Monday, 27 February 2017

JAMES VICTOR HAMILTON 1930 - 2017
My long time friend Victor Hamilton Died in the past week and I was given the privilege of conducting his Funeral Service at his request and with the permission of his wife, son and daughter.

Victor was a Presbyterian by birth but he was a special character and a one off. 

Here I reproduce my address at the service which was held in an interdenominational  in Belfast.

This is my second funeral for a Presbyterian in a week and after been refused Communion at an RC funeral last Tuesday it was a very pleasant experience to be so welcome.

ADDRESS AT FUNERAL OF VICTOR HAMILTON (1931 – 2017)
CO-OP FUNERAL HOME BELFAST – 27TH FEBRUARY 2017
Bishop Pat Buckley

Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819 – 1881) was a well-known American novelist, poet and journalist from Massachusetts USA.

He was born into an extremely poor family and although very bright had to begin work early as a factory worker to help his family.

Later he studied medicine and qualified in 1844.

However, he soon gave up medicine and became a writer, poet, journalist and editor.

He died in 1881 and is buried in Springfield, Massachusetts. On his headstone, you will find the inscription:

“Et Vitam impendere Vero”
“To devote life to the truth”.

One of his most famous poems is: GIVE US MEN:

GOD, give us men!
A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honour; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flateries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

Holland tells us that the world needs men with STRONG MINDS, GREAT HEARTS, TRUE FAITH and READY HANDS.

Men who reject: THE LUST OF OFFICE AND THE SPOILS OF OFFICE.

Men who have: OPINIONS AND A WILL, HONOUR, who REFUSE TO DEAL IN LIES and who LIVE ABOVE THE FOG OF THE RABBLE.

Let us examine the life of our beloved Victor Hamilton against the background of Holland’s criteria.

Victor Hamilton had a strong and fine mind.

He was immersed in literature, poetry, history, languages, politics, religion and life.

His library in his home on Holywood, County Down would put an Oxford don to shame.

That library was read, re-read, memorised and mentally catalogued in every detail. 

At will Victor could tell you the dates of birth and death of a Borgia pope or a 19th century British prime minister.

HIS HEART?

Victor’s heart was at least as big as the Grand canyon. All his life he specialised in reaching out personally, financially and practically to strangers in need.

Some years ago as part of the Northern Ireland “Troubles” a young Catholic postman from the Newtownabbey area of Belfast was cruelly murdered by the loyalist paramilitaries.

His devastated family buried him in Carnmoney Cemetery and erected a beautiful headstone in his memory. His murderers returned one night with crowbars and sledge hammers and reduced his memorial to rubble.

When Victor read about it in the newspapers he immediately posted the bereaved family a cheque to cover the replacement of the memorial. He did this privately and confidentially. And in so doing fulfilled the Biblical advice:

“Let not your right hand know what your left hand in doing”.

He also fulfilled the words of his beloved poet William Wordsworth in the Lyrical Ballads:

“The best portion of a good man’s life are his little unremembered acts of kindness and of love”.

TRUE FAITH:

Victor was born into a prominent Northern Ireland Presbyterian family. His grandfather Dr Robert Wilson Hamilton was the minister of Railway Street Presbyterian Church in Lisburn and was also the Presbyterian Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland from 1924 to 1925.

Victor's grandfather who was Presbyterian Moderator 1924 - 1925.


However, Victor struggled with organised religion and religious faith and was certainly absolutely non-denominational. He did not really attend Church very often. When we discussed his views on these matters I recommended to him the prayer of the famous Jesuit George Tyrrell:

“O God – if there is a God,
Save my soul – if I have a soul”.

Victor was a man without guile or ambition.

He was a lawyer who had great misgivings about the law, the legal profession and the judiciary.

He was a Presbyterian with grave misgivings about all kinds of organised religion.

He was an Ulster man with grave misgivings about politics, politicians and nation states.

And he was ALWAYS on the side of:

The underdog.
The rebel.
The nonconformist.

In fact it was this attitude that let to him and I meeting, becoming friends for 25 years and indeed my standing here today.

You see Victor was really and truly a ONE OFF.

When the Creator created him he destroyed the mould.

If her was here today he would be deeply embarrassed about us praising him.
He was a

A BIBLOPHILE
A LINGUIST
A HISTORIAN
A NUMESMATIC
A TRAVELLER
A GOOD SAMARITAN
A SEEKER AFTER TRUTH

Was Victor a Christian?

He was – but only in the sense of Mahmata Gandhi who said:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
I think that Victor was a Christian according to the mind of the great Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner. Rahner spoke of “Anonymous Christians”.

For Victor Christianity was not the following of a specific church. It was not at all denominational. His Christianity was the Christianity of the Spirit of Christ who said:

“Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you”.

“It is by their fruits (not their words) that ye shall know them”.

I KNOW that Victor Hamilton was a far better Christian that I will ever be.

I SUSPECT that he was a far better Christian than anybody else here today.

And – remembering George Tyrrell’s prayer:

If there is a God – Victor is in his arms today.

If we have a soul:

Victor’s soul – the soul that touched so many – in a profundity of ways – is at last reunited with: THE GREAT MYSTERY.

THE MYSTERY THAT IS AT THE HEART OF BEING.

AR DHEIS DE RO RAIBH A ANAM DILIS


MAY HIS BELOVED SOUL BE AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.

Victor at his family grave in Lisburn.

35 comments:

  1. A son of God for sure may he have his reward of the AGAPE

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  2. Victor, pray for me, and I shall pray for thee, that we might meet merrily in heaven. (Thomas More)

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  3. It's good to see the walls of denominationalism coming. I remember the prayers and services for Christian unity in Sligo where there is more than one church. Smoke and mirrors I remember. Sing a few hymns and business as usual. It is only since coming to heathen England I discovered that ecumenism is liberating and the true bond is faith in Jesus. So it is Lent tomorrow Time to let the fresh air in

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  4. A fine Christian man. RIP.

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  5. And the Catholic Church celebrates Christian Unity week in January because it is in the ordo and yet refuse people Holy Communion. The Catholic Church does not get Ecunemism and dont want to get it either. Very sad. What hope do we have when the Catholic Church will not accept its own catholics to the table of the Lord and yet we want to hope for Unity so all denominations will gather around the same table one day and break bread. The Catholic Church missed the point along the way somewhere. Equality,understanding, compassion and acceptance, the RC Church does not practice or live them.

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  6. Pat, were you excommunicated ?

    If so what does that mean ?.
    Can someone who is excommunicated be reinstated?

    ?

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    Replies
    1. NOBODY has ever formally notified me that I was "excommunicated".

      "They say" that I was "automatically excommunicated" by becoming a bishop without a Papal Mandate?

      I do not believe in excommunication.

      The church is the Family of God and God never puts anyone out of his family.

      Excommunication is one of the various ways the Institution tries to control and scare us.

      That does not work with me.

      For me excommunication is as real as Santa Clause.

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    2. Are you saying Santa is non existent? ;)

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    3. Ho ho ho Excommunication is a tool of canon law. Yet the church that excommunicates believes nobody is outside the Grace of God. Bull fekin sh*t. People in the past were threatened with the fires of hell as a means of control. If I refuse Communion in an r c church it is out of respect depending on the circumstances but my mind rises above the rubbish

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  7. Thank you Pat, your reply is very interesting

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  8. So phonsie was making an assumption
    about you.
    He was acting as judge and jury
    And all to make a show of himself
    Have you had an feedback from that day other than from us on here

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  9. Excommunication Interesting. Around 1400 during the great Schism we had two popes who excommicated each other along with ALL followers. The Eastern Orthodox had already been excommunicated so in effect virtually ALL Christians had come under the ban. In 1966 Paul VI and the Greek Patriarch lifted the ban. Did that unexcommunicate all who had been in exile for 1000 years.? I ask you!!!

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  10. Pat, as a Roman Catholic Priest, you were excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for attempting to receive Episcopal Ordination and without the Permission of the Supreme Pontiff (the Pope). You were excommunicated a second time for attempting to confer priestly ordination on a woman (i.e., Mother Franches Meigh - with whom you subsequently had huge falling out). The excommunications do not need to be formally declared, but rather are incurred by the very action of attempting to receive episcopal order, etc. That is why they are called "Latae Sententiae" - i.e. the sentence is received in the action. These are Remedial. That means that they are meant to remedy a situation, and so in the fullness of time, if and when, you are reconciled to the Church, these will be lifted. This is a simple process whereby you would seek out the Bishop of the diocese in which you are living, formally recant your having received epsicopal order illicitly, make a full sacramental confession and pledge to adhere to any stipulation made at that time (to refrain for any episcopal ministry forthwith). It would be over with in matter of hours and you would be free to receive the sacraments of the Church. Please consider it. Senior Canon Lawyer.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the canon law perspective.

      With all due respect I have no respect for canon law and regard it as the Code of the New Pharisee.

      I try and make all my decisions in line with the teachings of Jesus - not the constructs of men.

      Some years ago I received an offer from the Irish Hierarchy:

      1. Confess becoming a bishop to a named Irish bishop.

      2. Have him arrange the lifting of the alleged "excommunication" with Rome.

      3. Be given £50,000 a year for 5 years wheich would be spent outside Ireland.

      4. Return after 5 years and receive an appointment.

      I asked the senior barrister if this proposal would be given to me IN WRITING.

      He said no!

      It did not happen - and would never had happened.

      I deal with God directly and not through others.

      The process you suggest will NEVER happen.

      30 pieces of silver !!!

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    2. 14.12 Naughty Pat that's you told. How do you explain the grace of God in the lives of all you helped. Was that help illegal like Poteen.

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  11. So Ignatious going by that
    Are we the lucky ones to be the top dogs back then ? ?.... Us rc

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  12. You know the word excommunication does have a great sound of liberation about it, rather than being something to be feared it can give much joy. These Romans are so convinced that they rule the roost (well the evil ones amongst them anyway).

    James Hamilton was ahead of his time for us mortals left behind. We need more of his type. But then as I know they exist amongst us all down through the ages and they are kicked, punched and slated for being good souls. Thank God they rose above everything to shine their LIGHT in the darkness

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  13. Pat,
    Your disbelief in excommunication is akin to the disbelief of a condemned man in capital punishment!

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    Replies
    1. With excommunication there is no electric chair, no rope, no coffin and no grave.

      A poor comparison!

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    2. I agree Pat 16.07 could have done better
      Not even 1 out of 10 there

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  14. Canonlawyer

    So was that my money that wd have been used to hide Pat ?
    How could Pat have been excommunicated twice. ?? Weird that one
    So is this the same canon law who made a child swear ....not to tell his parents. ? ? That he was asked if he enjoyed being abused ? ?

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  15. Pat you could have had a quare auld time on 50 gran a year for 5 years...us laity's money.
    Then got excommunicated again....sure that wd have been just 3 times
    And we all know... 3 times lucky

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  16. I know for a fact that your status Pat was raised during the recent Ad Limina visit of the Irish Bishops, as well as a plea to resolve the situation.

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    Replies
    1. Now that does sound like BULLSHIT no disrepect intended

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  17. Oh I'm sure fonsie Must have been rippIn at that Ad Limina idea

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  18. Pat you are a prickly thorn in the sides of our so called bishops
    Especially fonsie

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  19. 18.33
    I believe the bishops would feel safer with Pat in than where he is....out
    Let the talks begin. Lol

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    Replies
    1. Better inside the tent pissing out

      Than outside the tent pissing in :-)

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  20. Canon law Is an ass
    As is shown time and time again

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  21. Paddy, if you believe for one moment that you were discussed at three Ad limina then you are more deluded than I suspected! On the vast hide of the Church you are nit even a pimple on the arse! When you pop your clogs it will be as though you had never existed.

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    1. Unless you want to take up his blogggg lol

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    2. What amazing imagery! - - I don't think Kents or Shelley ever used the pimple idea - -

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    3. Not to me it wont! I credit Pat as one of those who has rekindled my interest in religion and christianity. Should he pre decease me I will certainly mourn but I hope and pray that will not be for many years and that he will see his efforts bring reform to the RC church, but the church catholick is emerging anew and it is a wondrous thing! All genuine forms of liturgical expression have their place, some express the transcendence of God and some the suffering servant who makes known to his friends all he has learnt from his Father, revealed in service to ones neighbour (Good Samaritan) and in the breaking of bread. I feel challenged to create sacred and hospitable spaces where conversion can happen, not by proselytising but by demonstrating empathy and unconditional love. I desperately want to avoid the habit of calling or seeing anyone as enemy..it's a challenge indeed! And a sacred and wholly / holy duty. Love and prayers for your good self and your ministry Pat! So sorry you have had to experience the loss of close friends in quick succession and the revelation of one immersed in all that your mission seeks to reveal and consistently hold a mirror to. Send forth your spirit O Lord, and renew the face of the earth! PAX.

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