September 14, 2010

Pope Visit to UK: September 16th


by Brian Turner

Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK this week, the first visit by Pope since Pope John Paul II in 1982, continues to capture a mixture of headlines.

As expected, some Protestant groups are particularly unhappy, with a special delegation from the Free Presbyterian Church of Northern Ireland, lead by Rev. Ian Paisley, flying to Scotland in order to protest the visit.

However, the overall visit is being treated with a general apathy by the British public if media reports from the BBC about low ticket sales are representative.

The overall event has failed to light the fires of interest in the nation, with the visit viewed as a curiosity rather than a state occasion to take note of.

And the general tone of news articles has moved repeatedly between the relevant and irrelevant.

On the one hand, a recent poll suggested the majority of the British public were against public money being used to cover policing costs.

On the other hand, New Statesman magazine highlights it’s favourite potential memorabilia – dictaphone in the shape of the Holy Father named … the Benedictaphone.

Even the BBC is not adverse to picking up the story in its general coverage of the Papal visit.

Which probably underlines the general sense of expectation, or lack of, from the British public.

In the meantime, Pope Benedict XVI’s program of events can be found on the Vatican website here: Apostolic Journey to the United Kingdom – Program (September 16-19, 2010).

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