Thursday, September 16, 2010

Papal Trip Day 1: "A Roaring Success"

For many in the media, this papal trip was supposed to fit a particular narrative--i.e., the pope was unable to attract crowds, the trip is a flop, etc. Yet this pope is just too stubborn for them and, despite the anti-Catholic media's best efforts, pictures are speaking louder than words. . . and reports on the ground are just not fitting the template. Aside from the picture on the right, check out the following video. Among other things, i.e., the pope's visit with the queen, you can also see that the streets were lined with supporters--125,000 waited patiently along the streets of Edinburgh alone!

Fr. Tim Finigan, a priest in Blackfen (South East London), is doing a great job covering the papal visit on his blog, The Hermeneutic of Continuity. He writes:
At the end of a long day, it is a great pleasure to look back over the glorious success of the first stage of the visit of the Holy Father to Britain. I was premature in thinking that the negative coverage would cease last night. It continued well on into the morning but the tide has now turned. 125,000 Scots turned out to cheer and wave flags as the Holy Father drove along Princes Street in Edinburgh. (In the interests of balance, I should note that there were about 60 protesters.) There were another 70,000 at the Mass at Bellahouston Park, near Glasgow. They had to get there early so must be counted in addition to those lining the streets of Edinburgh.

After spending the morning at home covering the meeting of the Holy Father and Her Majesty the Queen, and the afternoon at the QEII media centre at Westminster covering the Bellahouston Mass, I returned to the parish to call into the Social Club. It was most reassuring to hear some down to earth South Londoners taking the mickey out of this morning's coverage on breakfast TV with its absurd focus on the "empty seats." SKY carries EWTN, so I claimed a special concession to replace the sport with the highlights of the papal visit. There were hoots of laughter at the panoramic pictures of the vast crowd and mocking references to the TV host's assertion "Lots of empty seats, John."
Tomorrow will be jam-packed. In the morning he will meet with those working in Catholic education. He will give a speech on that occassion--and all of us involved with Catholic educational institutions will be listening carefully. He will then meet with religious leaders. Again, he will give a speech--a speech which is sure to make headlines.

In the afternoon he will then meet with Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He will give a speech on that occassion. Following that he will go to Westminster Hall. the site of the trial of St. Thomas Moore. He will also give a speech there. According to reports, papal aids are saying that this will go down as one of Benedict's "most important speeches ever". Apparently the Holy Father will speak about faith and reason, freedom of conscience and the contribution faith makes to society. From there he will go to Westminster Abbey--and once again, he will give a speech.

That makes five papal addresses in one day. Not too shabby for an 83 year old pope!

May the Lord sustain him!

Stay tuned. . .

1 comment:

Sister Mary Agnes said...

Thank you for keeping us updated on the Pope's visit. I just do not have time to keep an eye on the news this week, so your headlines on my RSS feed are most welcome!