Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Benedict in the UK - Post-Papal Visit Roundup

  • Pope Benedict thanks Archbishop Nichols for 'fruitful' UK visit - Following is the text (via Independent Catholic News October 12, 2010) of a personal letter from Pope Benedict XVI to Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference England and Wales:
    To the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

    I am writing to thank you most sincerely for all that you and your brother bishops in England and Wales did to make my first official visit in the United Kingdom such a success. Please extend my thanks to the civil and ecclesiastical authorities who worked so diligently to render my Visit to England so fruitful. I would ask in particular that you convey my affectionate greeting to the people of London who welcomed me so warmly.

    I am very conscious of the significance of the events of those days and the unprecedented opportunities afforded me, both by Her Majesty's Government and by the Church of England, to build new relationships and to strengthen existing ones, including with representatives of other religions. It was particularly moving for me personally to preside at the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. Finally, I am grateful for Your Grace's hospitality at Westminster and for the welcome afforded me by the faithful of London, especially the young people and the elderly.

    Invoking the intercession of Saint George and Saint David, patrons of England and Wales, I willingly impart to you and to the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful in England and Wales my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace.

  • The First Fruits: The UK One Month After Benedict - Paul Burnell (Patheos) on the UK's "Benedict Bounce":
    Since the pope's mid-September visit here, there is a definite sense of English Catholics suddenly rediscovering their confidence (the Scots have never lacked this). This emboldened spirit even seems to be emerging from the normally reticent hierarchy. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster (London) in a pastoral letter following the pope's visit urged his flock to make their faith more visible in daily life, by offering to pray for people, by openly blessing themselves with the Sign of the Cross, or by making such remarks to people as "God bless you."

    Now to some, especially in a country as in-your-face religious as the USA, this may seem pretty basic. But in one of Europe's most secular nations, where even an employee of British Airways was disciplined for wearing a cross, this is quite up-front and noteworthy. ...

    The Holy Father's visit began with media hostility and ended in tens of thousands of people -- not just Catholics -- lining the streets for him. Visiting several churches across different cities since his visit, one notes a sense of the foot soldiers in the pews feeling less inhibited about their faith. [More].

  • A copy of the 1,200-year-old book which the Pope gave to the Queen ohas gone on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (BBC News, October 12, 2010).

  • The Official Record of the State Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain has been published, launched with a special mass at Westminster Cathedral on the Feast Day of Blessed John Henry Newman, Saturday, 9 October.

  • Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has said the silence of 80,000 people praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament at Hyde Park was “something beyond words” (Catholic Herald October 1, 2010).

  • Anglo-Catholicism within the Church of England is dispersing like a cloud of incense rolling down the nave, says Damian Thompson, as those Anglicans taking advantage of Benedict's historic invitation "are already constructing a network of Ordinariate communities that will bear fruit in new Catholic parishes." (Telegraph September 30, 2010).

  • From the Yorkshire Evening Post, an article on some of the ecclesial furniture, which has a link to craftsmen in Leeds (September 30, 2010).

  • Richard Dawkins & Co. = Paisley 2.0? - George Weigel on the pope's UK critics (First Things September 29, 2010):
    The serious anti-Catholic antics prior to the Pope’s pilgrimage to Scotland and England came, not from Ian Paisley, but from “new atheists” like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry, their allies in the British media (generally vicious in the run-up to Benedict’s arrival), and their legal show-pony, Geoffrey Robinson, Q.C., a transplanted Australian seeking to export the joys of American liability law to the U.K., as a base from which to plunder the Vatican of what he imagines to be its Croesus-like wealth. These people came unglued in anticipation of the Pope’s arrival: Dawkins & Co. originally proposed having the Pope arrested as an abettor of child-rape, and the op-ed pages were filled with raucous anti-Catholic blather for weeks before Benedict XVI set foot in the United Kingdom.

    In the event, of course, it all came a cropper, to use a local phrase. ...

  • Always looking for bad news, the BBC reports that Cofton Park's grass [is] still damaged after Pope's Mass (September 28, 2010).

  • Bridging the Anglican-Catholic Gap Kevin M. Clarke examines the ecumenical impact of Pope Benedict XVI's September visit to the UK. (Zenit September 27, 2010). On Benedict's praise of John Henry Cardinal Newman as an ecumenical witness:
    The graceful mention of Newman’s fidelity to his conscience is an important one. All too often one hears personal conversion stories in which pastors from other communities desiring full communion with Rome were encouraged -- in some cases even by Catholics themselves -- to remain separate from the Catholic Church to achieve the greatest possible unity. But what is lost in such an approach is the pastor’s duty himself to follow his conscience.

    And this, of course, is why Blessed Newman’s example is so vital. Newman’s ecumenical witness brilliantly illumines the true path to union -- one in which followers of Christ achieve the real unity for which our Lord prays (cf. John 17) by following their consciences, and dialogue and friendship continue in charity and in truth.

  • According to the Irish Post, "the impact of the historic visit not only had a lasting spiritual effect ... but economically it brought financial success to groups including hotels, restaurants, bars, retail outlets and travel companies" -- an estimated .£12.5million to Birmingham alone.

  • Some uplifting photos of the Holy Father’s private visit to the Birmingham Oratory Sept. 19 after he beatified Blessed John Henry Newman. The photographs were taken by L’Osservatore Romano but not seen elsewhere. (Via Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register).

  • "Benedict & the UK; The First Fruits" - another roundup from Elizabeth Scalia (The Anchoress) First Things October 13, 2010.

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