Friday, February 5, 2010

Petition to support the Pope in the UK; and many thanks for all your prayers

Here is the link to sign the petition. Father Blake had a post earlier today subtitled 'Pray and Pay', which reminds us that these are the best ways to support our Holy Father. I agree wholeheartedly but still think it important that we sign this petition. You have to be a UK citizen to sign it, but you do not have to be Catholic, or even Christian to do so.

The National Secular Society's petition is against the Pope making a STATE visit and at present has 14,340 signatures. The petition to support his journey has 720. There seems to be some confusion about what kind of visit it is actually to be.The Catholic Herald does NOT refer to it as a State visit, although it naturally acknowledges that the initial invitation was made by Gordon Brown. Ruth Gledhill did refer to it as such in the Times last week, I believe.

I think the Holy Father referred to his upcoming 'APOSTOLIC VISIT' during the ad limina visit of the E & W Conference. (I will check that.) However it is the normal practice in countries receiving the Pope for the cost to be shared by the local Church and the Government concerned. If the local Church cannot afford its full share, the Holy See helps out. Officially, as the Herald reports, matters are proceeding smoothy and normally between Holy See, local Church and Govt. Already the BBC Director General has been in consultation with Rome about TV coverage.(How I do wish we had an independent Catholic TV channel, like the French kto which, although endorsed by the French bishops, is not run by them, and certainly does not seem to be under their control. You can buy the package for TV viewing, but it is completely free 24/7 via the internet. Now such a channel would be well worth helping to set up by financial as well as spiritual support. More about this in a later post.)

The Catholic Herald states that the local Church is worried because the visit of Pope John Paul left it heavily in debt. Without mentioning the reasons why, nearly 30 years on, many of its dioceses are currently in debt, I think we can rely on our Holy Father to do everything he can not to worsen their situation. Fr Blake's comparison between his style and that of his Venerable predecessor, is absolutely on the button. Pope Benedict prefers Liturgy in holy places and limits huge outdoor arena Masses as far as he can. Where the latter are desirable because of the number of faithful wishing to attend, these open air liturgies are conducted in the most dignified and deeply recollected manner. I have watched every single one since Autumn 2008, live on kto of course.

What constitutes a State visit in any case? Two external features are known to most of us. These are a trip down the Mall in an open carriage with HM the Queen, and a sumptuous Banquet at Buckingham Palace in honour of the guest being received. The Holy Father declined both of these very early in the negotiations. The Queen will meet him in Scotland and will not have to return to London for the occasion. I'd say that not having the first two has already saved the British government rather a lot of money.

I wish the HOLY SEE would make a CLEAR STATEMENT as to what kind of visit this is to be. If Apostolic, then the petition of the NSS is totally unnecessary. On the other hand, any petition that asks us to support our Holy Father is worthy to be signed.

God bless , and thank you all so much for your promise of prayers via emails, ecards and comments here. They were a great comfort to Russell when I told him about them on the phone last night, and to me too.

1 comment:

Et Expecto said...

With regard to the cost of the John Paul visit, I recall the following:

1. Fairly expensive Mass books were produced but very few were sold. This was probably because they were poorly marketed and were not not designed as a souvenir. In contrast, there were commercially produced booklets with many colour pictures which sold better.

2. The numerous movements by helecopter were expensive.

3. Four superb Popemobiles were purchased and there was difficulty selling these after the event. Four were required because they could not be transported by road quickly enough.

4. Police costs were high.

5. Air fields were hired for parking and the owners made excessive charges. Then fleets of busses were used to carry people to the sites.

I think that the overall problem was that there was nobody in overall charge that had good business sence.