CWN – Irish foreign minister: Pope not invited for 2012 visit

From CWN:

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. shane says:

    I am glad to hear this. I was unenthusiastic, to say the least, about the IEC being held in Dublin from the start. Besides the fact that the organizers have (predictably) made a mess of things, a papal visit at this time would be imprudent to say the least and could potentially be quite dangerous. I already fear for the safety of the Congress next year, even without a papal visit.

  2. ghlad says:

    St. Patrick, intercede for your Irish brethren!

    Shane, the same could be said about it being best for Pope John Paul II to not have visited Poland during the peak of the Cold War, and that single visit reinvigorated an entire nation thirsty for the Church’s influence. It seems Ireland could also use a large, stout draught of Papal presence.

  3. Maltese says:

    I abhor the “Irish Tiger” then. See what great things the EU has wrought?

    Brussels pushes such things as abortion on its member states.

    I studied the EU at Trinity College, Dublin, when the Irish Tiger was just gaining steam.

    In my opinion, Ireland, morally, was better off before Maastricht.

    Norin ni Raiain is one of my favorite artists. The beautiful simplicity of the Irish is being sublimated.

    Of course I’m a great admirer of the Irish; it’s just that their current administration is somewhat anti-Catholic.

  4. James Joseph says:

    Being upset at a circumstance that I noticed lastnight after returning from Vespers has set me off a little.* I could be a little more four-lettered, but ‘nice’ isn’t my forte at the moment. I mean the best.

    As an Irish-American (an utterly devoid people wasting in their vapid cess) from Boston and the grandson of an abandoned orphan and a saintly woman, I honestly cannot see at this time the congress being fruitful.

    I just don’t see it. And, I haven’t seen it since it was announced some months ago.
    The whole way it has been advertised and rallied has given me chills from the get go.

    On that note: The expositions penned by on the Penitential Psalms by Cardinal Saint John Fisher is fascinating; truly something to behold. If I have it correct, he is another saint who calls Mary, Our Plenipotentiary.

    *I am unsettled by: Why in the WORLD is the explicit supplication to holy Father Abraham scrubbed from the soiled RSV translation used for the OF Adventus I Dominica? Why are the implicit references to Mary deleted from the text? Why is Lectio A in Year B not the prayer handed down to us by the holy prophet Isaiah? (Going nuts over this) Never again, am I going to peek at what the OF Lectionary says and what my Vulgate says.

  5. LaudemGloriae says:

    I think the Pope should go. One needn’t have the red carpet from the secular media to minister to the flock in Ireland. The Pope has shown courage and humility meeting with abuse victims and I think it could be healing for him to be present in Ireland despite the controversy.

  6. Bill Russell says:

    Poor Ireland. The scandals and exposures of clericalism show that Irish Catholicism (with due respect for her heroic missionaries) was a political construct, surviving off the breath of nationalism. Once Ireland became an independent republic, it regressed to its old paganism. Irony of ironies. The United Kingdom gave Pope Benedict an heroic welcome with all the protocols of a state visit. Ireland has rejected him, refusing him a state visit. Sic transit. But this should also sober those in the United States who romanticized Irish Catholicism. – The vile treatment of John Henry Newman at the hands of the parochial Irish hierarchy as he tried valiantly to set up an Irish university, should remind us that Ireland was Catholic only insofar as Catholicism advanced its political agenda. Having rejected its Catholicism and sold its soul to the European Union, Ireland is now economically destitute and pagan once again. Once romantically considered the most Catholic of European countries, Ireland has now become the most anti-Catholic of European countries. Irish priests hesitate even to wear clerical dress in public.

  7. Supertradmum says:


    I cannot understand your comment.The Pope is Head of the One, True Church and the Head of the State of the Vatican. Why not come? Many good Irish Catholics need moral support in the face of so many apostasies. Even if traditional Irish Catholicism is dead, the Pope’s visit could make a difference. Having said all of this, I am afraid for him, as the Irish are capable of violence against this good and holy Pontiff.

  8. While I am not a fan of the IEC (it could end up a mere talking shop) its fruit might be more difficult to identify and measure. God gives His grace as He pleases and who knows what He might be planning? I think the Pope should come anyway (and damn the Irish Government) – as a European citizen and head of the Church he has the right to. The Government is already a laughing stock and I believe this will backfire on them in the long run. Let the Holy Father come, meet the victims of CSA, speak to the people of Ireland and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

    Bill Russell – while there is a little truth in what you say (there was certainly plenty of cultural Catholicism or ‘catholicism lite’) that the faith of the Irish was only “surviving off the breath of nationalism” is a gross misrepresentation. I wonder do you have much contact with day-to-day Ireland? Ireland has not reverted to paganism (to borrow from the Irish writer C.S. Lewis – would that it were so – one can at least talk to pagans about spiritual matters since they believe the spiritual world exists) but we have been overrun by an aggressive secularism as has much of Europe. Yet the faith remains. It remains because its roots are deep and if the Lord gives the grace then it will flower anew. It seems in your post that you are confusing the Irish State with the Irish people. I am coming more and more to believe that one owes little allegiance to the other.

  9. shane says:

    ghlad and supertradmum — any visit in the near future would needlessly stir up anti-clerical sentiment. The media would give disproportionate space to loud and unrepresentative secularist groups, and the Pope would have few articulate Catholic voices defending him. If we’re seeking to renew the Church in Ireland it would be far better to concentrate on improving the standard of liturgy, catechesis, preaching, seminary formation etc, all of which are in dire need of radical overhaul. For the last 4 decades children have not been taught the essential truths of the faith in schools; this has done far more damage to the Church in this country than all the abuse reports combined.

  10. shane says:

    Bill — Ireland in the 1940s and 50s was a deeply, deeply Catholic society, irrespective of what people like Fr Vincent Twomey claim. The fact that the Irish Church has, over the course of the last 45 years, degenerated into what it is today should not lead us to impugn the glories and acheivements of past generations.

  11. Joanne says:

    “As an Irish-American (an utterly devoid people wasting in their vapid cess) from Boston”

    haha. hmmm…that’s one way to put it.

  12. Supertradmum says:


    Do you not think that a visit from the Vicar of Christ on earth would help those faithful Catholics struggling in a sea of unbelief and cynicism? The Irish Church needs a shot in the arm, and the success of the British visit should encourage you. As to the problems on the ground, those are no different than in any other modern country today. Ireland’s fall from grace was slow in coming, but the problems are not much different than those of the Church in the US, or Canada, or France.

  13. New Sister says:

    I’ll side with Shane… I would worry for the Holy Father’s safety were he to travel there without an official invitation from the government, with police escort and the full weight of government security services (intelligence, anit-terrorism, etc.). I assume these services would not be in place for an un-official visit, making his travel imprudent. Besides, the devil always bites his own tail. Governments which actively undermine the faith will eventually pay for it– let the Irish be angry at their government for not inviting the Supreme Pontiff, rather letting their anger/indifference risk his safety.

  14. Caro_c says:

    I pray that the Eucharistic Congress will be fruitful. I would love if Pope Benedict came to Dublin. The British media had a field day before his visit, but overall, it was a wonderful visit. The secularists do not want him, and that is all the more reason for him to come. The rest of us could do with the morale boost that it would bring.

  15. catholicmidwest says:

    I think it’d certainly be safer if he stayed out of Ireland.

  16. jaykay says:

    I’d have to say I agree with Shane. I too have been dreading the Congress, for many reasons. Actually the chief one was that it would be a liturgical shambles, or more likely an exercise in the banality, superficiality and triteness that has come to typify much of what passes for liturgy in Ireland today. And probably with a good dose of the Celtic shmeltic stuff thrown in as well. Just thinking about what the choice of music might be makes me unwell.

    The second reason was to do with the actual numbers attending. I just had a feeling that it would all be rather poorly-attended and fall flat. Nobody is expecting that the glories of 1932 be repeated, still less those of 1979, but what would most kill me would be a general show of indifference, and small numbers attending such an event would provide even more ammunition for detractors, as if there wasn’t enough lying around already.

    Thirdly, I did have concerns about the Pope’s actual physical security but in truth not great ones. I think he’d be well-protected and I couldn’t envisage anyone wanting to do him physical harm. Sure, there’s be the usual rent-a-mob of protesters and dingbats but I think their numbers would be small overall – although I have no doubt that there would be attempts to whip them up. Still, I think that people have an innate decency and then there would also be the over-riding Irish concern of not making a show of ourselves in front of the neighbours i.e. the entire world. Please remember that Queen Elizabeth visited successfully last May, after all.

    However, my first and second concerns were the overriding ones and for those reasons I thought that it was not a good idea for the Pope to visit right now. I’d love to be proved wrong, nevertheless!

  17. albinus1 says:

    I think the Pope should come anyway (and damn the Irish Government) – as a European citizen and head of the Church he has the right to

    But *is* the pope a “European citizen”? Yes, he is European — but in this context, “European citizen” would mean “citizen of the EU”. Is he? I’m not so sure. I don’t think the Vatican City State is considered a member nation of the EU. Does the pope still carry a valid German passport? If so, then yes, he is a citizen of the EU and should be able to travel anywhere within the EU without a visa. But he is also the head of a sovereign, non-EU state; does the German government still consider him a citizen of Germany carrying a valid German passport? IIRC, if a US citizen became the head of a foreign state, that would automatically cause the US State Dept. to revoke his or her US citizenship. Perhaps I am mistaken. In any event, I’m not so sure that the pope could just show up in Ireland without a visa, let alone without the invitation of the Irish government, and expect to be admitted to the country. If the Irish government wanted to cause a scene by denying the Holy Father admission to the country, on the grounds that he is a foreign national seeking to enter the country without a visa, it could probably find a diplomatic reason to do so. Pope John Paul essentially dared the Polish government to keep him from visiting Poland, and perhaps the Polish government still considered him a citizen of Poland. If the Irish government wanted to find a diplomatic justification for denying Pope Benedict admission to Ireland, it could probably find one. Do the Irish state and the Holy See still even technically have diplomatic relations? (Recalling ambassadors and closing embassies does not necessarily translate into a formal cessation of diplomatic recognition and relations.) For the Holy Father essentially to call their bluff and just show up and dare them to keep him from entering the country could turn into a very bad PR situation for the Vatican and hand the Irish government a potential PR victory if it wanted one.

    If, say, Hugo Chavez landed in, say, Chicago and wanted to admitted to the US without a visa, would he be admitted? I wonder. As the host country of the UN, the US has to admit foreign diplomats and delegations to New York for them to be able go to and from the UN and conduct UN-related business; but I don’t think that that necessarily gives them carte blanche to travel around the country and come and go as they please without proper documents.

  18. albinus1 says:

    (Sorry, those first two lines were supposed to be an italicized quote from someone else’s post. I must have forgotten to put in the italics tags. Sorry about that.)

  19. jaykay says:

    albinus 1: there was never any question of Ireland withdrawing actual diplomatic relations. The embassy was closed, that’s all. The diplomatic business is being handled from Dublin, since the Holy See doesn’t favour states conducting affairs with it from their embassies to Italy. I don’t think there’s any question of HH “just turning up” as things just aren’t done that way, especially by a man of such delicacy as Benedict XVI.

  20. Caro_c says:

    There is no reason to think that the Pope would not be safe in Ireland!

  21. anna 6 says:

    The pope should ABSOLUTELY go to Ireland if possible!!
    There will naturally be protests, as there always are…but don’t underestimate a pope’s ability (and B16’s in particular) to disarm his critics.

    I am sure that there are still many Irish Catholics who would gladly welcome the pope. His presence would be a balm for an aching nation and would be just what they need to begin a renewal of faith.

  22. pjthom81 says:

    So much for Fine Gael…..

  23. Imrahil says:

    The Pope certainly is considered a German citizen. Well, lawyers have raised doubts whether he is (the situation is not clearly statuted in law). But at any rate our executive duly addresses all election notifications to the Pope. (Though it is said that considering it unfitting for heads-of-state, he doesn’t vote.)

Comments are closed.