Monday, 27 September 2010

Storm in a papal teacup

THE recent visit to Britain by Pope Benedict will be remembered for many things... atheist protests, Free Presbyterian protests, adulation from the faithful and blanket BBC news coverage.

But as we are such an insular little part of the wider European faith scene, Northern Ireland’s self-styled awkward squad members had to create their own wee row over the Papal visit.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness declined to drop in to see the Pope. Therefore, someone had to make a wee protest about that, with Dolores Kelly stepping into the fray.

She questioned the decision of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to go to an event in Belfast rather than hanging out with the great and the good and nattering with the Pope.

First things first: the First Minister was never, ever going to head to see the Pope. Please remember Ms Kelly that he is leader of the DUP not of the Democratic Unionist Papist Party. Second, it was a state visit to the UK and not something Marty was going to sign up to, as that may – just maybe – led to someone saying that Mr McGuinness was backing the Imperialist British swine.

While the accusations batted back and forth the deputy First Minister played his trump card by saying that he had it from some good authority or another that the Pope intended to drop in and say hello to Northern Ireland sometime in 2012.

Peter Robinson managed to avoid an audible gasp, but one suspects he was checking to see if someone had issued an invite to the Vatican while he was having a lunchtime doze...

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