- The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need is helping prepare for the Pope's visit to the UK with 31,000 decades of the Rosary (RomeReports.com August 21, 2010).
- The Pope’s historic visit to Britain is in danger of being overshadowed by a growing row over the exiling of three members of the Birmingham Oratory. Martin Beckford reports (Telegraph August 21, 2010):
Father Philip Cleevely, Father Dermot Fenlon and Brother Lewis Berry – known as the “Birmingham Three” by supporters – have been told “to spend time in prayer for an indefinite period”.
It comes less than a year after Father Paul Chavasse, the Oratory’s Provost who had been in charge of the Cause to canonise Cardinal Newman, was sent to America by the Vatican representative who is investigating the Oratory following a “chaste but intense” relationship with a young man.
The Oratory has refused to explain why the three priests have been sent away – one is now in America, another in Canada and the third is going to South Africa – prompting worshippers to write an open letter to the church authorities.
- Tony and Cherie Blair will attend a speech by the Pope at the Houses of Parliament, though "it is not known whether the Blairs, who are both practising Catholics, will meet Pope Benedict XVI in person." (Evening Telegraph August 21, 2010).
- The chair that Pope Benedict XVI will sit on during the beatification Mass of Cardinal Newman has been completed by teachers in Coventry (Catholic Herald August 20, 2010).
- Choirs across England, Wales and Scotland are rehearsing the new setting of the Mass composed for the papal visit by James MacMillan (Catholic Herald August 20, 2010).
- Damian Thompson on the "almighty mess the Bishops’ Conference has made of organising the papal visit" (The Telegraph August 20, 2010):
Having been forced to change venue from Coventry to Birmingham as a result of their own bungling, members of the “papal visit team” are now wondering how on earth they are going to fill Cofton Park. It’s a much smaller venue than Coventry Airport: it can hold only 65,000 people as opposed to 200,000. But with tickets priced at £25, and the prospect of queuing for hours at the crack of dawn, “pilgrims” (as the Church has decided to call attendees) are proving thin on the ground. “Without a frantic reallocation of tickets and cutting of corners, the park is going to be half empty,” says my source.The S+L Blog (Salt & Light) points to a Tolkien-Newman connection:
Don’t get me wrong: I want the Pope’s visit to be a thrilling success, but my mobile phone keeps ringing with reports of fresh ineptitude on the part of the Church. And I’m going to pass them on, because the only thing Catholic bureaucrats respond to is public embarrassment. ... [more]
No, we’re confident the Holy Father will not be quoting portions of Lord of the Rings in any homilies or addresses. ... [more]
- A series of catnaps have been scheduled into Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to England and Scotland, reports the Daily Mail (August 19, 2010): "The Pontiff's packed itinerary, disclosed yesterday by the Vatican, will be punctuated every afternoon by breaks of several hours to allow the 83-year-old to catch up on his sleep."
- Church source involved in drawing up pontiff's itinerary for September visit to UK would be 'surprised if it didn't happen', given gaps in schedule. Tom Kington reports from the Guardian (August 19, 2010).
- People attending Pope Benedict XVI's Masses in Scotland and England will hear and sing a few of the newly translated Mass texts, according to Msgr. Guido Marini, papal master of liturgical ceremonies (Catholic News Service, August 19, 2010):
Although the new translation of the Order of the Mass, which contains the main prayers used at Mass, was approved by the Vatican two years ago, bishops' conferences in English-speaking countries decided to wait to introduce the prayers until the entire Roman Missal was translated and approved.
The new translation of the Mass was designed to follow more closely the text in the original Latin.
- Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, insists that the Protest the Pope campaign was not "anti-Catholic" (Catholic Herald August 19, 2010):
He attempted to distinguish between “modern Catholics”, who, like everyone else, “want to live in the modern world” and “the old men in Rome” who are holding them back.
On the other hand, much venom on the internet is directed at Catholics in general, not just the Pope. The clothing company Catholics with Attitude, for example, did not receive abusive messages about the Pope, but about Catholics.
And Britain has a long and disturbing history of anti-Catholic prejudice. The National Secular Society is selling T-shirts with the slogan “Pope Nope”. Some Catholics see in this an unconscious echo of the old sectarian cry: “No popery.”
- An exhibition of items from the life of Cardinal Newman will go on display at the Birmingham City Museum in September (Catholic Herald August 19, 2010):
Councillor Alan Rudge, the Birmingham City leader for the papal visit, described the exhibition as an “extraordinary opportunity for people to visit and appreciate these rarely seen items”, and a “unique display” that will “draw visitors from far and wide to see the significant contribution that Cardinal Newman made to our city”. He added that the beatification of Newman by the Pope was “a huge honour for our city”.
The exhibition was announced alongside a programme of Newman-themed events in Birmingham unveiled for the papal visit, including a conference on Newman with talks by Fr Ian Ker and Dr Sheridan Gilley, and a performance of Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius on September 18, the day before the beatification.
- Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled a "courtesy call" with Acting Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, during his visit to the UK -- an encounter which Harman may find a tad awkward due to his criticism of her "unjust" anti-discrimination legislation back in February:
In an address delivered on Monday to the 35 Catholic bishops from England and Wales who had made the five-yearly ad Limina pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul in Rome, the pope attacked the implications of the Equality Bill.This past week, the Telegraph reported that the last remaining Roman Catholic adoption agency to resist Labour’s equality laws is facing closure.
He said: "Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed."
"I urge you as Pastors to ensure that the Church’s moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended. Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others - on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth."
- Speaking for the Vatican, Fr Federico Lombardi has denied that the Church had imposed the charges on tickets to papal events during Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain (Catholic Herald August 18, 2010):
He said: “It is not the Pope who single-handedly organises a trip to England. So, first thing: the Vatican did not establish any rules in this regard. These are organisational methods dealt with on the spot by the local Church, but taking into account all the many organisational constraints imposed by civil authority.”
Papal events in Britain are unusual, Fr Lombardi said, because “people cannot move freely on foot to where the three major public events will be taking place: they must use arranged transportation and all the seats must be allocated to an extremely precise number”.
He said the unusual constraints were “dictated by the security needs of civil authorities”.
- EWTN Global Catholic Network will provide live coverage of every public event during Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit to England and Scotland Sept. 16-19:
Special live coverage will be provided by EWTN News Anchor Raymond Arroyo, who has covered more papal events than anyone in the industry and who obtained the only English language interview in existence today with the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. (Contact EWTN to arrange an interview.)
"To my mind, this visit to the U.K. is to Pope Benedict XVI's papacy what Pope John Paul II's visit to Poland was to his," said "World Over" Host Raymond Arroyo, who will anchor EWTN's coverage. "Not enough attention is being paid to the historicity of this seismic moment."
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Posted by Christopher Blosser at 10:40 PM