1 September 1917: An Orangeman praises Fr Willie Doyle — from the “Remembering Fr Willie Doyle SJ” blog

I while back I marked the feast day of St Vincent de Paul with Fr Willie Doyle, an Irish Jesuit chaplain in World War I killed in the Battle of Langemarck on 16th August 1917

Each day the Remembering Fr Willie Doyle SJ has a gem from Fr Doyle’s own journals or relevant materials, which always provokes thought and influences prayers for the day.

Today we have a quote from a Belfast Orangeman publichsed in the Glasgow Weekly News 102 years ago:

Fr. Doyle was a good deal among us. We couldn’t possibly agree with his religious opinion, but we simply worshipped him for other things. He didn’t know the meaning of fear, and he didn’t know what bigotry was. He was as ready to risk his life to take a drop of water to a wounded Ulsterman as to assist men of his own faith and regiment. If he risked his life in looking after Ulster Protestant soldiers once, he did it a hundred times in the last few days…The Ulstermen felt his loss more keenly than anybody, and none were readier to show their marks of respect to the dead hero priest than were our Ulster Presbyterians. Fr. Doyle was a true Christian in every sense of the word, and a credit to any religious faith. He never tried to get things easy. He was always sharing the risks of the men, and had to be kept in restraint by the staff for his own protection. Many a time have I seen him walk beside a stretcher trying to console a wounded man with bullets flying around him and shells bursting every few yards.

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