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Queen welcomes Pope Benedict at Palace of Holyroodhouse

By on Thursday, 16 September 2010

Queen welcomes Pope Benedict at Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Queen this morning welcomed the Pope to the palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, her official residence in Scotland. As the British national anthem was sung, and as a blustery wind blew, the Pope removed his zucchetto (skullcap). The Queen welcomed Pope Benedict and said: “Your holiness, your presence here today reminds us of our common Christian heritage.” She went on to pay tribute to the work of the Church, praising its “special contribution” in working with the poor and its extensive network of schools. She hoped that this state visit by the Holy Father would deepen the ties between the Catholic Church and the Churches of England and of Scotland.

The Pope in his wide-ranging address spoke vigorously of the dangers of atheism and aggressive secularism, quoting a phrase from his encyclical Caritas in veritate, that the exclusion of God leads to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny”. He began his remarks, however, by warmly saluting the Royal family, thanking in particular the Duke of Edinburgh “for his kind welcome to me at Edinburgh Airport”, present and previous Governments and Lord Patten and former Secretary of State Murphy.

He said: “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.”

The Holy Father recalled how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied people’s common humanity – especially the Jews. He also reflected on the Nazi 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. He added: “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’ [a phrase from the encyclical Caritas in Veritate].”

Pope Benedict addressed the British media, saying they had “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”. He expressed the wish that “all Britons continue to live by the values of honesty, respect and fair-mindedness that have won them the esteem and admiration of many”.

Finally he spoke of “aggressive secularism” of the modern age and noted the challenges of Britain’s efforts 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,” he said. “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.” He concluded by saying: “May God bless Your Majesty and all the people of your realm. Thank you.”

The Pope afterwards moved on to a busy reception inside Holyroodhouse.

  • Thomas M.P, Silvassa, India

    I feel sad for these atheists. I was myself an atheist for about 30 years. I am a catholic from India. My ancestors were converted to Christianity by St. Thomas, the apostle.

    I was a strong catholic (without any conviction, but merely because of traditional following) till I was in my late teens.

    Then, when I was in college, in my late teenage, my Hindu friends used to talk to me about my religion and god and we too used to talk about theirs. They used to tell me that my god is a bastard. Do you believe in such possibilities, they used to ask me. (In spite of these remarks we were all natural friends and had no iota of enmity or rivalry among us, we were all sincere friends who cared for one another.)

    During those days I was staying at a place dominated by the communists (as many people know that Kerala is very much under the atheist communists’ influence.) (I want to emphasize that my Hindu friends were atheists as well as theists.)

    Then I started thinking according to my logic. I started thinking about the environment and society and families that were living around me. I said if a person claiming to be son of god and not of my father, was born to my mother, I would in no moment kill him or would do some harsh thing or leave my family for ever. What a torture he would have been to me and the other members of the family and the immediate society we live in! When I would get married and if a bastard of my wife would claim he was son of god!!!! It was beyond me.

    Thinking over it again and again aggravated my stand and it brought out in my mind doubt about the divinity of Christ.

    I thought that many unfortunate events have happened like this in the history of mankind and the offspring were despised by mankind (even though no one has any choice of their birth.)

    And the Bible says Jesus was born this way. And I decided that his close friends wanted to get rid of this bad tag and emulated him as god or son of god merely to save him from such a rejection by society and then the society at large slowly thought him to be god or son of god because of the propagation by his friends.

    Then I read a lot about other religions and I found that this sexual immorality was described in the lives of many people whose lives were described in all those books.

    I finally decided that all religions are justifications of the evil actions of ancient ancestors.

    Again my confusion continued and I thought even if Jesus was Son of God, I will not continue to be a follower of his because such gods should not be emulated and it is better to die an atheist rather than go to these people’s heaven, because god himself is a wrong-doing existence. (Most atheists merely choose to not go there after death because they detest being in the company of that god whom they have realized but don’t want to accept, recognize, approve and emulate.)

    As time passed I got married and my wife is a devout catholic. (We have been married for 18 years and we have two sons ages 17 and 14 as of today.)

    My wife and I never agreed on two things. And worse, one of her elder sisters is a nun who I have presumed to have created a lot of marital discords in our life. There are also priests and some other nuns among her cousins and second-cousins.

    I started spitting and urinating on and desecrating images and what not. Yet during my drunken hours I still sought God and wanted to know the truth.

    Unexpectedly after about thirty years like a thunderbolt the truth was revealed to me when I was in a drunken state.

    This truth, a great theology, which looks more like a heresy than a theology, which God has perhaps never revealed (or revealed but no one, the Popes, the theologians, the bishops, the saints, the doctors of the Church has discussed) changed my life.

    From that day I rejected being an atheist.

    I realized why God chose to be born a bastard. That Christmas of about two thousand years ago was the one we think God chose to be born the poorest of the poor in a manger. This has been the belief of humanity for 2000 or more years. But nay, it was beyond this….. He chose to be born a bastard.

    The greatest love story does not end here.

    Why did He choose to be born a bastard? Do you know the answer?

    I have.

    I will discuss this in these columns these days if God permits.

  • Ruth

    Jesus was not a bastard; he had/has a Father – God Almighty.

  • Peter

    Dear Mr. Thomas,

    Your view of Jesus as b……d, (I do not like to utter that word to our Holiest of Holy God) seems to be not only perverted and totally mis-understood. I would assume that you have not studied the Bible thoroughly. Any one who studied the Bible thoroughly, would never even imagine to use such word to the holiest of Holy God. Where was Jesus before he became man? What did God Almighty Yahweh said when he created Adam & Eve? What is the need for Jesus to take the form of man? . I do not wish to ask you any more questions. If I do you will not be able to answer them. Suffice it to say now.

    I will answer for these three questions. 1) Jesus was already with God along with Holy Ghost. That is why Almighty God said “LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE” WHOM DID ALMIGHTY GOD IS REFERRING TO. HE WAS REFERRING TO JESUS AND HOLY GHOST (answer to 2nd question).

    Answer to the 3rd Question: Almighty God destroyed earth with a great flood during the time of Noah, due to unpardonable sins committed by men – Hence God said (Gen. 6:6) He regretted having created man – for his mind conceives nothing but sin.

    Almighty God was so merciful – He thought of redeeming men – Hence he sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross to redeem me and you. He (God) has to find a woman – to send his son in order to bring salvation to mankind through woman, because it was through a woman the sin came in this world. Therefore, God Sent the Holy Ghost which overshadowed the Mother Mary who was anointed and she conceived Lord Jesus Christ and there was no direct act of relationship (intercourse). There were indeed 4-5 cases of self conceiving by women in this world. Ask Gyneacologists – They will tell you how.

    When such is the case, how can you dare to call the Holiest of Holy Lord Jesus Christ as b…..d. Your reckoning is bad. You better reform yourself and repent and seek forgiveness from God. Peter


  • Lnewington

    “Her Majesty is not amused ” is what comes first to mind when looking at the expression on her face; or maybe it's just that she is wearing tight shoes.