Northern Ireland

Priest objects to Pastor James McConnell rally

Pastor James McConnell
Image caption Pastor James McConnell will be speaking at Andersonstown Leisure Centre

A priest has said he objects to a rally being organised by the evangelical Pastor James McConnell in west Belfast.

It is due to be held in Andersonstown Leisure Centre on Thursday night.

Fr Pat McCafferty accused Mr McConnell, the senior pastor of the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, of holding anti-Catholic views.

In a statement to Radio Ulster, Pastor McConnell said while he criticises the Catholic Church and its priests, he does not criticise Catholics.

He said he was going to Andersonstown "with an open heart and mind".

However, Fr McCafferty said: "I don't preach against Protestantism - we preach the gospel in the Catholic churches of west Belfast.

"He sees west Belfast, he sees the people there, as living in darkness, and they're not.

"They're not living in darkness, they're good people, they're a Christian people and they don't need a fundamentalist and anti-Catholic preacher coming and pretending to be their friend."

Pastor McConnell, who is originally from east Belfast, started the Whitewell church, in 1956.

He said Fr McCafferty's comments were "very cruel".