Leading article

Hope endures that future Papal visit will include Armagh

The visit by Pope Francis to Ireland on August 25 and 26 will be a massive occasion which will undoubtedly attract huge crowds to the events scheduled for Croke Park and Phoenix Park in Dublin as well as the Knock Shrine in Co Mayo.

There will still be widespread disappointment that the itinerary which was officially released yesterday could not be extended to include an historic journey across the border for even a brief engagement at St Patrick's Cathedral in Ireland's ecclesiastical capital of Armagh.

Suggestions have been made that Pope Francis may yet travel to Armagh when returning to Ireland at an unspecified future date, although, at the age of 81, there can be no certainty that he will ever be in a position to make such a commitment.

While Catholics from all parts of the country will gather enthusiastically for the World Meeting of Families, it will be difficult to avoid the sense that an opportunity of major symbolic importance has been missed along the way.

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