In conversations with smart people I know, we have been thinking over the Papal Visit to Scotland and England. We have been parsing also the news coverage after the event.
Not great analysis. We have seen stories, but not very good analysis. And there is analysis to be had.
But let’s look at The Church Times, the Church of England (that’s Anglican) for some analysis and an upbeat appraisal from an Anglican newspaper.
‘Christ, not self’ is theme as Pope’s visit draws crowds
by Ed Beavan
POPE BENEDICT XVI’s state visit to Britain was an overwhelming success and a positive contribution to his Church’s relations with the Church of England, several senior Anglican clerics said this week.
The Pope, who is 83, visited Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, and Birmingham, in a packed itinerary.
At a press conference before his arrival in Scotland on Thursday of last week, the Pope called on Roman Catholics and Anglicans to be “instruments of Christ” and to “follow together the priority of Christ and not themselves”. [The Pope showed that admirably, especially at Hyde Park.]
The Dean, [of Westminster Abbey] the Very Revd Dr John Hall, spoke afterwards of an “immensely moving” service, and a “genuine respect and extraordinary chemistry” between Pope Benedict and Dr Williams. “What came across was the Pope’s personality: he was very friendly, and showed a very profound respect towards our traditions in the service here.
“He obviously appreciated the music, [After the Sistine Screamers, who wouldn’t?] he was delighted to hear that the tune to the first hymn, ‘Christ is made the sure foundation’, had been written by a former organist Henry Purcell, whom he had heard of. There was an intense prayer in the shrine, and, after that, before he gave the blessing with the Archbishop of Canterbury, he bent over and kissed the altar, and this spontaneous gesture was a potent symbol. [The writer gets how Benedict works.]
“I believe the whole trip surpassed expectations, and its significance was highlighted by the large numbers of people who turned out to see the Pope.”
The Dean believed that the visit would strengthen relations between the RC Church and the C of E.
The President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Alison Tomlin, [Was she the one with the long gray hair?] was among the women ministers who also met the Pope at the Abbey. This was not a token gesture, she said, but highlighted the “breadth of the Christian Church in this country”. She believed that the visit would help ecumenical conversations.
Speaking on Vatican Radio, Dr Williams said that the day had been “enormously happy”, and that the Pope’s reception had been “hugely positive”. Evening prayer had been “intensely moving for everyone who was there”. He dismissed as “preposterous” talk of conflict between the two Communions over Anglicanorum Coetibus.
[NB] Numbers at a demonstration against the Pope in London on Saturday were estimated between 5000 (the police figure) and 15-20,000 (the organisers’ figure). [LOL!]
The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, who was present in Lambeth, Westminster, and Birmingham, said that the visit had gone “extremely well”. There was, he said, “substantial mutual respect and appreciation” between the Pope and Dr Williams. Both leaders had said significant things, particularly about Christian participation in public life.“Both leaders noted there are, as we know, differences between the two Churches, but it seems to me we saw the outstanding progress that has been made in the last 40 or 50 years. Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops intermingled on the Friday, and this was not just in a formal way, but because we value each other as colleagues in the mission of this country.”
The Bishop of Chichester, [If only I could remember that limerick that Msgr. Schuler used to recite. It had a great use of Latin. Apparently this limerickable bishop repeated things thrice… “which is ter“.] Dr John Hind, who had been at Lambeth Palace and Westminster, said that the crowds would not “easily forget the warmth of his [the Pope’s] humanity”. “Pope Benedict seems to have left the UK with a very positive view of our country and its people — even of our weather, although it was touch and go for a while on Sunday morning. Those who have followed the visit will have formed a no-less-positive view of Pope Benedict.”