The key to the Pope’s success in Great Britain

Now the analysts who had predicted a disaster–or perhaps, at best, a polite irrelevancy, are struggling to explain how the Pope confounded their expectations. I think I can explain. When they predicted an unsuccessful papal visit, analysts were basing their judgment on an assumption. They took it for granted that Pope Benedict would respond to the criticism that had dominated the British media during the last few weeks before his arrival. They assumed that the Pope would be worried about the protests and nervous about the likelihood of popular rejection.

Clearly he was not. Speaking with reporters during the flight from Rome, Pope Benedict said that he recognized anti-Catholicism as a force in Britain, but was not disturbed by it. He voiced his confidence that a deeper, stronger, fundamental commitment to the Christian heritage would also come into play. When asked how he would propose to make the Catholic Church more attractive to the people of Great Britain, he gave a surprising answer:

“I would say that a Church that seeks to be particularly attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for her own ends, she does not work to increase numbers and thus power. The Church is at the service of another: she serves, not for herself, not to be a strong body, rather she serves to make the proclamation of Jesus Christ accessible…”

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Submitted by Doria2 

Leo XIII was the Pope who declared that Anglican ordinations, orders, priesthood, were invalid.

Leo XIII was the Pope who declared that Anglican ordinations, orders, priesthood, were invalid.

So,… the Pope of Rome goes into Westminster Abbey, a church dedicated to the Prince of the Apostles, and – while wearing Leo XIII’s stole – reminds them that he is the Successor of Peter.

And they applauded!

The title of this entry is a bit lighthearted, but the issues at hand are very serious.

Benedict XVI teaches through signs. Signs point to deeper issues. Vestments are signs.

In the person of Pope Benedict, Peter’s Successor came to Westminster. In Benedict, in a symbolic sense, Leo XIII came to Westminster as well.

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Excellent wrap-up of all the events of the pope’s UK trip

The Catholic Herald is featuring an excellent summary of all the key events of Pope Benedict’s four-day visit to the U.K.

The definitive guide

Complete list of articles

The Pope has routed his enemies and brought joy to the faithful

How does one sum up the papal visit in a few words?

A survey of the four days, event by event – four days which began (so far as I am concerned) in anxiety which quickly turned to relief and ended finally in euphoria – simply can’t be done in less than the length of a short book, and I have only 400 or 500 words for this post, though in the print edition of the paper which appears later this week I shall be given more than double the space for an extended version of it, in which I shall look also at the very interesting coverage of the visit by the secular media.

That aspect of the visit will have to be briefly summarised here by the words of Dr. George Carey in the News of the World: “he came, he saw, he conquered”.

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A day that shook the foundations of Britain’s Protestant myth

How odd that it should be the Guardian that grasped the magnitude of what happened yesterday. Andrew Brown, religion editor of Comment is Free, and the possessor of an intellect as mighty and muddled as that of Rowan Williams, writes:

This was the end of the British Empire. In all the four centuries from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II, England has been defined as a Protestant nation. The Catholics were the Other; sometimes violent terrorists and rebels, sometimes merely dirty immigrants. The sense that this was a nation specially blessed by God arose from a deeply anti-Catholic reading of the Bible. Yet it was central to English self-understanding when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952 [sic], and swore to uphold the Protestant religion by law established.

For all of those 400 or so years it would have been unthinkable that a pope should stand in Westminster Hall and praise Sir Thomas More, who died to defend the pope’s sovereignty against the king’s. Rebellion against the pope was the foundational act of English power. And now the power is gone, and perhaps the rebellion has gone, too.

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Comments from Father Z’s site

U.K. Catholic convert: The Catholic Church is a “bulwark” in the defense of Christian civilization against secularism.

London, England, Sep 15, 2010 / 08:19 am (CNA).- Belfast-born author and journalist Leo McKinstry has said an anti-Catholic mood before the papal visit to the U.K. is comparable to the sectarianism of Northern Ireland. He blamed the antagonism upon the “politically correct spirit of our age” which emphasizes moral relativism and self-gratification.

McKinstry, a conservative who has written several books, announced his own impending conversion to Catholicism in The Daily Mail on Tuesday. He told how he had a sudden insight into religion in a Venetian chapel when he realized that the “poetry and symbolism” of Catholic ritual are metaphorical devices to evoke a spiritual reaction.

His conversion might seem “extraordinary” because he was raised as a Protestant in Ulster. However, his conversion also runs counter to the “aggressively secular, anti-Christian” nature of modern Britain where the Catholic Church is believed to be “outmoded, reactionary, irrelevant and superstitious.”

“This anti-Catholic mood has been at its most palpable in the run-up to Pope Benedict’s state visit this week, much of it led by militant atheists who, in the name of tolerance, have become utterly intolerant of manifestations of traditional Christian faith,” McKinstry wrote.

He added that he sees a similarity between Northern Ireland sectarianism and anti-papal feeling in Britain today. The Protestant minister Rev. Ian Paisley’s announcement of a demonstration against Pope Benedict’s visit to Glasgow is an action “no different from the noisy army of frenzied secularists,” McKinstry remarked.

Atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins has described the Pope as “a leering old villain in a frock,” while the author Claire Rayner has declared she has never felt “such animus against any individual as I do against this creature.”

“His views are so disgusting, so repellent and so hugely damaging to the rest of us that the only thing to do is to get rid of him,” Rayner has commented.

In McKinstry’s view, these opinions are “alarming but hardly surprising” in a society where Catholicism is “marginalized and despised.”

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Pope criticised in luminaries’ letter

Critics in the U.K. have released a letter saying the Vatican has “been responsible for: Opposing the distribution of condoms and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of Aids; promoting segregated education; denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women; opposing equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; failing to address the many cases of abuse of children within its own organisation”.

Let’s take these objections one at a time …


Despite Church opposition, condoms have been in world-wide use for generations, by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Babies continue to be born. Aids continues to spread. If condom use was the answer, the problem would already have been solved.

The Church teaches that abstinence/chastity or monogamous, marital sexuality is the only real solution to the Aids problem.  There is currently, no other solution, and all the facts bear this out.

Conversely, the Church does not view human procreation as a problem. Children are a gift from God. You can never have too many of them. To believe anything else would indicate a profound lack of faith in the providence of God.

The usual cause of widespread starvation and disease is political in nature, often the result of war, religious persecution, or acts of genocide. Artificial birth control plays no part in any of these. Man’s inhumanity to man, most certainly does.

Promoting Segregated Education:

What are these guys smoking? Catholic schools have traditionally offered the best possible education for children of every race, color, and creed, the world over. If by segregated, these guys are referring to some unknown and unfounded civil right that says homosexuality must be promoted in schools, then they better find a better word to describe it. The word morality would be good!

Denying Abortion to Even the Most Vulnerable Women:

Abortion is the institutionalized, government sanctioned murder of children … approximately half of which are female. Additionally, abortion hurts the mother (and father) and all of civilized society, as well. Exactly who could be more vulnerable than defenseless woman and children, and why should anyone have license to kill even a single one of them?

Opposing Equal Rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People:

No such rights exist, and should any government ever decide to extend such rights, they would essentially be inviting citizens to freely commit serious, grave sin, which might very well result in divine judgment and their eternal damnation.

The Church is in the business of helping people overcome immorality and sin (otherwise known as the world, the flesh, and the devil) in the hope of securing the eternal salvation of their immortal souls.

While free will is an established theological principle, the wages of sin is death, and each of us will indeed be judged for the choices we make, no matter how corrupt, earthly governments might choose to rule.

The Church has a sacred duty to clearly point this out, and to stand firm on all the eternal truths.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Failing to Address the Many Cases of Abuse of Children Within Its Own Organisation:

As if these guys could care less about such things! The only reason they bring this up is to use it as a club, with which to “beat” the Church.

Sure, the Church acted too slowly and somewhat late, in this matter! The Vatican routinely operates in just that fashion, in virtually every matter. It always has. Blame it on God, on Italians, or on bureaucracies. Your choice

At first, nobody even believed such a thing was possible. Then, the medical/psychiatric establishment failed, by providing faulty professional advice and counsel. Finally, in their frustration, some of the bishops “flipped a coin” and made wrong decisions. Having done so, they were stuck! Only when the facts began to come out did we learn the full extent of the scandal, and precisely how badly “stuck” they were.

The simple fact is, the problem has been identified, the victims are being compensated, the offenders are being punished, and the Church is taking comprehensive steps to make reasonably certain that the problem does not occur again.

I challenge anyone to name even one other religious and/or government organization (they all suffer from abuse scandals, and in much greater numbers than the Catholic Church) that has accomplished as much.

So, in the end, the critics are opposed to the Catholic Church primarily because the Church is just about the only thing standing in the way of their secular, humanist, homosexual, socialist/communist/atheist agenda … and they don’t want Pope Benedict coming around, getting people all riled up.

Too bad!