Northern Ireland news

Vatican expert in Northern Ireland to share papal insights

Pope Francis might not be coming to Northern Ireland, but journalist John L Allen will be sharing insights into his papacy in Belfast and Derry this week. Picture by AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

A leading authority on the Vatican and the Catholic Church will be sharing his insights on Pope Francis when he speaks in Belfast and Derry this week.

Journalist and author John L Allen is in Northern Ireland to gauge the mood among Catholics about what he calls the "papal no-show".

When it was announced that Dublin was to host the World Meeting of Families, which opens next week, like many others Mr Allen thought it highly likely that the Pope would also visit the north.

"It seemed a natural for this 'Pope of the peripheries'," he said as he started his own visit.

Mr Allen runs the global Catholic news site Crux, contributes to the Irish Catholic and is CNN's Vatican analysts.

His books on Opus Dei, the Conclave and Pope Benedict XVI are regarded as authoritative.

He will be speaking in St Brigid's Parish Centre in Belfast at 7.30pm tomorrow; on Friday he will speak in St Mary's College in Derry at 7.30pm. Both events are free and all are welcome.

Mr Allen will reflect on Pope Francis's writings and talking about his 'reform agenda' and what it means for the Church in Ireland.

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