Foster prepared to meet the Pope if he comes to Northern Ireland.

A spokesperson for Arlene Foster said today she is prepared to meet the Pope if he visits Northern Ireland in 2018;

Any potential visit to Northern Ireland by the Pope is a matter for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Were the Pope to visit Northern Ireland in his capacity as Head of State then the First Minister would meet him.

 

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  • In 2018. Assuming everyone is still around and kicking…

    But it makes a nice change from 2010, when neither the First Minister nor the deputy First Minister could find time in their busy schedules to meet Benedict on the first-ever papal state visit to the UK.

    As I said then

    that’s what happens when you can’t meet the Pope/Queen without meeting the Queen/Pope…

  • I should have also highlighted this from the 2010 post

    As for the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister’s claim that he “also [has] some grounds for believing [a Papal visit to Ireland] could happen as soon as 2012”. What grounds would those be? Maybe 2016 would have been a safer bet? Or maybe not…

  • Croiteir

    I like the way she said yes yet maintained distance by saying his visit had nothing to do with her, guv, honest. Perhaps she likes a long spoon when she sups with the Pope?

  • Brian O’Neill

    Lucky Pope…

  • ted hagan

    Perhaps General Dee Stitt and the Homeland Security battalion could be appointed official guardians for His Holiness during the visit, for an appropriate fee of course.

  • eireanne3

    “Were the Pope to visit Northern Ireland in his capacity as Head of State then the First Minister would meet him”.

    what happens if he comes as head of the catholic church? then she won’t meet him?

  • ted hagan

    Vile woman?
    I’ll bet that you secretly wanted Foster to snub His Holiness so you could use your whole arsenal of over-the-top insults.

  • Roger

    Did the Scot or Welsh first mins meet him that time?

  • Jollyraj

    Yep. I’d say that’s about it. Redstar would have been outraged in any case one suspects

  • Declan Doyle

    Its fantastic news that Papa Francisco is coming to Ireland. He is the most popular pope in decades. Of course Arlene will meet him, unionism is not so stupid as to score such a massive own goal by snubbing the leader of the largest religious community in the North. As a Catholic Athiest I am beside myself with excitement.

  • John Collins

    Football coaches,just the tip of the iceberg no doubt, swimming coaches,TV personalities politicians and of course several non descript fathers, among several others ; have also been exposed as child abusers. This vile predilection is just as common in the General population as it is among clergy

  • Redstar

    It’s you that has no credibility. Foster is meant to be FM for here, not Britain. She stands for election and is supposed to represent all the people here, not Britain

  • John Collins

    His parents were Italian. Don’t post nonsense.

  • Redstar

    Not your night, I am not British nor did I vote!!!!!

  • John Collins

    Well you are absolutely right there.

  • John Collins

    Yes I am James. I knew this along, but I just googled PF and ‘history’ and it is clear both his parents were Italian emigrants to Argentina.

  • Surveyor

    You seem a bit upset the Pope is visiting Pete.

  • file

    Has anyone asked the Pope if he wants to meet her?

  • mickfealty

    For clarity, Arlene will meet the Pope if the Pope makes a state visit to the UK. Arlene accepts she’s obliged in that case as, along with Martin, she’s the UK’s most senior rep in NI.

    For further clarity, the head of Ms Foster’s own Church has already met the Pope several times. She’s not encumbered with the fundamentalist exegesis of some party colleagues.

    Will it actually happen? Will Martin still be FM? Confused? You will be?

  • mickfealty

    Play the ball guys, and don’t waste our time with pointless/factless arguments about ‘nahm’…

  • Korhomme

    I wonder, will he be in time for any ‘Repeal the 8th’ referendum?

  • Dan

    Be nice to hear him deliver in person his apologies, on behalf of his church, to the people of NI.

  • Declan Doyle

    Apologies for what?

  • Eh?

  • Yes, they did.

    The Pope said he wanted to hold out the hand of friendship to all the peoples of the United Kingdom.

    The pontiff met the Queen and other dignitaries including the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and the first ministers of Scotland and Wales, at Holyrood House.

  • Declan Doyle

    You let her off the hook nicely there.

  • Declan Doyle

    Nothing like a papal visit to bring a rash out on our extremist Unionists.

  • Declan,

    That would be why I was criticising them both in 2010 for ducking the meeting then…

  • Declan Doyle

    Can you do anything other than criticise?

  • Declan,

    Put the glass down, and step away from the keyboard.

  • Lorcs1

    Would 1.7 million cover it?

  • Declan Doyle

    Pete, put the keyboard down and step away from the glass.

  • Declan Doyle

    Ditto

  • Dan

    The abuses of children under its care, for a start.
    We can go on to questionable behaviour during the Troubles too.

  • thomas giran

    Would he be eligible to play football for Italy in the next World Cup?
    Maybe he would just choose Argentina, so as not to upset the locals.
    I don’t think he has any Irish connection so his visit to Ireland would come too late to make him eligible for the Republic.

  • thomas giran

    Are not just standing beside a mirror?

  • Guardian’s Quitter

    I’m surprised he’s got time what with all the poor refugees he’s taken in….. Oh…

  • Granni Trixie

    I think it would be an appropriate gesture if the Pope were to ask to meet Survivors of clerical abuse in NI. Whether they would want to meet him however is another matter.

  • Reader

    John Collins: This vile predilection is just as common in the General population as it is among clergy
    It’s probably more accurate to say that it is just as common in some other select occupations as it is among clergy.

  • Gopher

    “How many divisions has the Pope?” Stalin, pragmatism incarnate could teach Northern Ireland that when it comes to superstition there are no insuperable barriers. This probable visit by a pontiff is a good hurdle to get out of the way. I don’t know why people question the DUP’s ability to embrace a papal visit when outside a few ethereal hypothesis to all practical intends and purposes they apply the same real world solutions. Perhaps when the FM and DFM entertain the Pope at Stormont they can have cake, Asher’s cake with their tea. I’m sure those that wave a LGBT flag at a local business and have it put to the question will be less militant when its the Holy Father instead of happy clappy Prods trying to eke out a living.

    You think Arlene ain’t going to jump at that? Perhaps the Pope will get to run his eye over Abortion legislation up at Stormont to help Arlene choose the right course for their flocks, Catholic Protestant and Dissenter. He is after all your Pope Martin, not in the same way Fidel was your Fidel, a kinda deeper way. At this stage its always good to take a moment to differentiate the Queen from the Pope and the finer workings of the British constitution and its institutions. I’m sure Arlene could twist the knife further by inviting the Pope to hold a mass at one of our fine new Stadiums at Windsor or Ravenhill pointing out the party she is in government with is incapable of any form of competence to host such an event on their own bailiwick.

    I’m sure also Arlene wont be asking the Pope to apologize for any past misdeeds from drowning heretics to historical abuse. One has to understand in the glacial nature of Northern Irish politics the DUP has evolved quicker than everyone else and the sooner they realise they have to change, the DUP with the Popes blessing will be in power for along time to come. “Do you know Francis, the Pope supported our national hero back in the day” I can see see Arlene rubbing her hands at the prospect of a visit already.

  • Reader

    Declan Doyle: You let her off the hook nicely there.
    All he did was offer up a couple of simple and easily checked facts.
    You must have a rubbish hook.

  • Declan Doyle

    I dunno wahat that means but cheers anyway

  • Declan Doyle

    Its inconceivable that he wouldn’t address the role some members of the clergy played in the cover up and abuse of children. Lets wait and see.
    your second comment is nonsense.

  • Mirrorballman

    yes he has quite a few living with him actually…

  • Mirrorballman

    “In 2018. Assuming everyone is still around and kicking…”

    Frankie has a few years in him yet so don’t get your hopes up Pete 🙂

  • Croiteir

    The spoon gets longer

  • Dan

    Only ‘nonsense’ if you haven’t the balls to be honest

  • John Collins

    Well reader, just consider two scenarios.(1) I am a abused by a priest in recent years.I tell my parents and they report said priest to his bishop and he is removed from ministry, so at least I now released from the evil clutches of this monster.
    (2) I am abused by my father or step father and I AM in a far more difficult situation. Will my other parent believe me or is the other parent out of the equation.
    If the abuse is historic will other family want it to just left in the past and is rehashing the whole episode like a further abuse for them.
    Simply said, some experts feel that as many as 4 per cent of the population, both clerical and lay, have a sad inclination to this behaviour. As recent events in England have shown, in relation to football coaches, there is still a sad tendency to cover up this appalling behaviour.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Hashtag Pontifexit.

  • doopa

    ‘some’ – there’s absolutely no need for this word in the sentence. The Church was involved in covering up and abusing children. The bad apples defence has been blown away some time ago. The Church (and the pope as it’s head) needs to apologise.

  • eireanne3

    Ian paisley organised and took part in a 60-strong protest. I see the Free Ps are hoping to replicate this success in NI http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-11280797

  • If he was coming as a religious figure Enda wouldn’t have had to issue an invite. He only ever travels as Head of State, so if he comes…. FM just frames the diplomatic reality and context of the meeting.

  • John Collins

    Must have missed when Paisley or Willie McCrea, for that matter, apologised for an MP officiating at Billy Wright”s funeral.

  • Croiteir

    There is a significant question as to whether he will still be Pope by that stage, the divisions he is causing in the Church may come to a head before then.

  • file

    His visit to Dublin is a pastoral visit, i.e. not a state visit. It will take some ball juggling to turn his visit into a state visit for a few hours to cross the border and then back into a pastoral visit when he arrives back in Dublin. Poor pope anyway; Arlene is probably not high on his bucket list of people to meet – although, having met Enda Kenny, he is obviously not that choosy about the company he keeps.

  • billypilgrim1

    Fair play to her.

    I suspect there’ll be a few Free Ps thinking to themselves: this is what happens when you let someone from the CofI lead the party. Sure they’re practically Catholics anyway…

  • billypilgrim1

    “He only ever travels as Head of State…”

    Not true. The Pope also makes formally Pastoral visits to different countries too, where the diplomatic protocol is much more relaxed.

  • billypilgrim1

    In this case, it seems unlikely that the earth-shattering Pope / Arlene summit will actually happen. Arlene presumably knows this, so it’s an open-goal to say she would meet him, knowing she won’t have to.

    Still, credit to the DUP leader at least for not indulging her usual instinct to just be insulting.

    Baby steps.

  • billypilgrim1

    Didn’t the last two Popes both offer exactly the apology you demand?

  • billypilgrim1

    “hold a mass in one of our fine new Stadiums at Windsor or Ravenhill”

    The Athletic Grounds in Armagh would be the obvious one. A fine stadium in our ecclesiastical capital.

    Take off the Belfast blinkers.

  • Reader

    John, in those scenarios – your hypothetical father or step father abused one or two people. The hypothetical priest or football coach abused a couple of dozen. And until a few years ago they would almost certainly have got away with it for decades. The cases that are coming to light now are historical cases. That multiplies the number of victims even if the abusers weren’t concentrated in particular jobs.
    And, of the 4% with such inclinations, I suppose a significant fraction will act on them. Imagine a checklist for a tempting job for such people: Unsupervised access to children; credibility or authority in the community; delegated or implicit power over the children. I do not believe that abusers are randomly distributed in the community.

  • doopa

    Both popes stuck to the bad apples defense. Benidict admitted to “misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal”. Not exactly fessing up to the corporate nature of the crime. Together with the lack of recognition for this being a problem throughout the church (not just in Ireland). Essentially both popes have expressed sorrow that abuse happened and both popes have failed to address the fact that the church played a key role in facilitating these crimes through cover ups. Last I read they didn’t see the need to clarify that these crimes should be reported to the police.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Well, he’d have a better chance of getting a full house at Windsor than the club who play there…………..

  • billypilgrim1

    Fair enough Doopa, thanks for the detailed answer.

  • Tochais Siorai

    I’d say her own Kelly and Doonan ancestors were a bit more than practically Catholic.

    Doubt she’ll mention it to Francie though.

  • Cináed mac Artri

    Is it really a good idea that ‘The Pope’ meets Arlene Foster? They appear to subscribe to the same fantastical philosophy, albeit with some minor differences. They’ll only encourage each other.

    It would be more beneficial if he was introduced to the likes of Michael Nugent. Michael could perhaps dissuade Jorge from his follies.

    Imagine the kudos for Ireland when Jorge returns to Rome, gets up on that balcony, and then says, ‘listen folks I’ve something important to tell you………..’.

  • John Collins

    Well as events in England are proving over the past few days child abuse was covered up by many more big organizations.
    Only the tip of a very large
    And ugly iceberg I would suggest.

  • John Collins

    Look at the numberr of football club in England coming under the spotlight in the past few days alone. It does make one wonder

  • John Collins

    John Kelly, of ’98 fame was a Protestant, so devotion to that persuasion goes back a long way in the Kelly’s.

  • mickfealty

    Enda’s folksy manner leads some of his opponents to too easily under estimate him. Usually to their own cost. Met in Europa after hours once. He has manners, which can take politician a very long way.

  • mickfealty

    Come on Croit, your more of a grounded realist than most in this manor.

  • Abucs

    American stats of child abuse:

    by ‘relationship to victim’ categories found on bottom of page 3.

    http://www.nctsnet.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/articles/child_abuse_america.pdf

    You can download the 2004 detailed report by Carol Shakescraft online.

    referenced here https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/forgotten-study-abuse-in-school-100-times-worse-than-by-priests

    The worst offending categories are parents/step parents followed by my profession of teachers and educators. .

  • Croiteir

    Oh come on Mick – you are just throwing a comfort blanket over to unionism on this to hide their shame. This is not a state visit to the UK, that happened a few years ago with Pope Benny. I am not sure if this is even a state visit to Ireland, for if so it causes difficulty in that he will be visiting the north. You know that. This will be problematic for the diplomats to couch. But as far as I can see it, it is a pastoral visit to Ireland, a Church organised as an all Ireland body so the Pope can easily cross the border on that basis.

    I know the diplomats will be working on this. But what else can they say? A State visit to the north? and it not a state but a province of the UK. You do not do state visits to a province.

  • mickfealty

    Maybe Marty should have played his cards closer to his chest until the diplomats had worked it out. Wait, you don’t think he was trying to embarrass his chief partner in government, do you? 😉

  • file

    My reference was to Enda’s great grandstanding The Vatican Is Evil speech a few years ago … if I were the Pope, I would keep him at the end of a very long stick.

  • babyface finlayson

    Jesus saves but the Pope scores on the rebound?

  • John Collins

    Antics Thanks
    I abhor priestly child abusers with a passion, but this problem is just so much more widespread and victims, even today, find it very difficult to report it.

  • billodrees

    But will Arlene be a kicking FM when Frankie flies in?

  • billodrees

    Coin. Opportunity. The DUP’s business supporters will win event-management contracts for the Papal gig. These gigs require millions in government contracts and DUP “entrepreneurs” won’t let the Boyne river get between them and a slice of the action.