Former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland Bertie Ahern has said that life “did not end at the graveyard," and he has firm hopes that he will go to heaven when he dies.
Ahern made the comments on an Irish television program called the "Meaning of Life".
Ahern hopes that he did enough to get into heaven but if he doesn't, he believes he "meant to do good."
Ahern says he lives "by the ten Commandments, by the beatitudes" and his own conscience.
The former Prime Minister attends Mass on a regular basis, but he has not been to confession for over 40 years.
Ahern also talked in detail about his relationship with Ian Paisley and the Catholic Church.
He said that he had little time for Paisley, but added "the one thing that we were able to share" was their faith.
Ahern recalled joining in prayer with Paisley in the Irish Embassy in London.
"I started saying that I lived by the Commandments, by the Beatitudes – he was surprised that I knew them – and by my own conscience. I told him that I couldn’t be informed by making it up on the hoof. That’s where we hit it off".
Ahern also said that he would never have had established child abuse inquiries if it were not for abuse campaigner Christine Buckley.
“If I had been following my own prejudices, I wouldn’t have set up any of these things. I came to the conclusion that these people were telling the total truth,” said Ahern.
Ahern said he wanted to see the Catholic Church "do well," and was shocked at the extensive level of child abuse within the Church.
Ahern said that he receives a "fair amount of hate mail" about "living in sin."
"I believe that if you can live with yourself and have peace of mind, hopefully the rest will look after itself and hopefully that will be heaven.”
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