Father Federico Lombardi: Great Expectations for Popes UK Trip

A. ”“ It is a very rich, intense and articulate program. Of course there is great expectation and excitement in the lead up to the first day, which immediately sees the Pope’s meeting with Her Majesty, the Queen. It is also the day when he will meet with Scotland, which is a very important part of this journey. I would like to remind people that the Pope’s visit to Scotland coincides with the Feast of St. Ninian, who is the patron saint and evangeliser of Scotland. As such it is a very important day for Scottish people. We think it will be a great celebration, a very beautiful moment. Then, I would highlight the Pope’s great address in Westminster Hall, his meeting with civil society, the world of culture, with all the most active and influential members of English society. This certainly will be a closely watched moment. The Pope will address, on a very broad level, the problems facing society in the United Kingdom and in the world today. Then there is the ecumenical dimension, in his meeting with the Anglican Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury: the ecumenical celebration is certainly of great significance. We also know that it is a delicate moment for Anglicanism, because of internal debates. It is also a delicate time in relations with the Catholic Church, because these debates also reflect on the relationship between Anglicans and Catholics. Then, obviously, we come to the culminating moment which takes place in two stages, if you will: the vigil in Hyde Park in London and the Beatification in Birmingham dedicated to the figure of Newman. So with this great figure, who is almost “the spiritual heart of this visit”, the journey ends. We know that the Pope accepted the invitation for this visit because of the occasion of Newman’s Beatification.

Q. – Many have pointed to a special bond between Newman, this great nineteenth century pastor and intellectual and Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI. What are your thoughts?

A. ”“ It’s not unfounded[”¦] because in the person of the Pope, Benedict XVI, we have a profound synthesis between faith and reason, and I would add, even spirituality. There is a connection between living the Christian witness in today’s world, in the modern world, giving all the reasons of Christian faith for those who seek it, giving the reason for our hope in the world today, and displaying a deep faith, a very careful, very great, vibrant spirituality as well as a very broad pastoral sensibility. The figure of Newman is complete, he is a fascinating character because of his depth, not only for his intellectual dimension, but also his cultural and pastoral dimension. His ability to convey the completeness of the cultural commitment to the world of today is captivating. He is certainly the perfect figure to present the dignity of Christian witness as capable of addressing the problems and the biggest questions of modern man, to modern society.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

2 comments on “Father Federico Lombardi: Great Expectations for Popes UK Trip

  1. A Senior Priest says:

    It would be wiser to have no expectations about this visit to the UK. Expectations lead ineluctably to disappointment. It would be wiser to people to see it for what it ought to be… the visit of a reigning Pontiff to one of the religious communities over which he presides. On the other hand, it would be interesting if Pope Benedict were to formally establish an Anglican Rite Ordinariate while he is on English soil? The timing would be absolutely perfect, and he get lots more adherents that way. True, a lot of people he can safely ignore would be unhappy, but the long-long-term benefits would be tangibly greater than the detriments. Wouldn’t that just make Rowan Williams’ day?

  2. Conchúr says:

    No Ordinariate will be established in England until the New Year at the earliest imo. It would be impolitic to erect one during a Papal visit but more importantly given that FiF clergy and congregations will form the majority of membership, nothing dramatic will or can happen until after the FiF National Assembly in October. Things may move quite quickly after that.