Pope Francis invite motion passed

Published Tuesday, 01 April 2014
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Councillors in Belfast have voted in favour of inviting Pope Francis to the city.

Pope Francis invite motion passed
Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis one year ago. (© Getty)

A motion was debated on Tuesday night asking the pontiff to come to the city if he ever visits the Republic of Ireland.

It was passed with 30 councillors in favour, none against. Every unionist councillor abstained.

SDLP councillor Pat McCarthy tabled the proposal last week ahead of the monthly meeting at Belfast City Hall.

He wants the Stormont Assembly to extend a similar invitation.

Last month, the Irish senate unanimously agreed to formally invite Pope Francis to Ireland.

The only papal visit to the island was in September 1979 when more than a million people turned out to see Pope John Paul II in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

A planned visit to Armagh was cancelled by the Vatican after the IRA murdered the Queen's cousin, Lord Mountbatten, and ambushed 18 soldiers a month earlier.

The motion read: "This council notes that the Irish Seanad, on 19 February, unanimously passed a motion by senator David Norris, inviting Pope Francis to visit Ireland.

"Should the Holy Father accept that invitation, this council invites him, as a man of faith, peace and reconciliation, to visit the city of Belfast and calls upon the Northern Ireland Assembly to extend a similar invitation."

Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became the first Latin American pope when he was elected in March 2013 to represent the world's 1.2bn-strong Catholic Church.

© UTV News
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11 Comments
Larry in Belfast wrote (116 days ago):
If it is a question of loyalism or royalism, the queen has met and shaken hands with this pope. So I don't see a problem with her subjects doing the same. However, if it is a question of faith, it would be extremely difficult, even offensive to welcome the leader of a system which has 'martyred' thousands of Christians who believe their 'head' is Jesus Christ and that no man should be bowed down to or worshipped except Him. Christ's church is not a religious system, they are a new spiritual creation in Christ. 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 17, for example.
Gak. in Newcastle wrote (117 days ago):
Delighted that he is coming! The biggest place in Belfast for our Pope to hold mass must be the City Airport.They can close it for flights while the Pope visits.He will love Ireland.
Brian in Belfast wrote (117 days ago):
Unionists abstaining is just the same as saying No.
Paul Campbell in Newtownabbey wrote (117 days ago):
Surely it would be better to invite Richard Haass back, rather than the Pope
Why not in Belfast wrote (117 days ago):
I'm a protestant and i would like to see the visit, i wouldn't go myself but his people have a right to see him in their own back yard if possible
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