It has recently been reported in the Northern Ireland media that Belfast City Council is to discuss the matter of inviting Pope Francis to Belfast. SDLP councillor Pat McCarthy has tabled a motion stating that 'A papal visit to Belfast, endorsed by everyone, would send out a strong message to the rest of the world about how we are progressing, especially after the failure of the Haass talks.'This motion is to be debated by the council on (appropriately) the 1st of April.
The response of some who claim the name of protestant has been, to say the least, disappointing. The Church of Ireland Dean of Belfast John Mann has encouraged Belfast's councillors to look favorably at the motion, stating that he would be 'very happy to facilitate an ecumenical and cross community service at St Annes, at which Pope Francis could be invited to address the churches of Belfast and share something of our journey of hope and reconciliation'. The Ulster Unionist Party, the Alliance Party and the Newsletter have all indicated their support for the Pope visiting the province.
At this point in time the prospect of the Pope visiting Northern Ireland is still a faint one; the motion being proposed by the SDLP has not been passed, and if it does it will not guarantee a papal visit, the Vatican having given no indication of any planned visit to the province of which we are aware. We will therefore make little comment at this time other than to say that no Christian should desire that the Pope would visit Northern Ireland. His claims are blasphemous and he is indeed that antichrist in the church. Pray that our land will not suffer the shame of his presence and that even this motion would fail to be passed at the council meeting on Tuesday.
Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 25 'Of the Church' Paragraph 6
There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.
Baptist Confession of Faith Chapter 26 'The Church' Paragraph 4
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. In Him, by the appointment of the Father, is vested in a supreme and sovereign manner all power for the calling, institution, order, or government of the Church. The Pope of Rome cannot in any sense be head of the Church, but he is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, who exalts himself in the church against Christ and all that is called God, who the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.