Paisley to meet Catholic Primate
Paisley to meet Catholic Primate

A historic meeting between the head of the Catholic church in Ireland and Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley is scheduled to take place next week in Belfast.

A spokesman for Archbishop Sean Brady said he was looking forward to the meeting. The spokesman declined to say what matters would be on the agenda.

A DUP spokesman said the meeting was one of many that the 80-year-old Antrim North MP was having with various groups and individuals ahead of the “hothouse talks” planned for later this month in Scotland.

“We welcome the opportunity to listen to all the people and the various range of groups we have agreed to meet,” the spokesman said.

The DUP leader, who once accused Pope John Paul II of being “the Antichrist”, is expected to be accompanied by party colleagues Nigel Dodds, Peter Robinson and Gregory Campbell.

It will be the first time Mr Paisley, who is also moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church, will have met a leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

He has said in the past that any meeting would take place in a political rather than ecumenical capacity.

In 2004 Mr Paisley publicly condemned Dr Ken Newell, the then moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, for inviting Archbishop Brady to attend the Presbyterian general assembly as a guest. Mr Paisley previously accused Archbishop Brady of “apostasy” and described a meeting between the head of the [mainstream] Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Archbishop Brady as “an act of treason to the Lord Jesus Christ and a declaration of perjury of Dr Newell’s ordination oath”.

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