Saturday, September 18, 2010
The Joy of Pope Benedict's Visit
What has been so heartening about the Papal Visit has been the response of the public at large. Many people have commented on the negativity of the media towards the Pope, and the Roman Catholic Church, in the weeks leading up to his visit. Now, having seen him live, without the negative spin of the media and the anti-Catholic bigots, they have been extremely impressed.
During my working day I meet the public constantly and have spoken to many, the vast majority of whom know nothing about my faith, and I have been amazed at the positive comments from people I meet. Many comment, quite unprovoked by me, about the contrast between the the mean spiritedness of the anti-Catholic bigots, and the generosity and wisdom of Pope Benedict XVI. The intensity of the modern media can be a curse, but remove the spin and bias, show people live on TV uncensored, and you really see the reality.
The generous response to the Pope has renewed my faith in the basic decency and courtesy of the overwhelming majority of people in this country. So many people, especially yesterday when the Pope spoke in Westminster Hall, have said how relieved they are that at last somebody has spoken what so many of them believe or feel. There is a mean spirited and nastiness among 'aggressive atheists' who, judging by the public response these last few days, have a massively disproportionate amount of influence in public life, especially within the media. But the public have seen through that.
The Pope has truly struck a chord with people. Many feel that there is a vaccuum in public life, be it in politics or business, and they are not happy. Something is missing and the Pope, on this visit, told us all what is missing, and people have accepted that.
Tomorrow I will be in Birmingham for the Mass and Beatification of Cardinal Newman. The more this visit has progressed the more priveleged I feel to be a part of it in a very small way. Maybe there won't be a huge resurgence in Catholicism in this country, but I am convinced that we will see more people turning to our church and more people, believers and non-believers, learning from this visit and starting to question the world around them and what is wrong with it.