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Lord Patten: Britain’s reputation is at stake during the papal visit
BY ANNA ARCO
BRITAIN’S INTERNATIONAL reputation is at stake during Pope Benedict XVI’s trip in September, the Government co-ordinator for the papal visit has said.
Lord Patten of Barnes said the Government was determined to make the Holy Father’s trip a success for three reasons: out of respect for the Pope, “out of determination to enhance the reputation of the United Kingdom because this will be an event followed by millions of people around the world”, and because of the Church’s important role in development aid and social work.
He said the Pope’s trip to Britain would also put an end to any Catholic ever feeling like a “second-class citizen” because of its historic nature as a state visit.
But the costs for the visit have soared, and Lord Patten said the Government would have to pay between £10 million to £12 million for the state aspects of the visit, instead of the original £8 million. This does not include policing costs.
But Lord Patten pointed out that just one day of the G20 conference in London last year cost the state £90 million, whereas the costs of the Pope’s visit would span four days.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said that the Church had managed to raise almost £5 million, including £1.1 million through the special collection at Pentecost. If the Church’s side of the costs rose, he said, the Church would cover those costs.
Parishes across England and Wales learned this week how to apply for invitations to open air papal events in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, Hyde Park in London, and Cofton Park near Birmingham.
Archbishop Nichols said that access to events would not be limited to Catholics alone. NonCatholics wishing to attend should approach their local Catholic parish. He said that people going to the events – whom he described as pilgrims – would have to travel to the papal events in groups for security reasons.
As on other recent papal trips, there is “careful consideration” being given to the possibility of
Lord Patten, flanked by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Government official Matt Tee, addresses a press conference on Monday Mazur/www.thepapalvisit.org.uk
Benedict XVI meeting victims of clerical abuse.
But Archbishop Nichols said: “It’s very important that, if such a visit was to take place, it is not seen as a way to use those who have suffered – whose pain is intense and continuing – to satisfy some kind of public agenda or public curiosity. Nobody should be pressing the Pope to meet victims of abuse in order to get a good photograph.”
During the press conference, Lord Patten stressed the Church’s role in international development as well as its role in society. The Church’s charitable organisations and the Government worked together to alleviate poverty in the developing world, he said, making the Church an important partner in dialogue. The Pope’s visit, he said, would be a chance for the members of the Roman Curia engaged in the Church’s development work to meet members of Government working in the field in order for them to learn from each other’s experiences.
Last Friday Archbishop Nichols, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien of Edinburgh had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI to finalise the details of the visit. Archbishop Nichols said that the Pope was enthusiastic about the visit to Britain.
Lord Patten and Archbishop
OUR COMMENT Lord Patten of Barnes is right: the papal visit will be a test of Britainʼs credibility on the international stage Editorial Comment: Page 13
Nichols also confirmed the papal itinerary. The Pope will first visit Scotland, where he will meet the Queen at Holyrood House, before going to Glasgow to celebrate Mass for 100,000 people at Bellahouston Park.
On September 17, Pope Benedict will be in London, first at St Mary’s Twickenham, where he will meet members of other religions and celebrate Catholic education with thousands of school children and the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.
In the afternoon the Pope will meet Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury and other Anglican bishops at Lambeth Palace.
He will subsequently give a speech at Westminster Hall to representatives of civil society, before taking part in ecumenical evening prayers at Westminster Abbey, where he and Dr Williams will pray in front of the tomb of St Edward the Confessor. Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass at Westminster Cathedral on September 18.
He will also go to a residential home for the elderly.
He will then take part in a prayer vigil in Hyde Park before going to Birmingham the next day to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman at Cofton Park.
After a brief stop at Birmingham Oratory Pope Benedict XVI will go to Oscott seminary, where he will meet the English and Welsh bishops, before returning to Rome.
Lord Patten said that policing costs had yet to be calculated. He said the extent of these costs would be worked out according to estimated turn-out at events. The costs, he said, would be well within the normal limits and would be worked out by the Home Office and coordinated by one chief constable.
Meanwhile, Aid to the Church in Need supporters have pledged to pray more than 100 days continuously – including 2,141 hours of Eucharistic Adoration and 19,192 decades of the rosary ahead of the Papal visit. The prayers are part of a prayer-action for the Pope launched in May.
Plans for the Pope to travel down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh from Holyrood to Cardinal O’Brien’s residence in the Popemobile have changed. According to the Scotsman, police suggested moving the Pope’s drive through Edinburgh along part of the Royal Mile and then down Princes Street amid security fears. Another plan would have the Pope travelling down other streets before turning on to Princes Street.
The Birmingham Post reported that the West Midlands police force had been told by the Home Office that it will have to foot the security bill for the Pope’s visit to Birmingham.
Faced with cuts across the board the West Midlands police force is reportedly worried about meeting the costs, which they estimate to be high.
The Pope’s speech at Westminster Hall, in late afternoon on Friday, has provoked some criticism because the Jewish community celebrates the eve of Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, that day.
The Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness Helene Hayman, who is Jewish, appealed to the Foreign Office to change the appointment amid concerns that Jewish dignitaries including the Chief Rabbi would be unable to attend the Pope’s speech.
According to the Haaretz newspaper the Foreign Office said it was unable to change the slot but assured Jewish groups that the papal event would be finished before the start of Yom Kippur.
Protestant firebrand Ian Paisley has called the Pope’s visit a “mistake”. He told the BBC World Service that the Pope “should not be invited to the country”.
Peru seeks to expel British Brother for taking part in Amazon protests
BY ANNA ARCO
A BRITISH De La Salle Brother has been threatened with expulsion from Peru where he has been working to defend tribal interests and campaigning for the preservation of the environment.
Brother Paul McAuley, dubbed a “Tarzan Agitator”, was told to leave Peru by the authorities.
The prime minister Javier Velasquez Quesquen said that the Peruvian government stood by its decision to expel Brother Paul after he took part in protests against mining and oil interests in the Amazon.
Foreigners, he said, cannot participate in political activities. He said that while the Peruvian government “acknowledges the enormous contribution the Catholic Church has made in the process of the historical development” of the country, it could not allow foreigners to incite protests against a “developmental model” which voters supported. Brother Paul ran a civil association called Red Ambiental Loretana in Iquitos, in the middle of the jungle and promoted the rights of the indigenous peoples.
Brother Paul is a lay member of the De La Salle teaching order and was born in Portsmouth. He is being expelled for his political activism.
He has fought government efforts to sell large chunks of the Peruvian forest to be used for oil, gas and ethanol.
Protestors demonstrated against Brother Paul’s threatened expulsion in front of the court in Loreto.
The Brother and his lawyers visited the police on Monday, requesting a police report which incriminated him with involvement in actions which threatened national security.
He said that he would appeal against the resolution, issued by the Ministry of the Interior, which has ended his residence in Peru.
Britain to host Order of Malta gathering
Entertainers open retreat for youngsters
BY STAFF REPORTER
THE ORDER of Malta’s International Holiday Camp will take place in Britain for the first time ever later this month.
More than 150 disabled guests and 300 helpers will come together at the Bluestone holiday village on the Pembrokeshire coast.
The annual Order of Malta camp caters for people aged
18 to 35 with a range of backgrounds and disabilities. It offers them the chance to take part in activities that would not normally be accessible to them – including, this year, scuba diving and flying lessons with the British Disabled Flying Association.
The camp’s hosts, the British Association of the Order of Malta, look forward to offering guests, who will come from all over the world, the chance to share a holiday and to experience Catholic spirituality and British hospitality.
BY ED WEST
BRITAIN’S Got Talent presenters Declan Donnelly and Ant McPartlin have opened a Catholic retreat for youngsters run by Dec’s brother, Fr Dermott Donnelly.
The pair opened a youth village for the Hexham and Newcastle diocese at Allensford, C o n s e t t , C o u n t y Durham, accompanied by bishops past and present.
Dec’s elder brother Fr Donnelly, who runs the Youth Mission Team based at Allensford, said the Bafta awardwinning presenters of
I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and Saturday Night Takeaway had supported the charity for years. He said the retreat was a “ d r e a m ” turned into reality.
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