.11 | 11:17

Nice job on the essay John, but regardless of his positions, Dutton is too much a cretin of the past, he also looks like the walking dead. We don't need more career politicians, we need a Trump.

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