Friday, September 10, 2010

Pope Benedict's Trip to the UK - Weekly Roundup 9/05-09/11



  • In a lengthy interview, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster challenges the prevailing stereotype of Benedict as a "reactionary" (September 11, 2010):
    He is out there intellectually and spiritually. He engages with the contemporary world but retains an inner peace and a rooted spiritual life. He is a man of real poise, gentle and respectful.

    "His view is that the Church should not be a closed place, trying to preserve tradition, but that it should be a luminous place. And he believes the only way the Church can shine is by being deeply rooted. People try to construct him as a conservative pope, but he's not. What he's trying to say is that, as a society, we need deep roots from which to draw this luminosity."

  • "Pope visit: A man of deep religious courage" (Telegraph September 11, 2010). The real purpose of Pope Benedict’s visit is to beatify Cardinal Newman. Ann Widdecombe explains why he deserves to be Britain’s first saint since the Reformation.

  • Question - who said 'not all sex involving children is unwanted and abusive'? -- Christopher Hitchens has the answer (September 11, 2010).

  • Phil Lawler (Catholic Culture) observes a stunning statistic about UK Catholicism:
    On the whole, the overall Catholic population is larger today than in 1982. The number of priests, nuns, parishes, and Catholic schools is roughly the same. The number of children baptized is up a bit; the number of adults received into the Church is down a bit.

    And then there’s one statistic that jumps off the page ...

  • Charles Moore wonders "can't we set aside old hatreds and simply welcome the Pope? " -- and has some suggestions for the media (The Telegraph September 10, 2010):
    Next week, both the BBC and Channel 4 will run indictments of the present Pope. A huge to‑do has been got up against the cost of the visit to the taxpayer by people who never normally object to high public spending. Might there not be some more interesting things to consider? How about informing television viewers about the life of John Henry Newman (to be fair, Radio 3 managed a decent programme on the subject), whom the Pope will beatify? How about telling the story of British Catholicism? How about examining what this Pope teaches, and why the official reconciliation between the Papacy and the British state can at last be consummated?
  • "The Devil himself could hardly have got a worse press," says the Daily Mail's Stephen Glover, of Pope Benedict's reception from the British media. And, while he disagrees with the Pope's teachings, he believes "those who oppose Pope Benedict XVI's visit who are the real bigots." (September 9, 2010).

  • Eamon Duffy is professor of the history of Christianity in the University of Cambridge, weighs in on Pope Benedict's UK visit, recommending that the Holy Father "should seek inspiration from the engaged spirit of Cardinal Newman" (Irish Times September 8, 2010).

  • The Guardian takes a photographic look at "the last papal visit to England - by John Paul II in 1982 ("It was the first time that a pope had visited Britain in more than 400 years. His successor is due to visit this month").

  • Local BBC stations are profiling papal pilgrims --- BBC Leicester profiles 16 year old papal pilgrim Bernadette Durcan; BBC Birmingham likewise will be following Catholics who plan to make the pilgrimage to see the Holy Father: Miz Gannon, an 18 year old Catholic from Kings Northon; Beata Kobic, "a member of St Michael's Polish Catholic Church since the day she was born"; and Miriam Wilcher, another "cradle Catholic" from Kings Heath. And BBC Nottingham profiles former Anglican David Palmer and Nottinghamshire grandfather Ron Lynch.

  • "What a strange thing it must be to be a Catholic in Great Britain at the moment," says David Sch├╝tz (Sentire Cum Ecclesia). "It seems like every opinion about the Catholic Church under the sun is coming home to roost in the expectation of the holy father’s imminent arrival." Indeed. From the Guardian Sinead O'Connor fulminates: "Benedict is in no position to call himself Christ's representative. The pope should stand down, the Vatican should stand down ... they're incredibly arrogant, they're anti-Christian. They don't have the remotest relationship with God." Next, we have the Right Reverend Richard Palmer, who in 1999 became the Bishop of what is known as the Reformed Liberal Catholic Church: ""Rome has gone on a side road, which is now a motorway ... we are the continuation of Roman Catholicism as it was prior to Papal Infallibility." Hans Kung has yet to make an appearance -- is he on vacation?

  • Cristina Odone wonders: "Will we be converted by the Pope’s visit?" (September 5, 2010): :
    ... Can Benedict XVI transform the image of the Catholic Church in Britain in his four days here? A poll published this week shows the notion is not as risible as it may seem. People were asked to comment on whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements contained in the Pope’s third encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate. Twelve representative statements, taken directly from the letter, were tested and a significant majority agreed with 11 of them – from “Investment always has moral as well as economic significance” to “An overemphasis on rights leads to a disregard for duties”. A majority even agreed with Catholic teaching about sexuality: 63 per cent felt that it is “irresponsible to view sexuality merely as a source of pleasure”.

    Ed Stourton, a lifelong Catholic and the BBC broadcaster who will anchor much of the Corporation’s coverage of the visit, is not surprised by these findings. “People are looking for an alternative to the moral relativism that has become the ideology of today. Benedict is one man who really challenges the status quo: the disillusioned can’t help but be drawn to his words.”

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