'Unpredictable' Pope could have made return visit
Published 29/12/2012 | 05:00
POPE John Paul II's "unpredictable" nature could have seen him make a return papal visit in 1981 for the beatification of Matt Talbot, state papers have revealed.
John Magee, the former bishop of Cloyne and an aide to three popes, confided in an Irish diplomat that there was a real possibility the pontiff would make the extraordinary move.
In a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs at Iveagh House, embassy officer Frank Coffey relayed the thinking in the Vatican in March 1981.
"Fr Magee thinks it is not inconceivable that if and when Matt Talbot is beatified, the Holy Father may decide to have the ceremony in Dublin," he wrote.
In a separate letter, Mr Coffey said that such a beatification by the Pope could be linked to the 90th anniversary of the 1891 Rerum Novarum, an open letter from Pope Leo XIII addressing the condition of the working classes.