Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Paisley leads Pope visit protests

The Reverend Ian Paisley joined a protest in Edinburgh against the visit of Pope Benedict XVI
Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI pass Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond (left) as they walk through the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, on the first day of his four day visit to the United Kingdom
The papal chair at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, where Pope Benedict XVI will preside over an open-air mass on the first day of his four-day visit to the United Kingdom

Former DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley has led dozens of people in a protest against the first state papal visit to Britain.

Dr Paisley, now Lord Bannside, arrived in Edinburgh's Old Town to highlight his concerns over the four-day visit, which he branded a "nonsense".

Members of the Free Presbyterian Church unveiled a banner near the Magdalen Chapel in Cowgate. They also distributed booklets outlining their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's trip.

The booklet stated that "recent scandals" within the Roman Catholic Church meant that the Pope would not receive a universal welcome.

Dr Paisley was critical of the fact that the papal visit to the UK was not discussed in the House of Commons.

Speaking at the same time as the Pope was in Edinburgh, Dr Paisley said: "I don't want his blessing and I will be keeping as far away as I can. Why? Because the whole thing is nonsense."

Dr Paisley addressed around 60 followers on the corner of Grassmarket and Cowgate in a gathering which also featured songs and prayers.

He told them: "We're here today on very solemn and serious matters. I've just seen the statement that has been issued by the Roman Catholic Church about this visit and we are told that if we go to this mass here today then we will have a shortened purgatory and our sins will be forgiven - £25 and you'll get out of purgatory quicker.

"Now there's no such a place as purgatory, so that's a farce from the very beginning. Secondly, no man can forgive sins but God only."

He added: "I believe in gospel without money and without price."

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