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He won't have to face Ian Paisley, but Pope Francis will speak to EU politicians today

Francis’s visit is the first by a Pontiff since 1988 when Paisley was ejected for heckling.

Source: nh6central/YouTube

POPE FRANCIS WILL today make a short four-hour visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

His visit is being welcomed by most but is also attracting some small-scale objections. Some left-leaning lawmakers argue that he has no place visiting secular European institutions.

The activist group Femen staged a brief demonstration at the cathedral in Strasbourg yesterday, with one woman draping herself in the European flag at the altar.

Other local religious leaders are angry for a different reason: they are upset that the Pontiff will not be visiting the city’s famous cathedral.

Pope Francis’ trip is the first by a Pope to Strasbourg since John Paul II visited in 1988.

Back then, Pope John Paul II was the subject of a far more high-profile and infamous protest when his speech was heckled by Ian Paisley.

Paisley held up posters reading “Pope John Paul II – Antichrist” and he quoted a 16th century anti-Papist slogan before being ejected from the chamber.

This time around there is unlikely to be such an objection with Pope Francis set to keep his speech secular, focusing on issues like unemployment and immigration.

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- Additional reporting by Associated Press

Read: ‘Never never never’ and other famous words from Reverend Ian Paisley >

Read: Pope backs evolution theory, says ‘God doesn’t have a magic wand’ >




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Rónán Duffy

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