Norris leads push for a papal visit
Senators want to invite Pope Francis to visit Ireland.
A motion was passed in the Seanad yesterday and senators now plan to ask the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste to do all they can to make the visit happen.
Senator David Norris, who tabled the motion, said he believed a visit by Pope Francis would "lift the spirit of Ireland".
He said he felt the "goodness" of the new Pope when he first saw him on the balcony in the Vatican and felt "a strong emotional connection" to him when he "refused to be decorated like a Christmas tree".
Pointing out that while he did not agree with many of the church's teachings, Mr Norris said he still believed that Pope Francis had "changed the entire climate of debate within the church".
The senator said he had come up with the idea of extending an invitation to the Pope because he felt there were very few leaders that had vision and he believed the leader of the Catholic Church did.