Belfast Telegraph

Religious imposter: Free Presbyterian church urges followers to reject Pope's visit

The Free Presbyterian Church has called on its followers to avoid next week's Papal visit to Ireland.

Pope Francis will address a gathering at Phoenix Park in Dublin next weekend, with 250,000 people also expected to attend events at the RDS, Croke Park and Knock.

It will be the first visit by a pope to Ireland since John Paul II in 1979.

Ahead of his arrival, the Free Presbyterian Church has said a "love for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" should prevent any Bible believer "from union or communion with a Roman Catholic Church that remains as contrary to Holy Scripture today as it ever has been".

The Free Presbyterian objection to the Pope's visit is based on its recognition of Jesus Christ as the only head of the church, and the rejection of the Catholic Church having a supreme head of the church on earth.

Its statement reads: "As long as it proclaims its leader as the supreme head of the church on earth, denigrates the work that Christ completed on Calvary by the pretentious teachings central to its mass, refuses the scriptural way of salvation that justification is by faith alone in Christ alone, fleeces its adherents by means of an imaginary purgatory, and offers indulgences with as much aplomb as Tetzel managed in Martin Luther’s day, no true Christian should engage in fellowship with this system, never mind travel to welcome its Pope."

The statement also takes aim at the decision by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church to attend the visit and meeting with the Pontiff.

"How can the Presbyterian Church of Ireland present its recent vote in favour of its Moderator participating in the upcoming Papal visit as anything other than a betrayal of our Lord Jesus Christ?" the statement reads.

The Free Presbyterian Church was founded by former DUP leader Ian Paisley in 1951 after a split with the Presbyterian Church, and has around 15,000 members, holding conservative positions on a number of social issues including same-sex marriage.

In 1988 Ian Paisley, then serving as the Church's moderator, was infamously dragged from the European Parliament chamber in Strasbourg while heckling Pope John Paul II.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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