Thursday, October 14, 2010


Now that the Holy Father's trip to Britain is several weeks done it is, perhaps, appropriate to review the trip in its entirety so as to aticipate it fruits. That it will have fruits I have no doubt. As Raymond Arroyo wrote:
In other words, the Pope sees his Anglican “fast pass” into the Catholic Church as the fruit of ecumenism — a chance for Anglicans to return to the faith of their fathers before the Reformation and to protect themselves from an insidious secularism that is plaguing society at large and their communion in particular.

With this understanding, the symbolic and stated message of Pope Benedict during his British sojourn comes into stark relief. His meeting with the Catholic and Anglican bishops at Lambeth Palace, the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury for 800 years (the first 70 Archbishops of Canterbury were Catholics), his visit to Westminster Abbey (built by the Catholic king, Henry III and home to Benedictine monks until the Reformation), his moving speech at Westminster Hall (where Catholic martyrs Thomas More, Edmund Campion, Bishop John Fisher, and others were condemned to death for their refusal to disavow their faith), and finally his beatification of the 19th century Anglican convert to Catholicism, Blessed John Henry Newman suddenly all seems one piece. Benedict’s visit was a stand against relativism in the heart of Europe and a plea for Britain to return to herself — to return to her Catholic roots.
All of the Holy Father's speeches while in the UK, (and the speeches of others at each event) are available here. If you haven't heard or read them you should. He was at once orthodox and ecumenical. He gave away something for the cause of ecumenism, but gave away nothing which in any way was dogmatic or would compromise the Truth of which the Church is the guardian.
John Paul's visits to the United States produced many fruits, not he least of which were the strongly orthodox young priests often known as "John Paul priests." Benedict's visit to the U.S. has resulted in a wave of stronger public defenses of Catholic doctrine by American bishops, some who were not so anxious to speak out in the past.
One can only hope that a similar movement will be seen in Great Britain as a result of the Holy Father's visit.

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