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Martin McGuinness: I'm Catholic and Christian

Fri 18 Mar 2016
By Antony Bushfield

Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister, has told Premier he's a practicing Catholic and a "very broad minded Christian".

He said "I would describe myself as a practising Catholic" but added it was "my opinion and others may disagree".

In an exclusive interview with Premier the Irish republican said: "If there is a God out there, there is only one God.

"I believe that something created this beautiful planet, it's just so extraordinary in the universe that I can come to no other conclusion.

 

"But I also am influenced by Jesus Christ, he was someone who, if the history books are as accurate as people claim them to be, was someone who was very special.

"I'm prepared to accept he was the Son of God, I do believe that there's a God out there and I do believe he was the Son of God."

Asked if he would describe himself as a Christian the Sinn Fein politician replied: "Yes I would describe myself as a very broad minded Christian".

He said his faith was important in finding "common ground" with unionist leader Revd Ian Paisley during the peace process.

In another exclusive interview with Premier, Northern Ireland's Unionist First Minister, Arlene Foster, spoke of how she prays for her political opponents.

 

She said: "I think that's what the Bible tells us to do, we have to pray for our enemies as well as our friends, in the hope that they will seek forgiveness and seek the proper way - I'm not making a judgment about anybody's faith when I say that.

"When we're in church and we pray for political leaders we have to pray for all political leaders and I think that's absolutely the right thing to do".

The Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party said she had "a hope" she would go to heaven and meet those that she loved.

"I have to say, when you're sometimes challenged by people who don't have faith and who challenge you about what you believe and the fundamentals of what you believe, the answer I have back to them is I would rather have hope than no hope, which is essential which people of no faith have," she said.

She hoped to make a positive contribution to Northern Ireland but added "it's the afterlife that's important and it's our relationship with Christ and indeed with the church that's important".

The interviews were conducted as part of the official launch of Premier's work in Northern Ireland.


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