Benedict in Scotland

The Pope began his 4-day trip to England and Scotland today, flying to Edinburgh, meeting with Queen Elizabeth privately for 20 minutes, dining with the Scottish bishops, celebrating Mass in Glasgow, and flying to London. Below, some of the highlights of the first day of this long-awaited trip…

By Robert Moynihan

The Pope in Edinburgh and Glasgow, September 16, 2010

Today’s papal visit to Scotland, which began at about 10:30 a.m., had five main “moments”: (1) the landing in Edinburgh’s airport; (2) the meeting with the Queen at her residence (photo, left, the Queen and Pope Benedict today); (3) the ride through the crowded streets of Edinburgh; (4) lunch with Scotland’s bishops; (5) an open-air Mass in Glasgow.

The Pope then flew to London, where he is now — and where his address tomorrow (Friday), on the role of Catholic politicians in memory of St. Thomas More is being looked forward to as one of the most important addresses of his pontificate.

There was also a sixth “moment” today: (6) a press conference on the papal plane en route from Italy to Scotland, where the Pope acknowledged that the Church did not do enough over many years to address the problem of clerical sexual abuse of young people (transcript below)

There were three major addresses today: (1) the Queen’s greeting to the Pope; (2) the Pope’s greeting to the Queen; (3) the Pope’s homily at the Mass in Glasgow. There was also: (4) the impromptu press conference on the plane. All four of these texts are included below.

The essence of Benedict’s message: an appeal to memory, to tradition, to a Christian vision of man

But what was the essence of this day?

What was the chief point the Pope made in Scotland?

(Photo, the Pope getting on to his Alitalia plane in Italy to fly to Scotland early thursday morning, September 16)

It was that Scotland, that Great Britain, should remember its Christian past, its Christian faith.

The Pope made this clear when he spoke to Queen Elizabeth.

“The name of Holyroodhouse, Your Majesty’s official residence in Scotland,” the Pope said, “recalls the ‘Holy Cross’ and points to the deep Christian roots that are still present in every layer of British life” (note: “rood” means “cross” in old English, so “Holyroodhouse” means “Holycrosshouse”).

“The monarchs of England and Scotland have been Christians from very early times and include outstanding saints like Edward the Confessor and Margaret of Scotland. As you know, many of them consciously exercised their sovereign duty in the light of the Gospel, and in this way shaped the nation for good at the deepest level.

“As a result,” the Pope continued, “the Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.

“We find many examples of this force for good throughout Britain’s long history. Even in comparatively recent times, due to figures like William Wilberforce and David Livingstone, Britain intervened directly to stop the international slave trade. Inspired by faith, women like Florence Nightingale served the poor and the sick and set new standards in healthcare that were subsequently copied everywhere. John Henry Newman, whose beatification I will celebrate shortly, was one of many British Christians of his age whose goodness, eloquence and action were a credit to their countrymen and women. These, and many people like them, were inspired by a deep faith born and nurtured in these islands.”

And then Benedict suggested that those who wish to eradicate the memory of God from society, like the Nazis in his native Germany — and, by implication, like the radical secular humanists of today in Western Europe, including Great Britain — can create a society with a “truncated vision of man.” By implication, he was warning the Queen that when faith in God is neglected or forgotten there can be terrible repercussions for human society.

This was his clearest enunciation of his message (with my own bold-facing of the key phrase):

“Even in our own lifetime,” the Pope said, “we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live… 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” (Caritas in Veritate, 29).

And so the essence of the Pope’s message on the first day of his journey was that Scotland and England should not forget God, or risk tragic consequences for individuals and human society in general.

Day #1: Pope Visits Scotland

The British journalist Edward Pentin has written a clear account of today’s events for the Zenit news agency. Here are excerpts from his report (for the complete article, go to: http://www.zenit.org/article-30368?l=english):

EDINBURGH, Scotland, SEPT. 16, 2010 (Zenit.org) — Benedict XVI landed at Edinburgh airport shortly before half past ten this morning amid a blustery and chill wind.

But the sun was also shining brightly and the Holy Father looked rested, at peace and happy as he came off the papal plane.

He was greeted by the Duke of Edinburgh, an unprecedented gesture signifying how much the Crown values this, the first state by a Pope…

Well-wishers lined the route of the Pope’s motorcade as he was driven to Holyroodhouse Palace, the official Scottish Royal residence where the queen greeted him in the front courtyard…

(Photo, the Queen as she greeted the Pope)

He then walked — still smiling — into the Palace with the queen where the two leaders and Prince Phillip had a private audience lasting around 20 minutes.

The Holy Father… criticized “aggressive secularism” warning that “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”…

Common heritage

In her speech, the Queen, who is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, noted that the Pope’s presence “reminds us of our common Christian heritage”…

…The Holy Father left in the popemobile to have lunch with Scotland’s bishops. The Police estimate that 100,000 people lined the streets of Edinburgh to wave him on. Crowds cheered heartily, many of whom were schoolchildren. The Holy Father was accompanied in the popemobile by Cardinal O’Brien and Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, his secretary, each wearing a special St. Ninian tartan scarf. Today is the feast day of the saint, the country’s first missionary.

Threats of protests came to nothing in Scotland….

A large and very lively crowd gathered at Bellahouston Park, a lush green expanse of land on the outskirts of Glasgow, to attend an open-air Mass in the evening. Estimates are that between 70,000 to 100,000 attended, and the park appeared to be at capacity….

In his homily, the Holy Father said that the evangelization of culture “is all the more important” at a time “when a “dictatorship of relativism” threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good.”

He added: “There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic
liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister”…

After Mass, the Pope was driven in a motorcade to Glasgow airport and a flight to London after a very full schedule.

Another historic day awaits him tomorrow, one in which he’ll deliver a speech in the heart of Westminster, the place where St. Thomas More, the patron saint of politicians, was tried and condemned for holding to Christian principles in the face of state opposition.

For this reason, and the overall Catholic and state symbolism of the venue, it’s being billed as one of the most important addresses of his pontificate.

(end of Pentin’s report)

The Pope addresses the sex abuse scandal

While answering journalists’ questions on the papal airplane on the flight to Scotland, the Pope acknowledged that Church officials had not been sufficiently vigilant or sufficiently quick in responding to the problem of sexual abusers among clergy.

Speaking of the sexual abuse scandal, he said: “First of all I must say that these revelations were a shock to me, a great sadness; it is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible. At the moment of ordination, the priest, prepared for years for this moment, says ‘yes’ to Christ to be his voice, his mouth, his hands.[…] How a man who has done and said this can then fall into this perversion is difficult to understand.

“It is a great sadness, a great sadness also that the authority of the Church was not sufficiently vigilant and not sufficiently quick and resolute in taking the necessary measures.”

Benedict then recommended three steps to be taken now.

The first, he said, is to give priority to the victims: “What can we do to help these persons overcome this trauma, to rediscover life, to find again as well trust in the message of Christ? Concern for the victims is the first priority with material, psychological and spiritual help.”

Second, he said, is “the just punishment (of abusers), excluding them from any possibility of access to young people, because we know that this is an illness, that free will does not function where this illness exists; hence, we must protect these persons from themselves and find the way to help them and keep them from any access to young people.”

Finally, he called for careful selection of candidates for the priesthood: “To be careful so that, inasmuch as humanly possible, future cases are prevented.”

Texts of Speeches

Text #1: Queen Elizabeth II’s Greeting to Benedict XVI

Here is the address Queen Elizabeth II delivered today at the Palace of Holyroodhouse upon welcoming
Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom.

Your Holiness,

I am delighted to welcome you to the United Kingdom, and particularly to Scotland, on your first visit as Pope. I recall with great pleasure the memorable pastoral visit of the late Pope John Paul II to this country in 1982. I also have vivid memories of my four visits to the Vatican, and of meeting some of your predecessors on other occasions. I am most grateful to them for receiving, over the years, a number of members of my family with such warm hospitality.

Much has changed in the world during the nearly thirty years since Pope John Paul’s visit. In this country, we deeply appreciate the involvement of the Holy See in the dramatic improvement in the situation in Northern Ireland. Elsewhere the fall of totalitarian regimes across central and eastern Europe has allowed greater freedom for hundreds of millions of people. The Holy See continues to have an important role in international issues, in support of peace and development and in addressing common problems like poverty and climate change.

Your Holiness, your presence here today reminds us of our common Christian heritage, and of the Christian contribution to the encouragement of world peace, and to the economic and social development of the less prosperous countries of the world. We are all aware of the special contribution of the Roman Catholic Church particularly in its ministry to the poorest and most deprived members of society, its care for the homeless and for the education provided by its extensive network of schools.

Religion has always been a crucial element in national identity and historical self-consciousness. This has made the relationship between the different faiths a fundamental factor in the necessary cooperation within and between nation states. It is, therefore, vital to encourage a greater mutual, and respectful understanding. We know from experience that through committed dialogue, old suspicions can be transcended and a greater mutual trust established.

I know that reconciliation was a central theme in the life of Cardinal John Henry Newman, for whom you will be holding a Mass of Beatification on Sunday. A man who struggled with doubt and uncertainty, his contribution to the understanding of Christianity continues to influence many. I am pleased that your visit will also provide an opportunity to deepen the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the established Church of England and the Church of Scotland.

Your Holiness, in recent times you have said that “religions can never become vehicles of hatred, that never by invoking the name of God can evil and violence be justified”. Today, in this country, we stand united in that conviction. We hold that freedom to worship is at the core of our tolerant and democratic society.

On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom I wish you a most fruitful and memorable visit.

Text #2: Papal Address to the Queen and to Scottish Authorities

Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today to political, civil, and church leaders of Scotland in the Park of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, after meeting privately with Queen Elizabeth II.

Your Majesty,

Thank you for your gracious invitation to make an official visit to the United Kingdom and for your warm words of greeting on behalf of the British people. In thanking Your Majesty, allow me to extend my own greetings to all the people of the United Kingdom and to hold out a hand of friendship to each one.

It is a great pleasure for me to start my journey by saluting the members of the Royal Family, thanking in particular His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh for his kind welcome to me at Edinburgh Airport. I express my gratitude to Your Majesty’s present and previous Governments and to all those who worked with them to make this occasion possible, including Lord Patten and former Secretary of State Murphy. I would also like to acknowledge with deep appreciation the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Holy See, which has contributed greatly to strengthening the friendly relations existing between the Holy See and the United Kingdom.

As I begin my visit to the United Kingdom in Scotland’s historic capital city, I greet in a special way First Minister Salmond and the representatives of the Scottish Parliament. Just like the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies, may the Scottish Parliament grow to be an expression of the fine traditions and distinct culture of the Scots and strive to serve their best interests in a spirit of solidarity and concern for the common good.

The name of Holyroodhouse, Your Majesty’s official residence in Scotland, recalls the “Holy Cross” and points to the deep Christian roots that are still present in every layer of British life. The monarchs of England and Scotland have been Christians from very early times and include outstanding saints like Edward the Confessor and Margaret of Scotland. As you know, many of them consciously exercised their sovereign duty in the light of the Gospel, and in this way shaped the nation for good at the deepest level. As a result, the Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.

We find many examples of this force for good throughout Britain’s long history. Even in comparatively recent times, due to figures like William Wilberforce and David Livingstone, Britain intervened directly to stop the international slave trade. Inspired by faith, women like Florence Nightingale served the poor and the sick and set new standards in healthcare that were subsequently copied everywhere. John Henry Newman, whose beatification I will celebrate shortly, was one of many British Christians of his age whose goodness, eloquence and action were a credit to their countrymen and women. These, and many people like them, were inspired by a deep faith born and nurtured in these islands.

Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s 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” (Caritas in Veritate, 29).

Sixty-five years ago, Britain played an essential role in forging the post-war international consensus which favoured the establishment of the United Nations and ushered in a hitherto unknown period of peace and prosperity in Europe. In more recent years, the international community has followed closely events in Northern Ireland which have led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the devolution of powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Your Majesty’s Government and the Government of Ireland, together with the political, religious and civil leaders of Northern Ireland, have helped give birth to a peaceful resolution of the conflict there. I encourage everyone involved to continue to walk courageously together on the path marked out for them towards a just and lasting peace.

Looking abroad, the United Kingdom remains a key figure politically and economically on the international stage. Your Government and people are the shapers of ideas that still have an impact far beyond the British Isles. This places upon them a particular duty to act wisely for the common good. Similarly, because their opinions reach such a wide audience, the British media have a graver responsibility than most and a greater opportunity to promote the peace of nations, the integral development of peoples and the spread of authentic human rights. May all Britons continue to live by the values of honesty, respect and fair-mindedness that have won them the esteem and admiration of many.

Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate. Let it not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms; and may that patrimony, which has always served the nation well, constantly inform the example your Government and people set before the two billion members of the Commonwealth and the great family of English-speaking nations throughout the world.

May God bless Your Majesty and all the people of your realm. Thank you.

Text #3: Papal Homily at Bellahouston Park Mass, Glasgow

Here is the homily Benedict XVI delivered today during an open-air Mass at Bellahouston Park, about
three miles from the center of Glasgow.

HOMILY OF POPE BENEDICT XVI
MASS OF ST NINIAN, APOSTLE OF SCOTLAND
BELLAHOUSTON PARK
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND
16 SEPTEMBER 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“The Kingdom of God is very near to you!” (Luke 10:9). With these words of the Gospel we have just heard, I greet all of you with great affection in the Lord. Truly the Lord’s Kingdom is already in our midst! At this Eucharistic celebration in which the Church in Scotland gathers around the altar in union with the Successor of Peter, let us reaffirm our faith in Christ’s word and our hope a hope which never disappoints in his promises! I warmly greet Cardinal O’Brien and the Scottish Bishops; I thank in particular Archbishop Conti for his kind words of welcome on your behalf; and I express my deep gratitude for the work that the British and Scottish Governments and the Glasgow city fathers have done to make this occasion possible.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that Christ continues to send his disciples into the world in order to proclaim the coming of his Kingdom and to bring his peace into the world, beginning house by house, family by family, town by town. I have come as a herald of that peace to you, the spiritual children of Saint Andrew and to confirm you in the faith of Peter (cf. Luke 22:32). It is with some emotion that I address you, not far from the spot where my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass nearly thirty years ago with you and was welcomed by the largest crowd ever gathered in Scottish history.

Much has happened in Scotland and in the Church in this country since that historic visit. I note with great satisfaction how Pope John Paul’s call to you to walk hand in hand with your fellow Christians has led to greater trust and friendship with the members of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others. Let me encourage you to continue to pray and work with them in building a brighter future for Scotland based upon our common Christian heritage. In today’s first reading we heard Saint Paul appeal to the Romans to acknowledge that, as members of Christ’s body, we belong to each other (cf. Romans 12:5) and to live in respect and mutual love. In that spirit I greet the ecumenical representatives who honour us by their presence. This year marks the 450th anniversary of the Reformation Parliament, but also the 100th anniversary of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, which is widely acknowledged to mark the birth of the modern ecumenical movement. Let us give thanks to God for the promise which ecumenical understanding and cooperation represents for a united witness to the saving truth of God’s word in today’s rapidly changing society.

Among the differing gifts which Saint Paul lists for the building up of the Church is that of teaching (cf. Romans 12:7). The preaching of the Gospel has always been accompanied by concern for the word: the inspired word of God and the culture in which that word takes root and flourishes. Here in Scotland, I think of the three medieval universities founded here by the Popes, including that of Saint Andrews which is beginning to mark the 600th anniversary of its foundation. In the last 30 years and with the assistance of civil authorities, Scottish Catholic schools have taken up the challenge of providing an integral education to greater numbers of students, and this has helped young people not only along the path of spiritual and human growth, but also in entering the professions and public life. This is a sign of great hope for the Church, and I encourage the Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers of Scotland never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level.

The evangelization of culture is all the more important in our times, when a “dictatorship of relativism” threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good. There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister. For this reason I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, in accordance with your baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum. Society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility. Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation.

Saint Ninian, whose feast we celebrate today, was himself unafraid to be a lone voice. In the footsteps of the disciples whom our Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good news of Jesus Christ. His mission church in Galloway became a centre for the first evangelization of this country. That work was later taken up by Saint Mungo, Glasgow’s own patron, and by other saints, the greatest of whom must include Saint Columba and Saint Margaret. Inspired by them, many men and women have laboured over many centuries to hand down the faith to you. Strive to be worthy of this great tradition!

Let the exhortation of Saint Paul in the first reading be your constant inspiration: “Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering and persevere in prayer” (cf. Romans 12:11-12).

I would now like to address a special word to the bishops of Scotland. Dear brothers, let me encourage you in your pastoral leadership of the Catholics of Scotland. As you know, one of your first pastoral duties is to your priests (cf. “Presbyterorum Ordinis,” 7) and to their sanctification. As they are alter Christus to the Catholic community, so you are to them. Live to the full the charity that flows from Christ, in your brotherly ministry towards your priests, collaborating with them all, and in particular with those who have little contact with their fellow priests. Pray with them for vocations, that the Lord of the harvest will send labourers to his harvest (cf. Luke 10:2). Just as the Eucharist makes the Church, so the priesthood is central to the life of the Church. Engage yourselves personally in forming your priests as a body of men who inspire others to dedicate themselves completely to the service of Almighty God. Have a care also for your deacons, whose ministry of service is associated in a particular way with that of the order of bishops. Be a father and a guide in holiness for them, encouraging them to grow in knowledge and wisdom in carrying out the mission of herald to which they have been called.

Dear priests of Scotland, you are called to holiness and to serve God’s people by modelling your lives on the mystery of the Lord’s cross. Preach the Gospel with a pure heart and a clear conscience. Dedicate yourselves to God alone and you will become shining examples to young men of a holy, simple and joyful life: they, in their turn, will surely wish to join you in your single-minded service of God’s people. May the example of Saint John Ogilvie, dedicated, selfless and brave, inspire all of you. Similarly, let me encourage you, the monks, nuns and religious of Scotland to be a light on a hilltop, living an authentic Christian life of prayer and action that witnesses in a luminous way to the power of the Gospel.

Finally, I would like to say a word to you, my dear young Catholics of Scotland. I urge you to lead lives worthy of our Lord (cf. Ephesians 4:1) and of yourselves. There are many temptations placed before you every day — drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol — which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive. There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to pray for vocations: I pray that many of you will know and love Jesus Christ and, through that encounter, will dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life. This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!

Dear friends, I express once more my joy at celebrating this Mass with you. I am happy to assure you of my prayers in the ancient language of your country: Sìth agus beannachd Dhe dhuibh uile; Dia bhi timcheall oirbh; agus gum beannaicheadh Dia Alba. God’s peace and blessing to you all; God surround you; and may God bless the people of Scotland!

Text #4: Benedict XVI’s Comments en Route to Scotland

Here is a translation of a transcription of the press conference Benedict XVI gave today aboard the papal plane en route to Edinburgh, Scotland. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, led the press conference.

Press conference on papal plane

As is tradition, Pope Benedict XVI held a mid-flight press conference with journalists accompanying him on his four day visit to the United Kingdom. We publish a draft Vatican Radio translation of the question and answer session:

Q. – Your Holiness, welcome among us and thank you for being available for our questions. We have a group of 70 journalists present here from different parts of the world. Of course some have come especially from the UK to join our group for the flight. As usual, in recent days my colleagues have given me several questions for consideration in this initial conversation, the beginning of a long-awaited and challenging journey, which we hope will be truly beautiful. I chose a series of questions, from among those that were submitted, and I will ask them in Italian so as not to tax you too much. My colleagues will help those who are not familiar with Italian, to understand. The first question: during the preparation for this journey there have been contrary discussions and positions. The country has a past tradition of a strong anti-Catholic position. Are you concerned about how you will be received?

Pope Benedict: Firstly, good day to you all and I wish you a good journey. I must say that I’m not worried, because when I went to France I was told: “This will be a most anticlerical country with strong anticlerical currents and with a minimum of faithful.” When I went to the Czech Republic it was said: “This is the most non-religious country in Europe and even the most anti-clerical”. So Western countries, all have, each in their own specific way, according to their own history, strong anticlerical or anti-Catholic currents, but they always also have a strong presence of faith. So in France and the Czech Republic I saw and experienced a warm welcome by the Catholic community, a strong attention from agnostics, who, however, are searching, who want to know, to find the values that advance humanity and they were very careful to see if they could hear something from me in this respect, and tolerance and respect for those who are anti-Catholic. Of course Britain has its own history of anti-Catholicism, this is obvious, but is also a country with a great history of tolerance. And so I’m sure on the one hand, there will be a positive reception from Catholics, from believers in general, and attention from those who seek as we move forward in our time, mutual respect and tolerance. Where there is anti-Catholicism I will go forward with great courage and joy.

Q. – The UK, like many other Western countries – there is an issue that you have already touched on in the first answer –it is considered a secular country. There is a strong atheist movement, even for cultural reasons. However, there are also signs that religious faith, particularly in Jesus Christ, is still alive on a personal level. What can this mean for Catholics and Anglicans? Can anything be done to make the Church as an institution, more credible and attractive to everyone?

Pope Benedict: I would say that a Church that seeks to be particularly attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for her own ends, she does not work to increase numbers and thus power. The Church is at the service of another: she serves, not for herself, not to be a strong body, rather she serves to make the proclamation of Jesus Christ accessible, the great truths and great forces of love, reconciling love that appeared in this figure and that always comes from the presence of Jesus Christ. In this regard, the Church does not seek to be attractive in and of herself, but must be transparent for Jesus Christ and to the extent that she is not out for herself, as a strong and powerful body in the world, that wants power, but is simply the voice of another, she becomes truly transparent for the great figure of Christ and the great truth that he has brought to humanity. The power of love, in this moment one listens, one accepts. The Church should not consider herself, but help to consider the other and she herself must see and speak of the other. In this sense, I think, both Anglicans and Catholics have the same simple task, the same direction to take. If both Anglicans and Catholics see that the other is not out for themselves but are tools of Christ, children of the Bridegroom, as Saint John says, if both carry out the priorities of Christ and not their own, they will come together, because at that time the priority of Christ unites them and they are no longer competitors seeking the greatest numbers, but are united in our commitment to the truth of Christ who comes into this world and so they find each other in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism.

Q. – Thank you Your Holiness. A third question. As is well known and as was also highlighted by recent surveys, the sexual abuse scandal has shaken the confidence of the faithful in the Church. How do you think you can help restore that trust?

Pope Benedict: First, I must say that these revelations have been a shock for me, not only a great sadness. It is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible. The priest at the time of ordination, after having prepared for this moment for years, says yes to Christ, to be his voice, his mouth, his hands and serve Him with his whole life, so that the Good Shepherd who loves and helps and guides to the truth is present in the world. How a man who has done this and said this may also fall into this perversion is difficult to understand. It is a great sadness, a sadness that even the authority of the Church has not been sufficiently vigilant and not fast or decided enough in taking the necessary measures. Because of all of this, we are in a time of repentance, humility, and renewed sincerity. As I wrote to the Irish bishops, I think we now realize its a time of penance, a time to renew and relearn humility with complete sincerity. Regarding the victims, I would say there are three important things. Our first interest is for the victims: how can we repair the damage done? What can we do to help these people overcome this trauma, to regain their life and rediscover confidence in the message of Christ? Care, commitment to victims is the first priority, with material, psychological, spiritual aid. Second, the problem of the guilty persons. The just punishment is exclusion from all possibilities of access to young people because we know that this is a disease and free will does not work where there is disease. So we have to protect these people against themselves and find ways to help them, protect them against themselves and exclude them from any access to young people. The third point is prevention in education, in the choice of candidates for the priesthood to be so careful that, as much as humanly possible, we exclude future cases. And I would now also like to thank the British Bishops for their attention and cooperation with both the See of St. Peter and with public bodies. It seems to me that the British Bishops have done a great job in their attention to the sensitivity of the victims and the law and I am very grateful to them for this.

Q. – Your Holiness, the figure of Cardinal Newman is obviously very significant: you have made an acception for Cardinal Newman to preside over the beatification. Do you think that his memory will help to overcome divisions between Anglicans and Catholics? What are the aspects of his personality which you would like to give stronger emphasis to?

Pope Benedict: Cardinal Newman is mainly, on the one hand, a modern man, who took on all of the problems of modernity, he experienced the problem of agnosticism, the impossibility of knowing God, of believing; a man who throughout his life was on a journey, a journey to let himself be transformed by the truth, in a search of great sincerity and great willingness, to learn more, to find and to accept the path to true life. This modernity of his inner-being and life points to the modernity of his faith: it is not a faith in the formulas of a bygone age, it is a most personal form of faith, lived, suffered, found through a long process of renewal and conversion. He is a man of great culture who on the one hand participates in our sceptical culture of today, in the question: “Can we understand something certain about the truth of man, of the human being, or not? And how can we arrive at the convergence of the verisimilitude? “. A man who, on the other hand, with a great knowledge of the culture of the Church Fathers, he studied and renewed the internal genesis of the faith, thus acknowledging his figure and his inner constitution, he is a man of great spirituality, a great humanism, a man of prayer, of a deep relationship with God and a relationship with himself, and therefore also of a deep relationship with the other men of his and our time. So I would say these three elements: the modernity of his existence, with all the doubts and problems of our existence today, his great culture, knowledge of the great cultural treasures of mankind, his constant quest for the truth, continuous renewal and spirituality: spiritual life, life with God, give this man an exceptional greatness for our time. Therefore, it is a figure of Doctor of the Church for us, for all and also a bridge between Anglicans and Catholics.

Q. – And one last question, this visit is considered a state visit – this is how it has been qualified. What does this mean for relations between the Holy See and the United Kingdom? Are there are major points of common accord, particularly given the great challenges of today’s world?

Pope Benedict: I am very grateful to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who wanted to give this visit the rank of a state visit and who expressed the public nature of this visit and also the common responsibility of politics and religion for the future of continent, for the future of humanity: the large, shared responsibility so that the values that create justice and politics and which come from religion, share the journey in our time. Of course, the fact that legally it is a state visit, does not make this visit a political matter, because if the Pope is head of state, this is just an instrument to ensure the independence of his message and public nature of his work as pastor.
In this sense, the State visit is substantially and essentially a pastoral visit, a visit in the responsibility of the faith for which the Supreme Pontiff, the Pope, exists. Of course, the character of a state visit focuses attention on the converging interests of politics and religion. Politics is essentially designed to ensure justice and with justice, freedom, but justice is a moral value, a religious value, and so faith, the proclamation of the Gospel connects with politics in justice and here common interests are also born. Britain has a great experience and a great record in combating the evils of this time, misery, poverty, disease, drugs and all these fights against misery, poverty, slavery, abuse of man, drugs … are also the goals of the faith, because they are the aims of the humanization of man, so that the image of God be restored against the destruction and devastation. Another common task is the commitment to world peace and the ability to live peace, peace education and establish the virtues that make man capable of peace. And, finally, an essential element of peace is the dialogue of religions, tolerance, openness to one another and this is a deep aim both of Britain, as a society, and of the Catholic faith: to be open to the outside world, open to dialogue, in this way to open to truth and the common path of humanity and to rediscovering the values that are the foundation of our humanism!

(Link: http://www.oecumene.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=422854)

Brief note: If you would like to travel with us for several days in Italy and Vatican City during the next year, we are still taking requests for our Fall 2010 (to attend the upcoming Consistory on or about November 20, just before Thanksgiving) and Spring 2011 pilgrimages, one to Rome in April, and one to Russia in July. Space on all three trips is limited, with just a few spots open. If you would like information about these trips, email us at: [email protected]

“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” —Blaise Pascal (French mathematician, philosopher, physicist and writer, 1623-1662)

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