Gerry Adams has sparked surprise after admitting that his religious beliefs are more compatible with Protestantism than Catholicism.
The Sinn Fein president has revealed that he has not gone to confession “in years”, preferring to speak directly to God.
In an interview with Gay Byrne for his new Meaning of Life show on Ireland's RTE1, which aired last night, the republican leader also told how he had to run from his own wedding, spent most of his time living in other people’s homes from the 1970s to the 1990s and missed the first four years of his son’s life.
He said it was down to his wife Colette that the family had stayed together.
It was the religious views he expressed last night that will have raised most eyebrows.
“I have formed an opinion — and it’s probably a Protestant thing — that the notion of having some sort of middleman isn’t altogether necessary,” he said, referring to confessions.
He also expressed admiration for Protestant Churches, and believes that Christian Churches should be united.
“I think the Methodists are the best, but I love the democratic nature of the Presbyterian Church,” Adams told Gay Byrne.
“I also think it’s downright nonsense that Christian Churches are so divided. I think it’s madness.”
Asked if the host at Holy Communion is the real body of Jesus Christ — a central tenet of Catholic faith — Adams replied, “Who knows?”
Speaking about his marriage following a whirlwind romance, Mr Adams said: “We went out for a whole six weeks together before being married. It was the times we were in.”
The interview was part of a series in which Byrne, the former Late Late Show host, questions public figures about their spiritual beliefs.
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