Irish foreign minister: Pope not invited for 2012 visit
November 09, 2011
A papal visit to Ireland in 2012 now seems unlikely, in light of a public statement by the country’s foreign minister that the government does not plan to extend an invitation to the Pontiff.
Pope Benedict would be in “a very diplomatically difficult situation” if he planned to travel to Ireland without an invitation from the government, remarked Father Kevin Doran, the secretary-general of the International Eucharistic Congress. The organizers of that Congress had hoped that the Pope would travel to Dublin for the event, which is scheduled for June 2012. Earlier this year Vatican officials were in Dublin, reportedly making final arrangements for the papal trip.
However, in October the foreign minister, Eamon Gilmore, answered a question in parliament by saying that an invitation had not been extended to Pope Benedict “nor is one currently under active consideration.”
Relations between the Irish government and the Holy See have been deteriorating since July, when Prime Minister Enda Kenny loosed a blistering attack on the Vatican in a parliamentary address. Last week the Irish government announced the closing of its embassy at the Holy See–although political leaders claimed that the move was a budget-cutting measure.