Paisley, archbishop hold meeting

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Ian Paisley, Northern Ireland's hard-line Protestant leader, and the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the province held an unprecedented meeting Monday.

Both Paisley and Archbishop Sean Brady, head of the diocese of Armagh, described the meeting as helpful, the New York Times reported.


"It is in the interests of everyone to develop the foundations for stability and prosperity for all the people of Northern Ireland," Paisley said.

Paisley, a minister and founder of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, heads the Democratic Unionist Party, the largest Protestant party in Northern Ireland. His views are fiercely anti-Catholic and in 1988, when Pope John Paul II addressed the European Parliament, Paisley called to him "I renounce you as the anti-Christ."

A spokesman for Paisley's party told the Times that his meeting with the archbishop involved politics, not religion. The two men, according to Paisley, discussed poverty, the economy and achieving a stable government.

Asked if Paisley's views on the pope remain the same, Simon Hamilton said he did not want to discuss "theological questions."


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