Monday, October 30, 2006

The Emerald Isle

The Belfast Telegraph:

Pope Benedict XVI has been invited by the Roman Catholic Primate Archbishop Sean Brady to visit Ireland.

As predicted in the Belfast Telegraph at the start of the visit two weeks ago, the invitation to the Pope was likely to be made during the pilgrimage to Rome, where the Irish hierarchy not only met the Pope personally but also a number of leading Vatican officials, including those responsible for his visits.

Informed sources have indicated that Archbishop Brady and his fellow bishops have been anxious for some time that Pope Benedict should come to Ireland to "complete" the visit of Pope John Paul II who was unable to come to Armagh for security reasons.

Such a visit would be particularly appropriate in the event of a political settlement in Northern Ireland, although it is understood that such a visit might cause difficulties for the DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley.

If Dr Paisley was to become First Minister, he could be required by protocol to welcome the Pope formally at Armagh, which would be a key venue in any proposed Papal visit.

On the other hand, Dr Paisley has already made history by meeting Archbishop Brady and his senior colleagues for formal political talks at Stormont.

That would be interesting to see, Paisley meeting the Pope at the See of St. Patrick. But first we have to see if the northern Irish can get their stuff together and come up with a plan. Otherwise, home rule will be out the window (again).

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