Tu Es Petrus!

I have written the following piece for the Unofficial Papal Visit Website set up by James Preece.

Let me know if the pictures are naff, or its too wordy, layout is atrocious, its too lengthy or obsessed with carbon reduction initiatives and other people's faiths.

It hasn't taken me long to write, about an hour at best. It is far from perfect, of course, but I am still wondering how, if I, who am a gardener by trade, can bash out a half-decent effort on the background to the Papal Visit, does it seem such a hard task for the organisers of the visit itself, who are probably paid rather well for their services?

Somebody responsible for this aspect of the Papal Visit needs a serious 'heart speaks unto heart' with his employee...

'The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is to come in September to visit the UK. While here he will beatify the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman. It is a truly historic occasion both for the country and the Church, at the prospect of which the whole Church should rejoice greatly, even if the whole country cannot bring itself to do so.

Despite numerous setbacks (the magnitude of which should embarrass the whole Church in England and Wales) in the planning of the visit so far, with the venue for the Beatification Mass in Coventry still yet to be confirmed, excitement is palpably building at the prospect of His Holiness arriving on these isles.

Pope Benedict XVI is the direct Apostolic Successor of St Peter and if St Peter could rouse a crowd without millions of pounds being squandered by the other Apostles, then it is perhaps possible for the Catholic Church in England and Wales to look after a Papal Visit here in September.

The timing of his visit is providential but it is a brave Pontiff who comes here. The United Kingdom is beset by a host of problems stemming from a largely secular mentality. Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in a country which has severed itself from its traditional Christian roots, first established by St Augustine of Canterbury at the request of another Supreme Pontiff, Pope St Gregory the Great, and the country now suffers the grave consequences of that severage.

 Abortion rates in the UK consistently average at around 200,000 innocent lives lost a year. The Labour Government passed legislation in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act which made commodities of human persons, embryos to be tested upon, experimented upon and used, only to be destroyed in a vain attempt to further scientific enquiry. The Government continued its assault on human dignity by refusing to lower the upper limit for abortions.

The Labour Government passed legislation attacking the institutions of Marriage and the Family, by passing the Civil Partnerships Act, creating, in law, a new kind of relationship recognised by the State set to rival marriage between one man and one woman. The Labour Government also enshrined in law an Equalities Act which threatens to be used in a new and viscious assault upon religious liberty and human freedom with several high profile cases suggesting that those who hold firmly to their Christian beliefs and practise them in public are vulnerable to persecution.

The UK, while remaining a country of many faiths and where the practise of religion is established in communities across the Union, is becoming increasingly and aggressively secular. Prominent figures have gained a great deal of attention in the mass media and popularity, most notably and most vociferously, the atheistic biologist and author of ‘The God Delusion’, Richard Dawkins.

The Church has not been immune to the atheistic zeitgeist and the culture of moral relativism now taking hold of the UK. The Church is suffering a decline in the Priesthood and many parish Churches have paid the ultimate price of the decline of the Faith by having been shut down by Dioceses, often to the great protest and anger of the lay Faithful. The abuse scandals which rocked the Church in 2010 have threatened (if you read the press and believe the hype) to overpower those who lead Her and lead the Faithful in the 21st Century, most notably in Ireland and the US.

Yet, while there is much over which the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom can mourn, there is hope. Christ may not have promised that the Gates of Hell would not come near the Church, but He did promise that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against Her.

  • Pope Benedict XVI has been at the forefront of the renewal of the Church, liberating the Traditional Latin Mass which has seen many rediscover the beauty of the liturgy and enabled men and women to find a renewed sense of faith in the Risen Christ.
  • Pope Benedict XVI has been at the forefront of the drive to cleanse the Church, to rid Her of ‘filth’, to remove from positions of authority those who seek to betray the mission of the Church and abuse those who are most vulnerable in Her care.
  • Pope Benedict XVI remains resolutely faithful to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Deposit of Faith with which he is charged with defending while others in positions of authority in the Church seek to modernise the Faith to reflect the values of the World, exhibiting in his writings and in his public proclamations great holiness and insight into the truths of the Most Holy Faith.
The Franciscan Friars and Nuns of the Immaculate are one new Order faithful to their holy father, St Francis, devoted to both the Traditonal Mass and the Pope, while living radical poverty for the love of Christ. The Dominicans, too, are enjoying a renaissance. Their members are growing and their new members are young. Young people are rediscovering, in the Sacrament of Marriage that True Love never dies, nor shies away from sacrifice. The liberation of the Latin Mass has been instrumental in inspiring men to offer their lives as an oblation to God in the Priesthood. Young people are discovering that Love is not what the media tells it that it is, but something that is Holy, that comes from God.

It is against this backdrop of a Church wounded, but still very much alive, shaken, but still sanctified by the Holy Spirit, embattled, but aided by that holy joy that comes from witnessing that same Spirit at work in the fresh growth evident upon the Vine, that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will be welcomed by hundreds of thousands (if permitted) of Catholics in the United Kingdom on his arrival.

The flame of Faith, given and handed down generations ago by a holy Pope and his holy but reluctant emissary, with his missionary monks in tow, is still very alive and it shall not be snuffed out, not even with all the bad will in the World (or even within the Church). The visit of Pope Benedict XVI will, God willing, be a huge success and increase the faith of the Church in the United Kingdom.

Tu Es Petrus! You are Peter, Your Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, and we welcome you with open arms to the country once named Our Lady’s Dowry. We love you, Holy Father!'


sanabituranima said…
Nice article, but:
1. You spelled "vicious wrong."
2. Please put in a bit more about Newman.
pelerin said…
But Laurence you failed to mention umpteen times that this is a State visit - only joking!! I like it - especially 'a Church wounded but still very much alive.' Well done and it is VERY decent not 'half decent'as you put it - you are far too modest.
I don't know much about Newman!
sanabituranima said…
Quotation marks should have been round "vicious" rather than "vicious wrong."

Ack, what was that about the log in my eye and the speck in my brother's? ;-P
Mike said…
Seeing as how sanabituranima has commented on the spelling of ‘vicious’ can I point out that ‘the practise of religion’ should be ‘the practice of religion’.

Can I also make the point that the visit is only partly the responsibility of the Bishops of England and Wales as the bishops in Scotland are responsible for the Edinburgh and Glasgow bits.

Apart from that, I think that the article is (depressingly) spot on.
Dominic Mary said…
First class . . . and almost infinitely better than the rubbish put out by Ecclestone Square.

The tragedy is that the Hierarchy can't see the wood for the trees; in other words, they can't see that they have the resources - in a multitude of first-class bloggers, both clerical and lay - to do all their communicating for them from a basis of faith, and not of 'commercial conviction' (or whatever they call it !
Fr Kelves said…
"The Labour Government also enshrined in law an Equalities Act which threatens to be used in a new and viscious assault upon religious liberty and human freedom with several high profile cases suggesting that those who hold firmly to their Christian beliefs and practise them in public are vulnerable to persecution."

Presumably then you won't be complaining when I practice my religious beliefs in public by blowing a vuvuzela during the Pope's speech with all my friends. Oh and we'll have our 'Cardinal Nazinger' images on 20 foot banners for the cameras too. cheers for supporting the right to demonstrate our convictions in public
The Holy Father hasn't come here to demonstrate. If you demonstrate in order to drown out his voice, then you will only be demonstrating before men, God and His Angels, that you hate both Freedom and Truth.
Fr Kelves said…
I was just kidding! I have no interest in disrupting a peaceful and deeply spiritual gathering; I hope it is enjoyed by all. I was simply observing that the 'freedoms' you celebrate have to be capped. You can't complain when people are told to do their jobs properly! Small example, supermarket chains won a court of arbitration order that determined Muslim employees would not be able to refuse selling alcohol. If they had lost it would have led to chaos - you would be changing staff every 5 minutes at the tills. The Christian who refuses to work with gays/the unmarried fornicator is in the same camp - wouldn't you agree.
Sorry, its too late. The inquisition have been notified of your address and they'll be round on your doorstep at 9am tomorrow sharpish.

If you value your life, leave the country, because due to technological progress their torture methods are more frightening than in previous centuries.

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