Saturday, September 18, 2010

Papal Visit to Great Britain - September 2010

The prospect of  a British  visit by  Pope Benedict  XVI  in 2010 was not at first as attractive to me  as  in 1982 for    the visit by his predecessor Pope John Paul II. Yet from the moment of his arrival in Scotland this week, the atmosphere has been positive.

Pope Benedict comes across as a quiet man with the courage  not only of his of his convictions as leader of Catholics throughout the world but also  to face those who seek to challenge those convictions and   in his turn to speak his mind  (no doubt also  that of the Holy Spirit) by publically challenging the  increasing secularisation of society - far more evident now in England at least, than was the case in 1982.

The scandal of a  few Catholic  priests betraying the trust of the Church and its people including especially, the vulnerable, by abusing children, is truely shameful  and  has been  acknowledged by the Pope during his Visit.

 The human element of the Church since its foundation by Christ 2010 years ago has always been subject to flaws in its leaders. Judas Iscariot essentially was one of the first bishops and his dreadful betrayal  of Christ himself can be regarded as a precursor of  the human betrayals  to come. Nonetheless the Faith and its fundamental truths remain and provide ideals for mankind to aspire to. No betrayal by any canonical neerdowell can affect the word of God but the tragedies are    the pain caused to the survivors,  and the fact that such betrayals, make it harder for ordinary people to hear and see the truth.

On a lighter note I happened to be jogging by the Papal Nuncio's residence on Parkside Wimbledon Common this morning at 8am and joined the crowd of about 150 mainly young people for some spontaneous guitar folk (I'm not sure that those are the Pope's favourite hymns  but never mind) singing and other vocal musical prayerful and visual support in a great and sunny atmosphere. We glimpsed him as he left at 8:15 am.There was a largish but friendly police presence. Most of the police officers seemed to be as young as the flag waving Catholic contingents  in the crowd I joined  were.  

Such positive happy demonstrating with guitar and folk song singing (reminiscent of the 1960s) might not be what today's police are used to but perhaps that too in its own way helps to spread the Word.

Pope Benedict is a  very different man from Pope Paul II but  both  have brought the same news of love and  truth. We in Britain  (and Wimbledon) are privileged to have been visited by both.


  1. Thank you, maytrees.
    I always appreciate your thoughtful blog.

    Anon aka Mr. Dunn's sister.

  2. Greetings anon

    And thank you for your kind post.
    Your brother's blog is always a good read.

  3. Exactly a year has flown by since the visit to Britain of his Holiness the Pope. It I think is in keeping with the spirit engendered by the Visit that the Bishops of England and Wales have re-instituted as from the day before yesterday, the traditional catholic practice of abstaining from eating meat on Fridays.


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