Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maybe so

On the religious blog on the website of daily Corriere Della Sera, Alessio Altichieri:
“The Pope’s visit was only a moderate success because the curiosity and good manners [of the British public] cannot bridge the oceanic divide that separates the traditional Catholic Church (of which Benedict is the living embodiment) from today’s modern, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic world where everything is relative..."

But I had a lively conversation last night with Jamie Bogle, and he said that a lot of the wind has been taken out of the sails of Benedict's enemies. I've seen a lot of places where other people are saying that as well, and not necessarily from Catholics.

This from the Mail:
"By last night the protesters appeared defeated, with celebrity objectors virtually silent and demonstrations against the visit few and muted."

Jamie also pointed out that the protesters were having a bit of fun with the numbers. A friend in Vancouver said that 25,000 turned out for the demonstration, but I think this is just an example of the telephone game where a message can become wildly distorted over great distances, even with the internet shortening them. The National Secular Society, an outfit one would think personally interested in showing as large a number as possible, said it was "between 10 and 12,000". But Jamie told me he had spoken with some of the cops present, and they said it was no more than 2000. There was no "official" estimate made public by police and the media quotes of the numbers came exclusively from the protest organisers.

Quite honestly, if London is the "geographical epicentre of the culture of death," (and it assuredly is) then what a lame sort of culture it is when it can't get more than one Londoner in a thousand to come protest the archenemy of that culture. And as someone else pointed out, they certainly couldn't be bothered to turn up in Edinburgh, Glasgow or Birmingham where there were only representatives of the now rather quaint and endearing, old fashioned Protestant anti-pope sandwich boarders. Just can't stand to be separated from their lattes for a long bus ride Up Norff? or just clinically unconscious of the existence of a country beyond the Orbital? Hard to tell.

Fr. Hugh Allan was sober in his assessment of the possible long-term outcomes for the faithful. We know that no single visit by the pope, even with the cheering thousands, is going to uproot the advanced cancer of liberalism in the Catholic hierarchy and their lay fellow travellers in the Catholic institution. Indeed, Benedict himself seemed to be aware of this. When he spoke to the bishops at Oscott, he had very little of substance to say to them, at least publicly, and from their smiles and eager applause, they didn't have the look of men who had been castigated over their luncheon lamb and treacle pud.

I think the value of the visit has been for the ordinary Catholics and non-Catholic British who have, finally, had an opportunity to hear him first hand, and unscreened by either the hostile media or the hostile Catholic institution. As Fr. Allan told me, he had parishioners who had deep-seated animus against the pope (one had spent time in a German concentration camp in the War) "completely" change their minds upon seeing him and hearing him talk.

More later...


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