Anti-Catholicism and the Titanic

An interesting observation on the centennial of the great ship’s sinking, from a paper in Ireland:

Divine intervention has long been a blamed by some for playing a role in the sinking of the Titanic during its maiden voyage in 1912.

Harland and Wolff, the East Belfast shipyard  where the ship was manufactured, was notorious for not hiring Catholics.In the 1900’s the workforce was entirely  Protestant and virulently anti -Catholic.

“At Harland and Wolff it was not unknown for workers to paint on the sides of ships under construction the words “NO POPE” in letters ten feet high or more,” writes naval historian David Allen Butler.

There were widespread stories that each rivet hammered into the Titanic was accompanied by a ‘f.. the pope epithet

Any Catholics who were hired were subject to blatant discrimination.Some had hammers dropped on them from above and the atmosphere against Catholics was described as “poisonous”

The  author and historian Daniel Allen Butler writes about a how anti-Catholic sentiment in Northern Ireland at the time of the ship’s construction was blamed by some  for the tragedy.

“Very active in Ulster politics at this time was one William James Pirrie, who became the Chairman of Harland and Wolff in 1895.  He instituted an unwritten but strictly enforced policy that the firm would never knowingly employ a Roman Catholic,” writes Butler about the era during which the Titanic was being crafted in Belfast.

Read more.

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