FR IAN KER: THE PASTORAL GENIUS OF CARDINAL NEWMAN
FEATURES: PAGE 8
September 10 2010 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
Archbishop: papal Masses will be packed
BY HUW TWISTON DAVIES
ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster has predicted that Masses for papal events in Britain next week will be “packed”.
Contradicting reports in the media that Pope Benedict XVI’s state visit to England and Scotland is destined to be a flop – with thousands of tickets untaken – the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said that he was convinced that the Masses in Glasgow, London and Birmingham would be “pretty well packed”.
Archbishop Nichols told reporters that he had been told that the Masses at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow and Cofton Park in Birmingham would be almost full. But he also admitted that the pastoral cost of the papal visit could exceed £9 million. He said that an estimate of £7million to £9million was probably “slightly conservative”.
“It will be in that region,” he said. “Maybe a bit more.”
Archbishop Nichols was confident, however, that the Church would meet the costs.
“If you think that there [are] five million Catholics in this country, it is about £1.50 each,” he said.
The archbishop went on to defend the Pope’s criticism of Britain’s equality laws earlier this year, saying that the Pontiff’s comments were “about one line long”, and represented a “perfectly reasoned voice” which made “a contribution to the debate”.
The archbishop said it was possible that the Pope might meet victims of sexual abuse by priests, but he insisted that any such meeting “will not be announced beforehand” and “will take place in private, if that’s going to be the case”.
He added that he was “quite relaxed” about the visit overall and was looking forward to it “very much”.
He said: “I think we are well prepared, I think most issues have been settled and agreed, and I get increasingly a sense within our society that this is a significant moment.”
Archbishop Nichols denied that he was interested in whether the visit enhanced the Church’s status, saying that “the status of the Church in society is not my prime occupation”.
He said: “A very major part of this visit is to illustrate and strengthen the relationships between on the one hand the Holy See, the work of the Catholic Church worldwide and the United Kingdom government.”
The archbishop said that there were
“clear areas” of “serious cooperation” between the Church and the Government, citing “the provision of primary health care, for example, in the provision of primary education, in the fight against poverty, in the care of the environment”.
He said: “These are major political arenas, policy areas in which the UK Government wants to engage more fully with the Catholic Church, and ministers of state are already talking very positively about those things.”
Archbishop Nichols rejected the suggestion that relations between the Holy See and Britain were based on the 1929 Lateran Treaty, adding: “The first ambassador appointed by the UK monarch to the Holy See was appointed in 1476. And in fact, the UK embassy to the Holy See is the oldest overseas embassy in the diplomatic history of this country. Now there was a big gap and then those contacts were only established again in 1914. But this visit helps us to look at our deeper history a bit more clearly. And I hope that will be understood as well.”
The archbishop predicted that the papal visit would not create tensions between the Catholic Church and the Church of England, arguing that it was important to “read the events of conflict between the churches in the light of those shared profound roots symbolised by Edward the Confessor”. He was referring to the Pope’s visit to Westminster Abbey, when the Pontiff and the Archbishop of Canterbury will pray at the saint’s tomb.
Archbishop Nichols said: “When a people forget who they are ... they are left open to all sorts of influences. And I would hope that this visit will help people to be perhaps less apologetic about their Christian past and about their Christian identity.”
He also compared the Pope to his predecessor, saying that while John Paul II was “a great presence on the stage”, Benedict XVI was “a much more gentle and refined person”, who “benefits greatly from the television close-ups because he wants to engage in a dialogue”.
He said he did not think the planned protests would affect the Pope deeply because “he is a man who intelligently studies the world, and he knows the ebb and flow of opinion”.
Archbishop Nichols added that during the ad limina visit of the Bishops of England and Wales to the Vatican, he and his fellow bishops were struck by the fact that “many of the people accompanying the Pope seem to smile most of the time”.
Organisers announce route of Popemobile
BY HUW TWISTON DAVIES
THE POLICE and the Church have jointly announced the route along which crowds can see the Pope as he travels in the Popemobile.
The first trip will take place in Edinburgh, between Holyrood Palace and Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s official residence. It will pass along Abbeyhill, Regent Road, Princes Street, Lothian Road, Tollcross and Morningside.
The second trip will be on Friday and will take the Pope from Lambeth Palace to Westminster Hall via Lambeth Bridge and Millbank on the north side of the Thames.
On Saturday the Pope will travel in the Popemobile to the vigil at Hyde Park, passing along the edge of St James’s Park on Horse Guards Road, and then the Mall, before passing Buckingham Palace into Green Park. He will then be driven up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner.
Editorial Comment: Page 13
Pope Benedict XVI will travel through central London by Popemobile on two separate occasions so that Londoners can have the chance to see him PA Photos
We felt ‘hemmed in’ under Nazis, Pope Benedict tells young people
BY HUW TWISTON DAVIES
THE POPE has said that he felt “hemmed in” growing up in Germany under the Nazis, and wished to “break out into the open”.
Recalling the difficulties of growing up under Nazism in his message for World Youth Day 2011, the Pope said: “During the Nazi dictatorship and the War, we were, so to speak, ‘hemmed in’ by the dominant power structure. So we wanted to break out into the open, to experience the whole range of human possibilities.”
But the Pope also spoke of the “deepest aspirations” of young people, saying: “In thinking of my own youth, I realise that stability and security are not the questions that most occupy the minds of young people ... the years of our youth are also a time when we are seeking to get the most out of life.
“Men and women were created for something great,
for infinity. Nothing else will ever be enough.”
The Holy Father also used the message to encourage young people to go to World Youth Day, saying that he would like all young people “to share this experience, which can prove decisive for their lives. It is an experience of the Lord Jesus, risen and alive, and of his love for each of us”.
He added that “Europe greatly needs to rediscover its Christian roots”, saying:
“There is a strong current of secularist thought that aims to make God marginal in the lives of people and society, by proposing and attempting to create a ‘paradise’ without him. Yet experience tells us that a world without God becomes a ‘hell’: filled with selfishness, broken families, hatred between individuals and nations, and a great deficit of love, joy and hope.” World Youth Day 2011 will take place in Madrid.
Sweat is damaging the Sistine Chapel
Star makes film about the Way of St James
BY MARK GREAVES
THE DUST, sweat and breath of millions of tourists every year are damaging the paintings in the Sistine Chapel, the director of the Vatican Museums has said.
Prof Antonio Paolucci said the first cleaning operation in four years had revealed the ceiling to be caked with “unimaginable amounts” of dust.
He said: “Every one of the 4.5 million tourists who visits the Sistine Chapel each year brings in dust on their clothes and shoes. They shed tiny particles of skin and of course they breathe. We can’t do anything about that – if you don’t breathe, you die – but each human body increases the humidity inside the chapel. All this produces an accumulation of dust on the frescoes which cover the chapel’s walls.
“They are not going to start crumbling tomorrow, but over a long period of time there is a danger that they will be damaged.”
BY ANNA ARCO
ACTOR and director Emilio Estevez has said that he made a film about pilgrimage at his father Martin Sheen’s urging.
After attempting to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela seven years ago, Mr Sheen returned to Hollywood and begged his son to make a film about the pilgrimage to the Spanish city of St James.
Originally the director didn’t want to make the film, called The Way, but he gave in to his father’s request and followed a project which he has come to see as a metaphor for American spirituality. The film features four pilgrims, a grieving father played by Mr
Sheen, an angry Irishman who is disillusioned with the Church, a Dutchman who seems lost and a cynical Canadian woman.
DON’T MISS: SEARCHING FOR THE REAL POPE BENEDICT PAGE 8
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