Lord Bannside, who until recently was just plain old the Right Honourable, Rev. Dr. Ian K. Paisley P.C., M.L.A., as well as former M.P. and M.E.P. has announced he is visiting Edinburgh this week.
Far be it for me to point out that the Festival has finished for another year he has another reason for visiting the city I've worked in for the past nine years. Yeah, anyone who know the history of Paisley and the Popes (video link) will hardly be surprised that he is heading the protest against the Pope in Edinburgh.
Regular readers will know that I don't always see eye to eye with Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. Andrew's and Edinburgh, but I had to admire him in the press conference yesterday. He mentioned that as a man born in the former MP's constituency he would have been surprised if Paisley had not made the journey to make his protest.
If what Lord Bannside has said is the reason he will be protesting, in light of the recent revelations he has a justified reason** to protest against a State Visit, when he said :
"What we're doing, we're making a legitimate protest about something that is entirely wrong, and I am looking at myself as a person who is prepared to champion those who have been very, very badly treated by these priests of Rome."
The problem I have with the Protest the Pope idea is that there are elements of this visit which are State Ceremonial, there are other elements which are Pastoral to the Catholic pilgrims who will also be visiting these cities along with the protesters. Therefore protests at the civic elements of the Pope's visit are to be expected, however they should leave the religious elements to those of the faith to have their time with their spiritual leader.
Personally I'll not be making a physical protest. However, I will continue stand up against what I feel are wrong statements and falsehoods on this blog as time goes on (and yes that will mean the odd spat with a good friend). That goes for any church not just the Roman one.
* He may not actually visit Morningside, I'm aware of that, but the Southern Edinburgh works for the wordplay. It is also more widely known than Hillside which is right next to the Catholic Cathedral, so give me artistic license.
** Yeah me having good things to say about Cardinal O'Brien and Ian Paisley in the same blog post mark that in your diary.