Northern leaders turned down papal invitation
GERRY MORIARTY and MARK HENNESSY - Fri, Sep 17, 2010
NORTHERN IRELAND’S First and Deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness did not accept invitations to meet with Pope Benedict XVI in Edinburgh in an effort to avoid causing difficulties for either of them, both men confirmed last night.
Up to now, because of their opposing political and religious allegiances, there was an unspoken protocol whereby Mr Robinson and before him, former DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley, would deal with British royal business, while papal matters would be left to Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Mr McGuinness.
The invitation posed particular difficulties for Mr Robinson, who would have attended the Holyroodhouse reception with the pope and Queen Elizabeth, while his predecessor-in-office, Ian Paisley, was in the city protesting at Pope Benedict’s state visit.
Meanwhile, the German cardinal who caused a diplomatic flurry just hours before the pope’s visit has refused to apologise for describing the
Leading British clerics, led by the head of the Catholic Church in
Standing by the comments, the cardinal’s spokesman claimed that he had merely highlighted the
“It was not a negative connotation, it was the opposite of racism. He meant the
The cardinal is particularly standing by his charge that the Catholic Church in the
“Christianity is no longer protected like other religions in the
Pope Benedict will today meet with the global head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams of
The two men met briefly yesterday at a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth at
Last October, the
The second day of the pope’s visit will concentrate in
The highlight of his trip will be tonight’s Westminster Hall speech to political and civic leaders, which is expected to focus strongly on the need for a religious influence in society at large and the need for religious organizations to play a vocational role in society.
God forbid that their presence at the historic visit of our Holy Father to the