Skip to comments.Benedict in Britain: personal triumph for the Pope, humiliation for secular fanatics
Posted on 09/21/2010 10:31:21 AM PDT by NYer
There are so many things to say about this remarkably successful papal visit that I can’t fit them into one blog post. But if I had to produce an immediate response it would be delight that Pope Benedict is no longer a stranger to the British people. They know him now; their curiosity has been aroused by his powerful message and their hearts warmed by his perfect manners and grandfatherly little grin. David Cameron has just made this clear in his speech at the airport: we have heard you, he told the Pontiff, adding that “you have challenged the whole country to sit up and think”.
Consider the failure of the “Protest the Pope” stunt yesterday. On a sunny afternoon, in a city of 10 million people, a crowd of fewer than 10,000 protestors followed the anti-Catholic bandwagon. Richard Dawkins, Johann Hari, Stephen Fry et al may regard that as a good result, but if (at most) one Londoner in a thousand takes to the streets to register disapproval at the use of their taxes to host the Pope, then I’d say the secularists have misjudged the public mood, wouldn’t you? And look at what a thin demographic sliver of the population they represented: mostly white, middle-class, metropolitan. (Needless to say, none of them could be bothered to make the trek up to Birmingham: the Pope may be the atheists’ Antichrist, but you mustn’t let your principles get in the way of a lazy Sunday morning cappuccino.)
Compare the protestors to the Catholics in Hyde Park: old Polish ladies, tweedy gents from the shires, African hospital cleaners, self-consciously cool teenagers, Filipino checkout assistants and, as one of my friends put it, “some rather tarty-looking traveller women who’d obviously had a glass or two”.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.telegraph.co.uk ...
At least this person is practicing truth-in-labeling.
Daily Telegraph is the best newspaper in the world. It helps that the owners, the Barclay brothers, are Englishmen of Scottish extraction. They come from a large Catholic family of very modest means. They are self made men.
Oh dear... oh dear... WOOT!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
I have a new toy with which to play!
Despite some half-naked men turning up in Twickenham this morning, butt cheeks on show in front of rather put-off mothers who had brought their children to meet the Pope, the anti-papal protests have been small so far. The New Statesman even asks: Does opposition to the Papal visit come only from a liberal metropolitan elite?
Which suggests the obvious question is the Pope a Catholic? (Sorry. Ill get my coat.)
So far I hope the general public is waking up to two ideas. First, that Catholicism is a beautiful religion with, at its core, the idea that we should all love and help each other, and although there is deep disagreement within its ranks about a few core issues, these in time will be resolved. And second, that those strongly opposed to the state visit are quite small in number, and can match many religious zealots in their shrillness and intolerance.
The ever-excellent Spiked has published a series of articles on the anti-Pope brigade not because we hold a candle for the Vatican (we most certainly do not), but because we want to distance ourselves from what masquerades as humanism today and assert true humanism as we understand it.
Since the Holy Fathers arrival the Romophobes have only managed to get themselves worked up into a fury by his comments about atheist extremists of the 20th century, among which he seemed to include Nazis as well as Communists. As the Pope put it:
I also recall the regimes attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a reductive vision of the person and his destiny.
For people who have been using Godwins Law for decades to get worked up by this perfectly accurate statement is a bit rich, especially when many have long been throwing the Hitler Youth jibe at a man whose father was a staunch anti-Nazi. As Michael Burleigh wrote the other day:
As a 14-year-old, the future Pope was conscripted into the Hitler Youth, along with the majority of his age cohort. That year, 1941, one of his cousins, who had Downs syndrome, was murdered in the Nazis monstrous euthanasia campaign. As the Nazis ran out of cannon fodder, even young seminarians were drafted into such tasks as manning anti-aircraft batteries, which Ratzinger did in the years before he briefly entered Allied captivity.
It is untrue to call Nazism atheist as such it had plenty of pagan and New Age mystical beliefs, as well as some nominal elements of Christianity but the Nazis did despise Christianity. And the decline of Christianity made Nazism more likely, as social Darwinist ideas began to dominate conservative thought, especially in Germany.
This was illustrated by the experiences of a 20th-century American pacifist called Vernon Kellogg, who went to work on a humanitarian mission during the First World War in 1915 and spent his evenings dining with the German high command not admittedly anyones fantasy historical party guests.
He grew horrified by the Darwinian philosophy that had become widespread. The creed of natural selection based on violent and fatal competitive struggle is the Gospel of the German intellectuals, he wrote, and became a born-again warmonger, convinced that they could only be stopped by force.
That gospel of natural selection was instrumental in allowing the Nazis to come to power in Germany, where their support was weakest among Catholics, as these two maps show. That the Church failed to do enough to stop Hitler goes without saying, but it was out of fear and weakness, not sympathy. Rather, as Kellogg and many others were to find out, Christianity often placed a restraint on the worst excesses of conservatism.
**Lots of liberals are quietly distancing themselves from the Romophobes**
Did you notice how quiet the anti-Catholics on FR were over the weekend. In my opinion, they didn’t quite know what to make of this Pope and his quiet, Holy Spirit embedded courage, kindness, gentleness, love for all and generosity in proclaiming Jesus Christ to the Brits!