In a move to quell rising religious tensions, the Vactican has announced that Pope John Paul II has no intention of traveling to Northern Ireland next month.
Within hours after the papal trip to the Irish Republic was announced, the militant anti-Catholic Northern Ireland clergyman, the Rev. Ian Paisley, appeared on BBC radio to denounce any visit by the pope to Northern Ireland.
Paisley, who heads a splinter group that broke away from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, said he was mobilizing a campaign througout the country to oppose a papal visit.
A Vatican press officer explained earlier this week a visit to Northern Ireland, already torn by decaded of conflict between Protestant and Catholic factions, was "never foreseen."
The Vatican's delay in announcing the pope's travel schedule fed speculation and confusion over his Sept. 29-30 visit to Ireland.
John Paul is stopping in Ireland on his way to The United States, where he will address the General Assembly of the United Nations on October 2.
Although he is expected to be in this country for about six days, his itinerary here has not yet been confirmed.
Currently, church sources expect that in addition to New York, he will probably visit Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, and wind up his American in Washington.
Tentative plans are under way for mass public appearances in each of those cities, to permit him to have contact with the largest possible number of Americans.
Plans also are tentatively under way for a meeting in Chicago of all American bishops with the pontiff.