Irish Government may invite Pope Benedict XVI to visit
Taoiseach Enda Kenny considers option after Irish bishops extend invitation to Holy Father to attend the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin and as diplomatic relations improve with nuncio’s arrival
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that the government would be happy to welcome the Holy Father to Ireland, if it is his wish.
The announcement follows the Irish bishops’ invitation to Pope Benedict XVI to visit the country this year to attend the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which will see thousands of Catholic pilgrims gather in Dublin in June.
With the bishops’ invitation under consideration, Mr Kenny is facing calls to issue a formal invitation to the Holy Father to attend the event.
“Now if an indication is given that the Pope intends to attend the Eucharistic Congress, or at some subsequent event here in Ireland, the government will be very happy to extend an invitation to the Pope and will treat him with due courtesy as a person of his status would require and demand,” the Irish head of government said.
Meanwhile, Irish Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has indicated that flexibility on the part of the Vatican regarding diplomatic arrangements could pave the way for a review of the decision to close the Irish Embassy to the Vatican.
The issue was raised following a decision of the Fine Gael parliamentary party on Tuesday night to call for a review of the decision to close the embassy, a decision that was taken last year.
Mr Gilmore said if the Vatican showed some flexibility about the co-location of the Irish embassies to the Holy See and Italy, progress was possible.
Fine Gael Senator Paul Coghlan welcomed the Tánaiste’s comments saying the embassy to the Vatican was an important one as well as being one of the oldest in the Irish diplomatic service.
“I welcome your openness to review the position and I believe that the appointment of the new papal envoy, Archbishop Charles John Brown, is a good opportunity to initiate the process,” Mr Coghlan said.
Vatican nuncio Archbishop Brown arrived in Ireland on Tuesday and was was greeted by three of the Catholic Church’s in Ireland’s most-high profile figures, representing the past, present and future of the Catholic Church.
Former Archbishop of Dublin Cardinal Desmond Connell, All-Ireland Primate Cardinal Sean Brady and current Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin met him at Dublin Airport off a flight from Rome.
Pic: Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin welcomed Archbishop Brown to Ireland on Tuesday