DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     July 3-5, 1998     vol. 9, no. 129

from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO


          BELFAST (CWNews.com) - Ten Catholic churches in Northern Ireland were damaged by arsonists Wednesday night, and two of them were destroyed in action police say is linked to a loyalist march planned for Sunday.

          The Orange Order, Northern Ireland's major pro-British Protestant fraternal order, was ordered by the government Parades Commission on Monday that they could not bring their annual parade on Sunday through a Catholic neighborhood this weekend. Similar bans in 1997 and 1996 sparked rioting and violence throughout the province. Fearful that rising tensions could undermine April's peace agreement, British Prime Minister Tony Blair flew into Belfast today to meet top political and religious leaders and to inspect at least one of the damaged churches.

          Nine of the churches were in predominantly Protestant rural areas between Belfast and Portadown, 30 miles away and the location of the banned parade. The tenth church in Protestant east Belfast suffered minor damage. Gasoline bombs were also thrown at two Catholic homes in Protestant east Londonderry. No group claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but police linked them to members of an outlawed pro-British gang, the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

July 3-5, 1998       volume 9, no. 129


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