The Pope will not be visiting Northern Ireland during his visit to the Republic:
Arguably, the most significant item in the papal programme, at least from the secular viewpoint, will be the Missing Item, namely that oft-discussed papal visit to Northern Ireland.
This comes as no surprise. When Pope Francis officially confirmed the trip in a general audience in March, senior Vatican spokesman Greg Burke categorically told the Sunday Independent that there would be no “diversion” to the Six Counties.
The two main movers behind the visit – Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in Dublin – have always been very cautious and circumspect about the possibility that he would include the North on his travels.
He will make a pastoral visit to the World Meeting of Families on August 25-26.
The visit – the first by a Pontiff since Pope John Paul’s Mass at Phoenix Park in 1979 – will include a series of events.
It includes a national opening, simultaneously in the 26 dioceses on August 21, followed by a three-day pastoral congress at the RDS, Dublin, on August 22-24.
However, most attention will focus on the weekend – the Festival of Families in Croke Park on Saturday, August 25, and the centrepiece of the visit – the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families on the following day.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world are expected to flock to the Phoenix Park.
The feeling remains, however, that this is an opportunity missed.
Go here to read the rest. Well why shouldn’t he visit Northern Ireland? As the abortion vote indicates, Northern Ireland no longer has a monopoly on virulent anti-Catholicism. Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland and the contrast could have been made by the Pope. Better to face the honest hatred of Protestant fanatics in the North than the hatred of the Faith expressed by the “Catholics” in the Republic who celebrated, and that is not too strong a term, the abortion vote. From a Catholic point of view there is little to choose now between the Six Counties and the rest of that island.