I read a report of strangely triumphant sentiments issuing from Rome following the pope’s trip to Britain. Since this trip gained mainstream attention, I have heard nothing but negative feedback from people I know in the UK regarding the pope, the trip, and Roman Catholicism in general. (In a sense, it was almost nice to hear people irrationally attacking something other than Islam for a change.) In spite of this general perception (at least for my part) of negativity if not hostility toward the pope, the Vatican is calling the trip a “great success.” Examples of this success are curious.
Benedict’s warning about the dangers of an increasingly secularized society had been received “with profound interest” from Britons as a whole.
And why shouldn’t they be? I’d be profoundly interested to hear from the Vatican that my country had descended into moral degradation. I’d not only be interested; I’d be interested in how he justifies the moral hypocrisy as many citizens of the UK were. (A question quite rightly arises in the mind: what concern of the pope’s is the secularization of England when his church is being rocked by yet another wave of sex abuse scandals.) I would be most interested in how the aggressive atheism in Britain had earned my country the label “third world.”
I’d also be interested in why, for the first time ever, the faithful were charged an entry fee into papal appearances – in addition, of course, to the millions in tax dollars that were spent to accommodate him.
So perhaps “profound interest” is the best way to describe the British response. The Prime Minister said it even better:
[The pope] challenged the whole country to sit up and think, and that can only be a good thing.
The only problem is, that when the country sat up and thought, they didn’t like what they concluded about Catholicism. However the Vatican is measuring success, I cannot imagine how that qualifies.