Ireland not ready to receive Pope, says archbishop
February 06, 2012
Ireland is not prepared to receive a visit by Pope Benedict XVI, the Archbishop of Dublin has said.
Speaking on RTE radio, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that Pope Benedict is still considering an invitation to travel to Ireland, but added that the Pontiff thinks “his coming would have to fit into the overall timetable of the renewal of the Church in Ireland.”
Archbishop Martin said that he wholly agreed with the Pope’s assessment:
We have to see and understand ourselves where we want to go with the Catholic Church. I think a papal visit will only have a significance when many of these issues of our past are fully addressed.
Last year rumors circulated in Dublin that the Pope would attend the International Eucharistic Congress, which will be held in the Irish capital in June. Vatican officials visited Dublin during the summer, apparently making early preparations for a papal trip. However, any planning for such a visit was halted later in the year, as the eruption of a sex-abuse scandal in Ireland and harsh criticism of the Holy See by the government led to a sharp cooling in relations between the Vatican and Ireland.
In October, Irish foreign minister Eamon Gilmore disclosed that an invitation to Pope Benedict had not been extended “nor is one currently under active consideration.” More recently the government has hinted that it might issue a formal invitation if the Pope expressed an interest.
Archbishop Martin did not rule out the possibility that the Pope could visit in 2012, but suggested that the Irish Church should show significant signs of renewal before a visit could be scheduled.
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