Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams will come face to face with Shankill bomb widower Alan McBride as he tries to reconcile his part in the Troubles with his Christianity for a TV documentary.
The party president followed in the footsteps of Jesus during filming in the Holy Land for the Channel 4 show The Bible: A History — Jesus, sparking anger from some victims of republican violence.
Victor Barker, who lost his 12-year-old son James in the 1998 Omagh bombing, has called the show “a big mistake” and “completely misguided”.
The episode, part of a series, will see the Belfast politician speak for the first time with Alan McBride, who lost his wife and his father-in-law in the 1993 Shankill Road atrocity.
Mr Adams carried the coffin of Thomas Begley, the 22-year-old bomber killed in the Shankill blast — but said the attack was “a stupid operation” for which blame should be shared.
During a debate on forgiveness and the impact of the Troubles, Mr McBride tells the 61-year-old: “I don't think it was worth one of those lives.”
Speaking on his own beliefs, Mr Adams says: “Sometimes I was in tune with the Jesus message and sometimes not,” and he calls for people to follow the moral example of Jesus and of those families of IRA victims who have forgiven their killers.
“I am not a pacifist and I certainly do not believe that non-violent protest would have got justice on the island of Ireland, but I do know that after decades of war, we all have plenty to forgive and to be forgiven for,” he says. “I don't for one second step back from my responsibility as a leader of a struggle that has caused both hurt and damage to other human beings. “My service to my country and to the peace process is to bring other people with me.
“To be honest, I believe I have made mistakes and done things wrong. Not for a second do I stand over everything I ever did or said and think everything was always right.”
During the show Mr Adams visits the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and compares a first-century tomb to one of the tunnels dug at Long Kesh.
The politician says he does not ask to be forgiven by former enemies, but would like to be a friend.
The Bible: A History – Jesus will be shown on Channel 4 on Sunday, February 21, at 6.55pm