Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Lindy McDowell: Fears over Papal visit just so much bull

If the Pontiff comes to Northern Ireland is there any possibility that there could be protests?

Is the Pope a Catholic?

That is no reason however, to halt a visit here by the man whom almost half the population regard as their spiritual leader.

Some people might go along to see him merely out of nosiness (not just Catholics but Prods too) but for a very large section of the local population this would also be a deeply moving and meaningful religious event.

And there’s no reason why it couldn’t and shouldn’t happen.

A lot of nonsense has been written and talked this week about divisions in the community that would make it ill-advised.

Somebody, somewhere is over-estimating Protestant antagonism.

The reality is that most people in the unionist community would be perfectly happy to see him here, would welcome the visit and might even turn out to see the Pope themselves.

And, of course there are nutters, extremists and people with very strongly held views who might feel the need to protest. Let them.

Aside from those threatening violence, they should all be manageable. The violent should be containable.

And any such opposition should not be a reason anyway, for preventing Benedict from coming here — and the faithful from getting to see him.

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