CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS): Pope John Paul has urged a renewed commitment to peace in Northern Ireland after days of renewed sectarian tension that saw riot police escorting Catholic schoolgirls through a Protestant neighbourhood in Belfast.
‘Present difficulties are a reminder that peace is a fragile reality calling for continued good will and the implementation of the practical measures required for a just and harmonious society,’ he said.
The Pope made his remarks to Ireland’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Bernard Davenport, who presented his credentials on September 7 at the papal summer residence outside Rome.
For the four days before the Pope spoke, riot police escorted terrified Catholic girls to their primary school in a northern Belfast neighbourhood that abuts a Protestant enclave. Protestant demonstrators, blowing whistles and air horns, lined their route, accusing them of intruding on their territory and at times hurling rocks.