'Nothing Sinister' In Anti-Pope Campaign

A DUP assemblyman has said there is "nothing sinister" behind an online campaign against a possible Papal visit to Northern Ireland, despite earlier branding the Pope the "Anti-Christ".

Mid-Ulster MLA Ian McCrea is one of 65 Facebook users who have joined a protest group entitled 'No pope here'.

DUP councillors Brian Graham and Ian Stevenson are also listed as supporters of the page, created on the popular social networking site.

The group emerged in September following speculation Pope Benedict XVI was preparing to visit the Province next year.

Vatican officials have refused to be drawn on reports, however, it is claimed the pontiff's arrival could form part of a wider UK trip.
News Image
Mr McCrea, son of MP Rev Willy McCrea, had earlier posted a statement on his constituency website labelling the Pope "the Antichrist".

He said a visit would not only be "insensitive" towards the Protestant community, but also to Catholics, who "feel that the hierarchy of the [Roman Catholic] church have been complicit in abuse cases over many years".

Defending the Facebook movement, Mr McCrea told the Newsletter: "There is nothing sinister in joining the group - we are Protestants opposed to a papal visit.

"The pope sets himself up as the ruler of all men - as the head of the Church. However, the scripture teaches that Christ is the head of the Church."

Antrim councillor Mr Graham told the paper he "could not remember" joining the campaign, but insisted a a papal visit would not be a "wise decision".

Mr Stevenson, a Ballymena DUP councillor, said he would not endorse a visit for "theologically" reasons.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

23 October 2017
Call For DUP And Sinn Fein To Publish Progress Made On Talks
The leader of the SDLP is urging the DUP and Sinn Fein to publish the progress they have made during the talks process to restore power-sharing in NI. The two parties have so far failed to reach an agreement, however they said they have made progress on the talks. The parties have until the end of October to reach a deal.
18 October 2017
Call For DUP And UK Govt To 'End Their Denial Of Basic Rights'
Sinn Fein has called on the DUP and the UK government to "end their denial of basic rights" if power-sharing is to be restored in Northern Ireland.
16 October 2017
Reaching An Agreement With Sinn Fein Is 'Not Going To Be Easy' - DUP
The DUP have said reaching an agreement with Sinn Fein to restore a power sharing government in NI is "not going to be easy". MP Gregory Campbell said Sinn Fein, have put themselves in such a predicament by declaring absolute preconditions at the outset and therefore have much further to travel to come within the boundaries of a possible agreement.
03 October 2017
DUP And Sinn Fein Clash On 'Britishness'
DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein Northern leader Michelle O'Neill have clashed over NI's 'Britishness'. During a Conservative conference at the Great Hall in Manchester, Mrs O'Neill was asked if Sinn Fein wanted legislation to make NI look less British and she replied: "The north isn't British.
27 September 2017
Two DUP Representatives Forced To Leave Public Meeting
Two DUP representatives were forced to leave a public meeting on Tuesday, 26 September, after being "intimidated and heckled", according to DUP leader Arlene Foster. Gary Middleton MLA and Councillor Hilary McClintock had to be escorted out of the Western Trust meeting which was being held at the Verbal Arts Centre in L'Derry.