Sunday 25 June 2017

It's time for the Taoiseach to draw a line under the past and work with Rome

Mr Kenny meets Pope Francis after the canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II in Rome in 2014 Picture: AFP/Getty
Mr Kenny meets Pope Francis after the canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II in Rome in 2014 Picture: AFP/Getty

Michael Kelly

Political leaders of all hues and shades have been coming to Rome to meet Popes for more than 1,700 years. As Enda Kenny ascends in the elevator to the third floor of the Apostolic Palace on Monday for his audience with Pope Francis, he's bound to feel a strong sense of the history of the place. As well as spiritual leader of some 1.27billion Catholics, the Pope is the head of the world's smallest - but arguably one of the most-influential - states.

Mending fences and building bridges are likely to be to the fore in the Taoiseach's mind - and in this, he'll find common cause with the Vatican of Pope Francis.

If Mr Kenny made a remarkable post-election comeback from being described by Shane Ross as a 'political corpse' to being the first Fine Gael leader to serve a second term as Taoiseach, then Vatican-Ireland relations have witnessed a similar resurrection.

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