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Organisers say most Catholics will have to follow papal visit at home
BY MARK GREAVES AND SIMON CALDWELL
TENS OF THOUSANDS of Catholics will be unable to attend papal events in September, organisers of the Pope’s trip have said.
Instead, people are being urged to watch the events on television or online and to celebrate the visit in their own area.
Stringent health and safety rules and fears over security mean that Catholics can only attend papal Masses by booking a place on a coach organised by their diocese. They cannot make their own travel arrangements.
In total, about 400,000 people will be able to attend the three big events – the prayer vigil at Hyde Park and the two Masses at Coventry Airport and Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.
This compares to the two million who saw John Paul II when he visited Britain in 1982.
A spokesman for the Church said it was “invidious” to compare the two, since John Paul’s five-day trip was pastoral, and did not have the requirements of a state visit.
He said the security environment and the health and safety requirements for controlling large crowds were also “totally different” almost 30 years on.
Mgr Andrew Summersgill, who is organising the visit, said he was “really sorry” that people would not be able just to turn up at a papal event and be let in.
He said invitations would be handed out to dioceses once it was decided just how many people could attend. “The diocese will then assess how best to distribute those invitations,” he said.
A papal visit co-ordinator will be appointed to each diocese at the beginning of next month so that information can be passed on to parishes more easily.
Mgr Summersgill, in an interview available online, said people who were unable to attend one of the papal events could still take part in a “virtual visit” online.
He said: “Not everyone who would like to go to a venue to see Pope Benedict will be able to do so. For this reason, a lot of work is going on with broadcasters and web partners to ensure that as much of Pope Benedict’s time in Britain as possible will be broadcast live on TV and online at www.thepapalvisit.org.uk.”
It is understood that transporting
Pope Benedict XVI is pictured during his visit to Portugal last week. He drew even bigger crowds at Fatima than John Paul II did during his visit in 2000 AP Photo people by coach is intended to reduce the amount of “airport-type security” outside the venue.
Each coach will have a co-ordinator who can vouch for the passengers and speed up the security process.
In the last week, several key details have emerged about the Pope’s trip.
On Friday, September 17, Pope Benedict and the Archbishop of Canterbury will pray together in front of the tomb of St Edward the Confessor at Westminster Abbey.
The Rev Dr John Hall, dean of the Abbey, said it would be a “great” ecumenical event.
One of the biggest achievements of St Edward, he said, was to build a magnificent church – which would later become Westminster Abbey – so close to the royal palace.
“What he established was the central reality of the English state, the Church and the state collaborating together in our national life,” he said.
“I am sure that one of the themes that the Pope will be seeking to address here will be about the place of religion in national life.”
OUR COMMENT After an awful few months, the Catholics of Britain have an opportunity to show their love of the successor of Peter. This is an opportunity for us to stand up and be counted – and cheer. Editorial Comment: Page 13
At Westminster Cathedral, Pope Benedict will bless a statue of Our Lady of the Taper, brought from Wales’s national shrine at Cardigan. Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia said it was “a great honour not just for Welsh Catholics but also for everyone in Wales”. At Coventry Airport the Pope is expected to beatify Cardinal Newman to mainly modern liturgical music, including the hymn “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace”. Eucharistic acclamations will be composed by Fr Peter Jones, who wrote the Coventry Gloria for John Paul II’s 1982 visit.
For the Mass in Scotland, composer James MacMillan has been commissioned to write a setting for the new English translation of the Mass.
A special Missal for the visit will be published about two weeks before the Pope arrives, according to Mgr Summersgill.
He said it would include the liturgy celebrated by the Pope while in Britain but also prayer and liturgy in the week before and after the visit.
It will be published by Magnificat, Gabriel Communications and the Catholic Truth Society.
Meanwhile, the National Secular Society (NSS) has urged victims of clerical sex abuse to join protests against the Pope.
On its website, under the headline “Have you been a victim of Catholic child abuse?”, the NSS says it is looking for people “who are prepared to speak about their experiences to journalists and in public”.
Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire police, said protests would be allowed at civic events but not at Masses and prayer vigils. He said police would try to ensure that “the quiet enjoyment of the Mass is preserved”, but also to allow protesters at civic events to “make their voices heard”.
Mr Hughes, who is liaising with the Church, the Vatican and local police forces, said security arrangements at the main papal events had not yet been agreed.
Last week he led a 12-man police delegation to Portugal to study its approach to security for the Pope’s visit.
He told the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias that security had been “a highly professional operation, well-organised and resourced”.
But he added that the Portuguese were “more relaxed than we are about how close the Pope can walk to the people”. “We would also probably use more barriers than you,” he said.
Mr Hughes said the biggest threat was terrorism, but that officials had not received any specific intelligence of a planned attack.
Last week two Moroccan students were expelled from Italy after interception of their phone calls and emails showed they had “extremist Islamic sympathies”. They had said they were “ready to murder the Pope”.
It was also announced this week that the Church had raised over £3 million for the Pope’s trip, reaching the halfway mark of its target of £7 million.
The money, according to Mgr Summersgill, was mainly from private donors. Other funding, he said, could come from corporate sponsorship and from the licensing of papal visit products – though no deals have so far been made. A special collection is to take place in parishes on Sunday and is expected to raise about £500,000 to £1 million.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster urged Catholics to donate “as generously as they can”.
He said: “The Holy Father’s visit is a wonderful opportunity for the gentle light of faith to be contemplated afresh by everyone.”
People who wish to donate can already do so at www.the papalvisit.org.uk.
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King Henry VIII could be in hell, says Archbishop of Canterbury
BY SIMON CALDWELL
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury has said that King Henry VIII – the monarch who initiated the Protestant Reformation in England – could be in hell.
Dr Rowan Williams said it was an “open question” whether Henry was saved. He also said that if the Tudor king had achieved salvation it would have been because of the prayers of the loyal Catholic monks he murdered.
Dr Williams made his remarks at an event at the London Charterhouse to honour the first martyrs of the Protestant Reformation: St John Houghton and companions.
St John, the abbot of the Charterhouse, was among five priests to be hanged, drawn and quartered on May 4 1535 for refusing to take the oath attached to the Act of Succession. A further 15 Carthusian monks from the same abbey were killed by Henry in the following five years, many of them starved to death in nearby Newgate Prison.
“The horrors inflicted on John Houghton and the martyrs of this house are horrors that human sin makes possible in every age, past, present and to come,” said Dr Williams in his sermon. “If Henry VIII is saved – an open question, perhaps – it will be at the prayers of John Houghton.”
Henry took the Church in England into schism after he was denied an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of
Aragon by Pope Clement VII. He declared himself the head of the Church in England, married his mistress, Anne Boleyn, and passed a law making their children his legitimate successors.
Dr Williams is not the first Anglican leader to criticise Henry’s actions. Five years ago Anglican Bishop Richard Chartres of London said the king was a “tyrant” with a “messianic” complex.
Editorial Comment: Page 13
British telephone firm wins Vatican contract
Singer attends First Holy Communions
BY MARK GREAVES
THE VATICAN has signed a three-year deal with Vodafone for about 2,000 mobile phone users to join its network.
The deal is likely to cover Vatican employees at all levels, from cardinals and Curial officials to Swiss Guards and doormen. It was announced in a joint statement issued by the Governorate of Vatican City State and Vodafone.
The statement said Newbury-based Vodafone had won the tender because of its “extensive presence on the international scene” and its “high standards of service”.
The signing of the deal was witnessed by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, secretary-general of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and Pietro Guindani, president of Vodafone-Italy.
Three days earlier the Vatican City State signed an agreement with Telecom-Italy for the installation of a fibreoptic network for landline phones and broadband.
BY MARK GREAVES
FORMER Westlife singer Brian McFadden flew all the way from Australia last week to take his two Dublin-based daughters to their First Holy Communion.
He said after the Mass: “I was very proud of my girls. I remember making my Communion and it was overwhelming to see them standing there today.”
His daughters Molly, eight, and
Lily-Sue, seven, were both wearing white dresses for the ceremony at Church of the
Holy Nativity in Beaumont, a suburb of
Dublin. Mr McFadden said that his younger daughter, Lily-Sue, had fallen asleep during the Mass. “She’s just like her father,” he said.
The children’s mother, Kerry Katona, missed the ceremony to attend her brother’s wedding in Warrington, Cheshire.
DON’T MISS: MEET THE BRAVE PARENTS OF JIMMY MIZEN PAGE 7