Thursday, September 17, 2015

Five Years Ago: Someone Else Remembered!

Her Majesty's Government recalled the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's visit yesterday too, according to Vatican Radio:

The United Kingdom is this week marking the fifth anniversary of the apostolic visit to the country made by Pope Benedict XVI.

The trip, from 16-19 September 2010, was the first ever official Papal State Visit to the UK, as Pope John Paul II’s visit was a pastoral one.

During his four-day trip, Pope Benedict visited both Scotland and England, and beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman.

To mark the 5th anniversary, the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker, said the State Visit “took our bilateral relationship to a new level”, adding the UK and the Holy See have built on it since then, “through Royal, ministerial and official visits and an intense bilateral engagement on the issues that matter - the Middle East, Ukraine, climate change, human rights, poverty and international development, human trafficking, geo-political conflict.”

“The 2010 State Visit looked to the future; to how the UK and the Holy See might co-operate better to improve our planet, tackle poverty, and contribute to the common good,” he added. “That objective remains as relevant and as necessary today as it did five years ago”.

The Catholic Herald re-posted William Oddie's comments from five years ago after the visit:

The richness, volume and sheer variety of the teaching the Pope gave us, and its perfect suitability for each of its many very different audiences, ranging from his intellectually hugely impressive address to the leaders of civil society in Westminster Hall to his call to that enthusiastic audience of schoolchildren to aim at becoming saints, was astonishing. And perhaps the first thing that needs to be said is that this was above all a personal triumph for the Holy Father himself. What came over consistently was the huge warmth, the seemingly inexhaustible loving kindness of the Pope’s gentle but nevertheless powerful personality. After all the caricatures, the man emerged.

Despite his intellectual impressiveness, which was evident throughout, everyone now knows that this is no withdrawn, scholarly rigorist, incapable of relating to people or understanding their lives: this alleged coldness, it was widely claimed, was what explained the supposed lack of enthusiasm about the visit, even among Catholics.

Well, we will hear no more now about his purported lack of charisma, an assessment invariably followed with a comparison, to Pope Benedict’s disadvantage, with John Paul II. Pope Benedict is, we have now all seen, hugely charismatic: but his charisma is of a different kind, less dramatic, less forcefully energetic than that of Pope John Paul.

As I've prepared the posts for this anniversary, I have indeed noted that some surprise on the part of the British hierarchy seems to come through their remarks; in the vernacular, they seem to be saying: "We didn't know you had it in you!" 

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