DUP councillor Lee Reynolds said the motion presented by the SDLP "was essentially an election stunt and it wasn't a game we were willing to play". "They were wanting an insult and we weren't going to give them that, so we chose the path of abstention."
Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers, who had previously spoken out against issuing an invitation to the Pope, said he had decided to abstain after "giving the issue a lot of thought".
"I am concerned at the likelihood of trouble on our streets ... and I don't want any religious or civic leader coming here to find themselves offended and see violence on a large scale," he said.
CHAPTER 23 - Of the Civil Magistrate section 4: It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to honour their persons, to pay them tribute and other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience' sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrates' just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted; much less hath the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever.
Article 37 - Of the Civil Magistrates. THE Queen's Majesty hath the chief power in this realm of England and other her dominions, unto whom the chief government of all estates of this realm, whether they be ecclesiastical or civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not nor ought to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.
Where we attribute to the Queen's Majesty the chief government, by which titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended, we give not to our princes the ministering either of God's word or of sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen doth most plainly testify: but only that prerogative which we see to have been given always to all godly princes in Holy Scriptures by God himself, that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers. The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England.
The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death for heinous and grievous offences. It is lawful for Christian men at the commandment of the Magistrate to wear weapons and serve in the wars.