Monday, May 24, 2010


...does the official team appointed by our Bishops to organise the papal events this September think that anyone will benefit by making attendance at these very restricted and telling us we must all stay at home and watch on telly? Latest news is that all events are to be comparatively small in size and ticket-only, and that this is being done for "health and safety" reasons. How ridiculous!

Pope Benedict XVI is visiting Britain. We want to see him and cheer him - we want this to be a community event, to share it all together. It's all wrong - terribly wrong - to tell Catholics to stay privately at home and watch the Pope on TV! It's the exact antithesis of everything that Catholoics believe about community, and being part of a Church, and doing things together.

The Pope isn't a celebrity - he's our Holy Father, and he's coming to our coutry, and we want to be with him at Mass!

We want to be able to get together, and travel in good numbers to the great events, and show our fellow countrymen how much we love and value our Faith, and what its message means for us all...WE DON'T WANT TO SIT AT HOME AND WATCH AS IF THIS WAS A SOAP OPERA!!

As for healthnsafety - good heavens, does this mean that we can never again gather in crowds to cheer the Queen, to celebrate in the Mall on a Royal occasion, to watch fireworks in November, to see in the New Year in Trafalgar Square, or to do any of the great traditional things that we've been doing, in vast numbers, throughout all our lifetimes?

Dear Bishops, you've been had - tell the public authorities that there must be at least one event at which ordinary Catholics can gather to greet and cheer their Holy Father, that the nation employs policemen precisely to ensure that such events run smoothly, that it is not remotely difficult to plan and arrange, and that if the Portugese can arrange such things, the British can.


Patricius said...

I agree absolutely! I can understand that some events might be need to be restricted because of limited space but Coventry Airport? Perhaps the bishops have taken fright owing to the media obsessions and the noises coming from braying half-wits like Dawkins but if they would just allow the ordinary Catholics of our three countries to turn up they would soon see, as with the response to the visit of St Therese's relics last year, that in numbers alone we would outface the scoffers.

Antonio said...

Hear Hear!

Anonymous said...

I've just gained a black mark from the Recording Angel for uttering a profanity at this proposal.

The last thing we need is a 'ticket only' event. That's the surest way to get a lousy attendance. The 'Protest the Pope' bunch are not the types that are going to threaten any physical violence; they don't actually have the guts for that. We don't need a 'ticket only' policy and the Pope is in no more danger than he is anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

You express the views of many who, like me, are suspicious about the attempt to downplay the Pope's presence and the faith of the people, including their attachment to the Papacy.

Gabriella said...

How right you are!

'The Pope isn't a celebrity - he's our Holy Father ...'

Like EF - I'm very suspicious and the first thing I thought upon reading that Catholics have been told to stay at home is 'Ha! they don't want the world to know what a great following Pope Benedict has in England!'

leutgeb said...

Well said.

I have a Zone 1-5 Travelcard and I shall be using it.

I pay for the Metropolitan Police in my Council Tax not to mention via Income Tax, so let them police the crowds.

Delia said...

Hear, hear!

It's outrageous that there should be restrictions on who gets to see the Holy Father. Let's be triumphalistic for a change!

pattif said...

In this computerised age, we can be 'virtually' present at all the Holy Father's trips abroad, as well as at every Wednesday audience and every Angelus/Regina Coeli (including last Sunday's, when 120,000 people turned out - imagine that in the Cathedral piazza!). It is so far beyond patronising to tell us we can be 'virtual' participants in the Holy Father's visit to our own country that it is genuinely difficult to think of a polite response.

Apparently it is not only Portugal who can manage security and crowd control better than the Brits, it is also Malta, Australia, America, various African countries and, for heaven's sake, the Holy Land. Is this the same country that organises the Trooping of the Colour, the Service of Remembrance, the State Opening of Parliament? You wouldn't think so.

What is even more galling (if that is possible) than being told to stay home from our own party is the knowledge that, just as we can participate 'virtually' in the Holy Father's visits to other parts of the world, so the whole world will be able to join in his visit to Britain. And what conclusion will they draw? That the British don't have the same enthusiasm for their faith and love for the Holy Father as all the people of the other places he has visited.

What exactly is the problem with British Catholics witnessing enthusiastically to their faith and expressing their love for their Holy Father? And for whom, exactly, does it cause a problem if they do? It would be really disappointing if it turned out to be the work of the same Department of Curmudgeonliness that abolished the Holy Days of Obligation.

pelerin said...

Exactly - what do you suggest we do? I was very surprised when I saw the article in the Catholic Herald telling us that we will probably have to stay at home and watch it on tele. I had intended going to Hyde Park.

I was lucky enough to attend both Papal Masses during Pope Benedict's very memorable Lourdes visit in 2008. I also watched the Mass he celebrated in Paris on a television in a Lourdes cafe. You cannot compare them. There were no tickets issued - attending merely necessitated a very early start. However for the first Mass out in the prairie access was closed by 8am and I spoke to one very disappointed lady who had travelled all the way from Bordeaux only to arrive just after 8am. Large screens had been installed in front of the basilica but she said to me 'It was not the same as actually being present - I could have watched at home.'

I understand that Pope Benedict will be visiting Westminster Cathedral as well as the Abbey and I do hope there will be giant screens outside both of these places so that we can all watch together what happens inside and show out solidarity to Pope Benedict.

Patricius said...

Just think! If all the Catholics stay home they will be able to get a really good view of the people protesting against the Pope lovingly framed by the television cameras!

Delia said...

How about hiring some coaches to take people without tickets but with flags and enthusiasm to the Coventry Airport Mass – or as near to it as allowed? We could then all crowd outside the barriers. We'd have to sign up with the money beforehand, of course, and be prepared to walk quite a distance. A few of us could gather to start working out the logistics and costings, if there were enough interest. Even one coach would be something!

Anonymous said...

the only invivation we have received st school has been from a group to do with catholics at the olympics who have asked for one student , they expect them to travel to london by themselves and stay in a dormitory in a hostel for three nights for the pope's visit to strawberry hill , obviously they have no idea what 16 year olds are like , you would need enormous confidence , and seems a serious child protection risk . According to the visit website details will be revealed 8 weeks befor the visit which will fall within the school holidays

Tom said...

Hear, hear.

What worries me is a fear that those charged with organising the event for the Church don't seem to have a track record of loyal devotion either to the Holy Father or to the Church: they seem more like the career civil servants of the FCO, perhaps having a weather-eye on what's in it for them as a reward afterwards.

If that is the case, then these organisers will go along with any old 'elfin safety' nonsense in order to provide what they think will pass off as a plausible excuse for having to reduce numbers - to say nothing of the patronising suggestion to watch it in the internet.

Jesus, convert England - but until then give us the good strong leaders we desperately need and preserve our Holy Father from the vipers he has to contend with.

Lindi said...

I agree - it's as though the visit is viewed as a bit of a nuisance by Catholic leaders. The ordinary faithful thought they would be able to be present at Mass with Pope Benedict. How naive we were !
Why can't those in charge understand that we want to be physically present not watching in some kind of virtual reality game !