Ireland’s most saintly man, U2 lead-singer Bono, has announced that he has granted Pope Francis an audience later this year. It’s understood that the historic meeting will take place in August in Dublin and a full schedule is expected to be published on the band’s website nearer the time.

A Vatican spokesman said: ‘This will be a truly amazing event and The Holy Father is already counting down the days. He’s a great admirer of Bono’s tireless good works and the many miracles that have been attributed to him over the years.’

‘He’s even thinking of bringing his U2 CD collection and asking for them all to be autographed, although he’s prepared to be disappointed if Bono is unable to find the time or inclination to do this.’

And speaking to Rolling Stone magazine in Dallas where U2 is in the middle of yet another world tour, Bono said: ‘I thought the time was right for this meeting to go ahead. It will help legitimise The Pope’s position around the world and indeed my acceptance of this will be seen as positive force globally.’

‘Of course there are a few issues we’ll need to discuss, like his claim of infallibility for instance, because let’s face it, the world is only big enough for one person to shoulder that burden for mankind and the job’s already taken, Frankie.’

Meanwhile the Dalai Lama commented: ‘I’m not familiar with this Pope fellow, but if Bono is happy enough to meet with him than that is fine by me.’