My friend Fr. Blake of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton has this observation about chaos surround Benedict XVI’s upcoming trip to England.
I tend not to believe in conspiracies but maybe Damian’s suggestion should at least be examined, he is suggesting that the visit is being hi-jacked by a coalition of what Damian terms the "Magic Circle" and Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation, I am not sure about that, in fact I am not sure why The Tablet wasn’t thrown into the mix, now Chris Patten – Tablet board member – has been made Visit-Tsar.
What there does seem to be are an awful lot of people who seem to live in a world that hopes the Pope will be dead soon, and somehow the Church will return to the confusion of the Paul VI era, maybe that is one of the reasons that lays behind not booking either Coventry Airport or Hydepark, I am sure it lies behind the "Can’t we just wait" petition to delay the new English Missal translations.
Rad-trad Frenchmen might see it all as a Masonic conspiracy. That is emotive, but, if that is shorthand for a hodge-podge of people; the secular world, protestant Christians of one sort or another, Catholic laity, priests bishops and cardinals who are pushing Enlightenment views of religious and moral Relativism, it is most probably a pretty fair assumption. The difficulty I have is in believing that there is much more than simple opposition to the Pope that unites them.
The alternative to the Benedictine Project is turning the Church into a sterile desert containing nothing but aging bishops and a vast lay staff, with a few lay people, with a few vague post-Christian beliefs.
I was discussing this issue last night with a priest friend in NYC and made the observation that where Benedict goes he energizes the Catholic base.
Committed English Catholics have endured a lot over the years… er… decades… nay rather, centuries. It occurs to me that, given the controversies building in England and the societal challenges they face, there may be not a few bishops and liberal ecclesial apparatchiks who would not welcome an energized Catholic base urging them to stand up and fight in the public square.