Anyone hostile to Pope Benedict who was won over?

I want to enlist all Catholic bloggers in a little project.

I know a lot of Catholic blogs read WDTPRS even if they won’t link or admit it.  I want to reach out to them for a mutual project.

One of the comments posted under another entry, a comment by kradcliffe said:

These are two comments I’ve heard by people I know:

My FIL went with us to the Mass in Glasgow and told me “I fell for him, today. I wasn’t really sure about him, but now I see that he’s a really good man, so humble and you can see he’s very shy and nice.”

And, a Church of Scotland friend of mine said this afternoon:

“I was narked by this visit initially, given what it has done to the traffic flow in central Scotland and the amount it has cost in police time, but what little reportage I have paid attention to suggests that Benedict XVI is a statesman and a highly intelligent man, and may be doing some good here.”

Do you know anyone who was initially hostile to Pope Benedict and who now, after the visit (to England, to the USA, to anywhere) is now won over, or at least open?  It need not have been a visit.  Could it have been from something he did or said?

Share your stories or what your friends are saying.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Emilio III says:

    Take a look at what Paulinus, in his + In Hoc Signo Vinces + blog has under the entry “Hearts and minds”.

  2. anna 6 says:

    Yes! My dear friend, a former Catholic and agnostic, who had zero interest in or tolerance of the church, called me during Benedict’s 2008 Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Her opening words were spoken with incredulity… “I LOVE this pope!” She hasn’t come home yet…but I can see that the Spirit is working on her!
    As for me…he had me at “Seguimi”.

  3. Ceile De says:

    Dare I suggest The Tablet itself? Check out their respectful and positive coverage. Let’s hope it lasts after the visit.

  4. dymh says:

    Yes – my Jesuit parish priest who had felt, at best, neutral about our Pope was extremely moved after the Holy Father’s USA visit. Our priest is a really good man and has become increasingly orthodox since the USA visit.

  5. I wouldn’t dare ask anyone! I’m not afraid to be Catholic but even still, I’m not about to go around asking people what they think of the Pope. With all this carry on about the sex scandals and now the Pope’s visit I wouldn’t be surprised if someone put a rock through our church windows.

  6. PhilipNeri says:

    I think what the Holy Father is doing here in the UK is far more subtle than his Screaming Mimi critics realize. . .and far more dangerous. . .for them.

    The Screaming Mimi’s manage to control the narrative about the Church by consistently portraying the Holy Father as a sort of Murderous Medieval Kaiser dolled up in churchy robes. He is bent on stomping on the necks of enlightened individuals and forcing us all to kiss his pretty red slippers. The more the Holy Father speaks, the less credibility this obvious lie enjoys.

    The Pope has been–has always been!–calm, rational, eloquent, downright professorial, and gentle in his presentations. All of his talks/sermons have been perfectly pitched to his audience. And it is driving the Screaming Mimi’s insane. They are slavering in anticipation of him condemning someone or denouncing some favored idea so they can have some proof that their caricatures are portraits. Instead, he has done what Papa Ratzinger has always done: told the truth in love.

    We need this Pope for another ten or fifteen years! God have mercy on us! Fr. Philip, OP

  7. The Irish media have stepped up the hostility to Pope Benedict, if anything, these past few days in the wake of his British visit. Ian Paisley featuring as the main picture on the Irish Times website on the first day of the Pope’s visit and a consensus on the main Irish television news that Pope Benedict did not in fact apologise for the child abuse (?) despite the British media stating the exact opposite, it makes one wonder…

    On the positive side, the Irish media impression spun beforehand that the visit would be an unmitigated disaster has proven wide of the mark and will hopefully make more people realise that a lot of what is written re catholicism in Ireland is to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    Blessed Newman please pray for us!

  8. PostCatholic says:

    Surprise, I also like your Pope! I think he’s a man of deep integrity between what he believes and how he believes. His quiet good humor and gentility, and his deep intelligence, are evident after a brief encounter with him. That’s sometimes lost by those who hear from media only about the revival of old vestments or the constant babble of his inconsequential mandatory stint in the Hitler-Jugend.

    Now, I still do disagree with a lot of his theology and I am disappointed his contrition over the abuse scandals does not go a bit further into accepting a share of responsibility for the Vatican’s complicity in them. But I am glad people are getting a rounder and more nuanced understanding of the Pope as a result of this visit to the UK; it’s never a good thing to see people one-dimensionally.

  9. Caro_c says:

    A lot of people in Britian, have for the first time, heard the Pope speak for himself. Previously, they have had an interpreter, the secular media.

  10. tecumseh says:

    No 1 Position should go to the Bishops of Scotland, England and Wales…..
    They definitely didn’t want the Pope here, and the didn’t want his Masses to be what they were.
    The Mass at Westminster was as good as you are going to get in a Vatican II obsessed Britain, the Music was tremendous, and the Popes masses were dignified…….

    But the vast majority of British Catholics will return to their parishes and Buffoonery will be the order of the day…..

    And the Bishops will join in with the Buffoonery at Lourdes next year……I’ll be there watching boys…..and having a word, you will not get of scott free, It might not do any good, but you’ll will be told to change your ways..!!!

    The Bishops are having a meeting tomorrow, they’ll be slapping each other on the back at how well it all went… went well because of the dignity of the man, and his dignified masses…..

    Our Bishops and their priests and their “Parish Activists” are buffoons, addicted to buffoonery……until the buffoonery is stamped out , there will be no revival.

  11. Philangelus says:

    A friend of mine who is an actively questioning agnostic apparently read something Pope Benedict said about the praying the scriptures as a living dialogue between the soul and the Almighty, and she said, “I never heard anyone encouraging us to do that before.” She was very impressed, and I wonder now if she isn’t going to try it… Please pray for God to guide her.

  12. SimonDodd says:

    Well, there’s this: Labour MP is so repulsed by “the carping from atheists with an axe to grind and a book to plug” that she wanted to buck them by giving Benedict a welcome and a hearing. The buck starts here!

  13. frdgss says:

    perhaps this is cold comfort for you, but I’m going back to my UK parish where for the last 18 months our new priest has given us a Parish Mass in the Forma Ordinaria: ad orientem; some Gregorian Chant and traditional hymns; mostly vernacular; altar boys only;
    no EMHCs and Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue…and the faithful love it! More to the point, not a peep from the bishop (who would surely have more sense, anyway, as I suspect the Parish Council [and yes, there is one!] would have the face off him if he dared to be awkward). No Buffoonery here!

    I agree though, the sanctuaries at Bellahuston and Cofton were dismal. The obvious concession to the papal MC of a central crucifix and 7th candle looked incongruous without their supporting candles, relegated to the floor.

  14. Stvsmith2009 says:

    I am afraid I don’t know anyone from the U.K. who might have changed their minds regarding Pope Benedict XVI. But, I will tell you, this Catholic blogger reads your blog every day
    , links TO your blog, and furhter has it in my public list of blogs that I follow on all of my blogs pages.

  15. Genna says:

    I’m afraid the UK bishops will be slapping each other on the back at their success, not even realising that it was the compact between the Pope and the faithful which made it so. The wretched hierarchy did their best to downplay the Papal Visit from the start and to discourage the faithful from attending the Masses and events first-hand.
    Not for the first time have the faithful ignored what the bishops say. It should give them a clue, but I fear it won’t.
    There’s none so blind as those who will not see.

  16. TonyLayne says:

    I also link back to this blog as well as include it in my blogroll. But alas, I have no friends in England. I just have to keep my ears open for my American friends and relatives.

  17. Geoffrey says:

    “I’m afraid the UK bishops will be slapping each other on the back at their success… The wretched hierarchy…”

    What a sad and cynical view!

  18. Supertradmum says:


    I am not sure which diocese in which you live, but I got weekly updates on the Pope’s visit from A and B, including volunteer things one could do as well as all the happy things which were planned and happening over the previous months. Father Kieran was behind all the activity, as were most of the priests we talked with over the summer, who were very busy with the visit, indeed.

  19. Supertradmum says:


    I think you must have had a lot of bad experiences, as all the priests I know were behind the visit, and the bishops in the two dioceses with which I am most famil1ar, were very supportive. As to “buffonery”, I am not quite sure whether you mean novelties or what, but nothing I have ever seen in England, outside the college chaplancies, have ever compared to the nonsense I have seen either in North America, including Canada, or South America. The parishes I attended may have had a propensity towards “minimalism”, but for the most part I had respectful pastors. My experience of London parishes was limited (I mean going on a somewhat regular basis over the years) to St. Mary’s Holly Place, Farm Street, St. Etheldreda’s, Westminster Cathedral, and the Brompton Oratory, which was my parish. I saw no “buffonery” at any of those parishes from 1980-1996.

    I also lived in the country, in Sherborne, Petersfield, Haywards Heath…and never saw buffonery. The only place where I was somewhat dismayed at the Liturgy was at the Clifton Cathedral, when I taught at Bristol, but that was mostly because Christopher Wlaker was there at the time, and the Cathedral is so minimalist.

    May God bless you and I am glad you have a wonderful parish. There are many great parishes in England and Wales without nonsense.

  20. Supertradmum says:

    sorry about the mispellings, Walker and familiar-I have really bad carpal tunnel…

  21. I just read DominiSumus’ story… it’s really good, folks.

    Re: the pope’s gentleness — He wasn’t always and everywhere a sweet person. One of his autobiographical works talks about his struggles with his temper, and there are some side mentions that his family members also tended toward having a temper under certain situations. Part of his pre-pope legend was that, really, he could look remarkably torqued off and nasty-stern when annoyed by newspeople with cameras. (I remember seeing video of this happen, when approached in front of his apartment building, because I kept trying desperately to explain to my dad that really, Ratzinger was a good guy!) Realizing that he was bringing ill repute on the Church and the CDF, he worked hard to stop getting angry.

    So let’s appreciate his unfailing good humor in public as the trophy of a hard-fought battle against himself. (And perhaps, try to emulate him.)

  22. Jason says:

    I am of Sicilian descent through both mother and father. I, too, have struggled with temper. Mostly inherited from my mother who could be quite the firebrand when unjustly provoked. With age, prayer, and grace comes temperance.

    I would be disappointed in any Priest who didn’t have a fire ‘under certain situations’.

    The High Priest Himself saw fit to overturn a table or two.

  23. RC2 says:

    One of my readers in Scotland left this comment on a post:
    “[my wife], all her life a fully paid-up member of the Ignorant Heathen wing of the Church of Scotland (but with many exellences as well), was glued to the telly throughout. Utterly transfixed. And then, when his aircraft left the ground, she said she was missing him. And that she’d got used to having him here, and wished he could have stayed some while longer.

    Heart speaks unto heart.”

  24. Mashenka says:

    Most of my friends who are still Episcopalians welcomed the Pope’s visit to Scotland and England, and as an old friend, I commended to them these touching words from Father Dominic, the Passionist priest from whom the “neophytes” at Littlemore received so much pastoral help and encouragement:

    “O men, O Englishmen, hear the voice of Littlemore. Those walls bear testimony that the Catholic is a little more than the Protestant Church, the soul a little more than the body, eternity a little more than the present time. Understand well this little more, and I am sure you will do a little more for your eternal salvation.
    ‘Dominick of the Mother of God,
    Passionist.’ “

  25. Mashenka says:

    The quote above is found in Ward’s Life of Cardinal Newman:

    chapter 3.

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