The Catholic Bishop with responsibility for Belfast has urged Christians in the North to study the root causes of the ongoing flag protests centred on the city.

Bishop Noel Treanor also appealed for an examination of the disenchantment expressed by the three weeks of violence and disruption.

Speaking at a service in Newry marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Bishop Treanor conceded that the Christian Churches had partly formed the prejudices of centuries.

He said they still have "an abiding gospel responsibility to help find a way to scale away" those prejudices.

He reminded the congregation in Saint Patrick's Church of Ireland in the border town that well over 83% of the North's population was Christian according to the last census.

He said they need urgently to waken up to the resources of their common Christian heritage.

The Bishop of Down and Connor said this was necessary in order to lead the North out of "the blind alleyways of fear-driven politics, divisive protests and self and mutually destructive violence".