The arrival of a new papal Nuncio in Ireland appears to be paying dividends already, with talk of a papal visit, and the Irish embassy in the Vatican being reopened.
According to the head of the Irish goverment, the Pope could soon receive an official invitation to visit the Republic.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny told reporters: “Now if an indication is given that the Pope intends to attend the Eucharistic Congress, or at some subsequent event here in Ireland, the government will be very happy to extend an invitation to the Pope and will treat him with due courtesy as a person of his status would require and demand.”
Along side this news comes a report that the Irish government could reopen their recently closed Vatican embassy within the next two years.
The Irish embassy in the Vatican was closed down in November last year, with ministers citing economic reasons for the move which was seen as symbolic of the cooling of relationship between the church and the Irish government.
But now, only days after the arrival of the new papal Nuncio Archbishop Brown, European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton has predicted that the embassy may reopen within the next two years.
She told interviewers: "I think it will reopen, not in the short term but I think within the next year or two if economic conditions allow."
The Vatican embassy which was housed in a government owned Roman villa, was entirely separate to Ireland’s embassy to Italy, which was located in elsewhere in Rome.
As the Vatican wouldn’t agree to an ambassador representing Ireland to both Italy and the Papal state, or to two ambassadors sharing the same premises, the Irish government chose to keep on its role in Italy, and close down its Vatican embassy.
But now there is some suggestion that the Vatican may be willing to make some kind of compromise on the issue, with ministers expressing hope that the same building may after all be able to house two ambassadors. This may come as a relief to the Irish government, who are facing growing disquiet amongst backbenchers concerning the rift.
The relationship between the two powers has been described as ‘frosty’ recently, but the appointment of a new papal Nuncio, Archbishop Brown, may have paved the way for some measure of reconciliation.
A close friend and ally of Pope Benedict, Archbishop Brown is seen as a key appointment to Ireland, where he will be charged with mending relationships, and rebuilding a rapport which has been severely damaged after scandalous abuse revelations.
February 6th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross