What lingers is Pope John Paul’s charisma, not his messages

Thirty nine years ago, I’d just completed a tour of the key sites for the momentous visit of Pope John Paul 11 in my role as commentator for the continuous coverage by BBC Northern Ireland.  We were to comment off- air from RTE in Donnybrook. There was no way to  get round the island in time between Dublin, Drogheda, Knock, Galway and Limerick.  Swift movement from site to site was only possible by helicopter and flights were strictly restricted. Among …

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Why is the Pope not coming North? Are the disappointed faithful too frightened to ask and did the bishops fail to press their case?

The ways of the Vatican are as inscrutable as those of the Chinese Communist party. Indeed they vie with the on-off – on character of the Trump- Kim Jong -un meeting in Singapore. Only a couple of days ago senior Irish Catholics were still holding out hopes that the Pope might pop up to Armagh. Then after his itinerary was announced, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said that final confirmation had come from the Vatican that the pontiff will not …

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A win for the clinical independence of the maternity hospital but a new battle royal looms over abortion

Brian WalkerFormer BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

Flaws in Enda Kenny’s case on abortion exposed as the hierarchy brings out the ex factor

The next Catholic primate of Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin has told the Sunday Times( £ ) “You cannot regard yourself as a person of faith and support abortion,” Martin said in an interview with The Sunday Times. “You cannot believe you are with your church and directly help someone to procure an abortion. This includes medical professionals and the legislators. If a legislator comes to me and says, ‘Can I be a faithful Catholic and support abortion?’ I would say …

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Pick up the Church’s gauntlet over gay marriage

 In the latest twister among the ecclesiastical storms over gay marriage, Simon Jenkins in fine form  denounces the obscurantism of the Church of England.(P.S. First time round, I missed Mick on dear old Ken who on this one isn’t yet wise enough to be embarrassed in polite company).  In their latest move calculated to raise the stakes with political opinion, the C of E is fulfilling its modern self-appointed role and speaking for all denominations including the Catholics. Jenkins , an agnostic who …

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