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Britain’s reputation is at stake during papal visit, says Lord Patten

By on Monday, 5 July 2010

Lord Patten is overseeing preparations for the state aspects of the Pope's visit (Mazur/www.thepapalvisit.org.uk)

Lord Patten is overseeing preparations for the state aspects of the Pope's visit (Mazur/www.thepapalvisit.org.uk)

Britain’s international reputation is at stake over Pope Benedict XVI’s trip in September, the Government co-ordinator for the papal visit has said.

Speaking at a press conference, Lord Patten of Barnes said the Government was determined to make the Holy Father’s trip a success “not only out of respect for the Pope, not only
out of determination to enhance the reputation of the United Kingdom, but because this will be an event followed by millions of people around the world”.

He said the Pope’s trip to Britain would put an end to any Catholic ever feeling like a “second-class citizen” because of its historic nature as a state visit.

The costs for the visit have soared. Lord Patten said that the Government would have to pay between £10 to £12 million for the state aspects of the visit instead of the original £8 million. This does not include policing costs.

But Lord Patten pointed out that just one day of the G20 conference in London last year cost the state £90 million, whereas the costs of the Pope’s visit would span over four days.

The Church’s costs have also risen. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said that the Church had managed to raise almost £5 million, including £1.1 million through the special collection at Pentecost.

In the next two days parishes across England and Wales will learn how to apply for invitations to papal events in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, Hyde Park in London, and Cofton Park near Birmingham.

Archbishop Nichols said that access to events would not be limited to Catholics alone. Non-Catholics wishing to attend should approach their local Catholic parish. He said that people going to the events – whom he described as pilgrims – would have to travel to the papal
events in groups for security reasons.

As on other recent papal trips, there is “careful consideration” being given to the possibility of Benedict XVI meeting victims of clerical abuse.

But Archbishop Nichols said: “It’s very important that, if such a visit was to take place, it is not seen as a way to use those who have suffered – whose pain is intense and continuing – to satisfy some kind of public agenda or public curiosity. Nobody should be pressing the Pope to meet victims of abuse in order to get a good photograph.”

Lord Patten and Archbishop Nichols also confirmed the papal itinerary. The Pope will first visit Scotland, where he will meet the Queen at Holyrood, before going to Glasgow to celebrate Mass for 100,000 people at Bellahouston Park.

On September 17, Pope Benedict will be in London, first at St Mary’s Twickenham, where he will meet members of other religions and celebrate Catholic education with thousands of school children and the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.

In the afternoon the Pope will meet Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury and other Anglican bishops at Lambeth Palace. He will subsequently give a speech at Westminster Hall to representatives of civil society, before having ecumenical evening prayers at Westminster Abbey, where he and Dr Williams will pray in front of the tomb of St Edward the Confessor.

Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass at Westminster Cathedral on September 18. He will visit a residential home for the elderly. He will then take part in a prayer vigil in Hyde Park before going to Birmingham the next day to beatify John Henry Newman at Cofton Park.

After a brief stop at Birmingham Oratory, Pope Benedict XVI will go to Oscott seminary, where he will meet the English and Welsh bishops, before returning to Rome.

  • Peter

    I would be grateful if Lord Patten could please give us a break-down of the costs? It seems a little rediculous to that £10 to £12 million should be spent on this trip when it does not even include policing costs!

    In addition, does the Honorable Lord really feel like a 2nd Class citizen. Perhaps he needs to be elevated to a higher position!?

  • Peter

    You quote Lord Patten as saying, “Government was determined to make the Holy Father’s trip a success “not only out of respect for the Pope, not only out of determination to enhance the reputation of the United Kingdom, but because this will be an event followed by millions of people around the world”.

    Perhaps Lord Patten should not only be considering who this visit will enhance the reputation of the United Kingdom but, as a Roman Catholic, how it may enable people to deepend their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.

  • Peter

    Correction!!!

    Lord Patten is quoted as saying that the Government is determined to make the Holy Father’s trip a success “not only out of respect for the Pope, not only out of determination to enhance the reputation of the United Kingdom, but because this will be an event followed by millions of people around the world”.

    Perhaps Lord Patten, as a practising Roman Catholic, should also be considering how this visit to England and Scotland will enable people to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.

  • Peter

    p.s. Perhaps it is Lord Patten's reputation at stake more than that of the United Kingdom! Think we are a little bigger than one Lord!

  • Peter Kingsley

    Lord Patten is quoted as saying that the Government is determined to make the Holy Father’s trip a success “not only out of respect for the Pope, not only out of determination to enhance the reputation of the United Kingdom, but because this will be an event followed by millions of people around the world”.

    I hope Lord Patten, as a practising Roman Catholic, is also considering how this visit to the United Kingdom will help people to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.

  • Ben

    I am sorry, Lord Patten, but Britain's international reputation does not hinge on how its treats an elderly delusional who hallucinates — that would be the kindest interpretation — that he is the representative on earth of a supposed supernatural entity that claims the right to reward with heaven and punish with hell those who do or do not agree with his whims, and of a church that preys on the credulous in developing countries when it is not busy pardoning or giving sanctuary to child rapers.

  • Ben

    Could the editors of this webpage please confirm whether references in posted Comments to publicly documented instances of child abuse, many of them resulting in successful legal action, within the Catholic Church are removed as a matter of policy. Anecdotal evidence suggests this is your practice, but a formal explanation of editorial policy would be useful.

  • cherald

    Ben: It's not our policy to do that. You can find our editorial policy by clicking the “Comment policy” link at the bottom of the page.

  • Debra Peters

    Will be people be able to just come to the park and see the pope or is it just through catholic churches.

  • Alangaunt

    I am English, and raised non-conformist. I wear no badge of allegiance to any church or faith as it is the 21st century..
    Regarding being a second class citizen I find this is all rubbish. The general citizens of this country are second class to all others now, the people who say these things are really so far out of touch with the everyman.

  • GFFM

    Patten's comments about Catholics feeling like “second class citizens” is right on target. However, the Pope's visit will not diminish how Catholics are viewed by the cultural elite in Britain. It will transform Britain in ways which will be hidden to public eyes, and it will be historic. But attacks against Catholics will continue and may pick up steam if the bishops actually begin to speak on the “equality laws,” “life issues,” “human sexuality,” “religious freedom,” etc, etc. In the west we have a dearth of leadership from the ecclesiastics, but for the Pope. I have no doubt he will be crystalline in his comments and in his understanding of the religious past of the UK. His clarity and learning makes Nichols, O'Brien and company look pretty weak. Wish I could be there.

  • Mephistophiles

    I concur with Patten's assesment that our reputation is at stake. If he isn't arrested as the harbourer and co-consprirator of pederasts that he is, it will bring shame and humiliation to the decent, rational people of this island.

  • MarkNS

    This should not be a state visit. The pope is the head of church not a real country. The only reason the vatican has its current status is because Mussolini decreed it. I don't think the word of a fascist dictator should determine which countries we recognize.
    The catholic church has a long, well documented history of evil not the least of which is its support for pederasts.
    The pope ought to be arrested the moment he sets foot in the UK.

  • willhelm

    A Tory Catholic, should be keeping his head down at this moment in time. After all, it was a Roman Catholic Priest who slaughtered 9 people in Claudy and the then Conservative government which covered it up. I bet if you ask the victims families, they would say the Catholic church and people, are anything but second class citizens. In fact, I would go as far as to say, they appear to be untouchables in British society these days.

    The people of Glasgow do not want the Pope in our city, we don't want out motorways being used as car parks, we resent a minority of people being treated better than the majority and we certainly don't like the apartheid school system you force upon our children.

  • Mephistophiles
  • Flyerhope

    MarkNS – Then come to the states where we arrest you for slander! Big talkers, these bigots.

  • MarkNS

    Flyerhope: Exactly what in my comment constitutes slander? The defence of fair comment and truth are still recognized in the US I believe.
    I'm a Canadian who is married to an American so I go to the states fairly regularly. I'd happily restate my above position publicly next time I'm in the US. On of the things I respect most about the US is its constitutional protection of free speech despite the crazed rantings of christian fanatics.

  • Father Bob

    More anti-Catholic bias. I live in the US, but every time I vsit the UK, I am treated to prejudice because I am Catholic. The person who wrote this screed has presented no evidence for his screed. Oremus pro Pontifice!

  • MarkNS

    Of course people prejudge you once they find out you are catholic. Having made the choice to be a catholic and follow a misogynistic, authoritarian organization based upon bronze age myths which harbours peadophiles, others are being perfectly reasonable to think you are quite foolish if not depraved.

  • Yve Martin

    I am not surprised to hear what you are saying. As Fr Bob said, it has become an option, even in civil courts, to subject people to judgments without giving adequate reasons. Its even acceptable that judges, in civil courts, will issue perverse decisions if they like with little chance of appeal. I am telling you that without the EU directives, people here would be suffering from more discrimination and all forms of commercial abuses,etc.The culture of this country as manipulated by ruling classes over centuries has learnt to twist the truth and that is why I love this pope because of the way he engages with truth.

  • Robinleslie

    The answer, as you yourself concede, is 'as a practicing Christian'. Go along to one of the Masses, these are not solely for Roman Catholics and 'listen' to what is said during the liturgy, speak to other people who are there. If you find kindness, concern for you, generosity, understanding, then, perhaps, you might deepen your relationship with Jesus and with His Church and with all people, for at our deeper selves there is only Love and nothing else. We are rooted in Love and leave this world with nothing but Love.

    There simply is no other depth of relationship that I know.

  • http://catholic-lovevolution.blogspot.com Paul Jackson

    For an overview of the newspaper coverage from this morning see http://catholic-lovevolution.blogspot.com/2010/09/papals-visit-in-press.html

  • Antonio

    90+ percent of pederasts prefer only victims of their same sex, in other words, 90+ percent of pederasts are gay. The Pope's continuous actions and statements opposing pederast and gay conducts make sense. There are good and bad people everywhere, and it's good to see that bad people inside the church are now falling hard out of the closet. I hope the same occurs in other spheres like politics where usually nothing happens, and nobody gets caught.

    THE POPE BRINGS HOPE

  • Antonio

    Let's not get confused here, religion is about actions, not words like politics (where they just sweeten your ears and keep pumpin' power). The Pope has prooven with actions he is a true cathiloc christian. People can call themselves catholics, but if they slaughter their own children (like in abortion), then they're just posers. You can't be a christian catholic if you don't abby with “thou shall not kill”. Now politicians, they kill when it's convenient, they violate when it's convenient.

  • 5INDIANS

    The “state visit” of the head of the catholic church, The Pope, doesn’t seem to have happened in the way the church would have liked it to.

    What the visit has done is highlight the immense numbers of Pedophile priests in the catholic church. There has been significant media attention to this problem in The United States, Ireland, UK, Mexico, Belgian, France and Germany.

    There are an estimated 400,000 catholic priests worldwide. According to Geoffrey Robertson’s new book The Case of The Pope the percentage of catholic priests that are pedophiles is somewhere between 4% and 9%. That’s a figure of between 16,000 and 36,000 pedophiles in the catholic church.

    Should all governments now co-operate to force the Pope to hand over information it has on Pedophile priests?

  • James

    The Pope has been in charge of that land for hundreds of years before ltaly was a nation. The donation of Pepin