A senior DUP MP has indicated he would look forward “with interest” to hearing the views of the Pope on moral matters, according to a report.
Jeffrey Donaldson was quoted making the remarks in an online story on the website of the newspaper The Irish Catholic, entitled ‘The DUP signals hopes for Pope Francis NI visit’.
Billed as an exclusive, the article published on Thursday mentioned the possibility of a visit by Pope Francis to Northern Ireland, and quoted Mr Donaldson (the party’s chief whip) as saying “I don’t think there will be a negative reaction from the Protestant community” if it took place.
In the article, he said: “I think that the liberal elements in our society have sought to dominate that debate and I think the Church should have a clear voice on this. And it saddens me at times that the Church leaders do not speak out enough and with the same unequivocal approach to those moral issues.
“So as a Protestant Presbyterian living in Northern Ireland, I look with interest to what the Pope has to say about the big moral issues of the 21st century and what they mean on this island and in Northern Ireland.”
Twenty-nine years ago this month, party founder Ian Paisley had stood up in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and shouted at Pope John Paul II that he was the “anti-Christ”.