Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said that either Pope Francis or his successor will visit Ireland. The visit could be in 2018 for the World Meeting of Families.
Archbishop Martin said that when he discussed the issue of visiting Ireland with the Pontiff, Pope Francis said: “I will come,” and added, ‘‘If I don’t come, my successor will come.”
The archbishop made the comments in an interview with the Irish Independent. The Irish Catholic newspaper said that a “well-placed Vatican source” confirmed that “all the indications from Rome are very positive about this”.
“It would obviously be the hope that the Holy Father would make a visit to Northern Ireland [too] and, perhaps, some other parts of Ireland, since many Irish Catholics will want to have an opportunity to attend Mass with Pope Francis,” the source told the Irish Catholic.
But Dublin archdiocese said in a statement that the visit had not yet been confirmed and that the announcement would be made next year at the earliest. The archdiocese said no decisions had been made about the Pope’s itinerary.
It is assumed that as well as Dublin, the Pope would probably visit Northern Ireland to complete the 1979 historic pilgrimage of Pope St John Paul II, when rising tensions in the North made a visit there impossible.
Speculation about a papal visit began in September, after Pope Francis announced in Philadelphia that Dublin would host the 2018 World Meeting of Families.
Popes have presided at all but two of the eight meetings held since the first meeting in Rome in 1994.
Historic recusant house in peril
Campaigners are rushing to save a historic house in Wales where the country’s last Catholic martyr prayed before his execution.
Abergavenny’s historic Gunter Mansion is under threat of sale, so a rescue mission has been launched by the Welsh Georgian Trust, which has six months to raise £235,000 to purchase it.
The trust’s spokesman, Andrew Beckett, told the Abergavenny Chronicle: “The Gunter Mansion is by far the most important building at risk in Abergavenny today.
It would be a tragedy for the town if we fail in our aim of saving it. Although we have support from a number of grant-giving bodies, we need to raise the balance of funds by crowdfunding and individual contributions … We hope to go live with the crowdfunding in the next few weeks.”
The mansion houses a chapel, discovered in 1907, which was used by Catholics during the Reformation.
Abergavenny was a sanctuary for Catholic dissidents and the chapel was where martyr St David Lewis prayed before his execution in 1679.
Lewis was executed for supposed involvement in the ‘Popish Plot’ – a false conspiracy theory about a Catholic attempt to kill King Charles II. The Welsh Gregorian Trust explained that “Catholic activities” at the Gunter Mansion were raised in Parliament as a matter of concern at the time.
For more information about the appeal, visit welshgeorgiantrust.org.uk.
Repeat abortions on the rise, figures reveal
More than a third of abortions in England and Wales in 2015 were repeat procedures, according to official figures.
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