Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We Told You So: Britain Gobsmacked by Pope Benedict
“People’s Pope leaves Britain with a smile on its face.”

While anti-Catholic, secularist and homosexualist activists, with generous help from the media, have spent most of the last year attempting to derail the papal visit, the smart money was always on Benedict XVI taking every fight without breaking a sweat. And when the bell rang, and the eyes of the world were trained on the little island ring, it became clear from the first moment that Benedict’s opponents were hopelessly outclassed.

The pope held Britain spellbound, with the anti-papal rallies and demonstrations as nothing more than “a sideshow to the visit,” with a brief assassination plot scare to show the British “what real religious extremism looks like.”

Journalists tweeting from the plane on the way back to Rome on Sunday reported that there was an “air of celebration among the papal entourage.” They said, “This time they won with the Pope.” After months of hearing the increasingly shrill attacks (as one journalist put it, the devil himself could hardly have had worse press), the British people were ready to hear the other side.

Before the visit was even over, Keith O’Brien, the cardinal archbishop of Edinburgh, had already spoken of the “Benedict bounce,” in which the very harshness of the attacks contributed to the turn-around in public opinion in the pope’s favour.

But it was Benedict’s personal warmth, gentleness, and the sheer rationality and sense of his message, that hit the cynical British media and political establishment right between the eyes. All the talk in Rome today is of how well the BBC handled the commentary, with positive guests and few fumbles, even on fairly obscure Catholic terminology.

And Britain’s tabloid press, not usually known for backing the side of the angels, are left in awe. The News of the World, England’s largest circulation Sunday paper, and one that often acts as a bellwether for genuine public opinion, ran the headline, “Bene’s from heaven” with the subhead, “People’s Pope leaves Britain with a smile on its face.”

The secular atheist liberals and their friends in the media are going to take a long time to get over this visit. Because they thought they were on a winner. They thought they were going to, if not arrest the pope, at least seriously embarrass him.“And this little guy in white just flattened them. His gentle, calm, soft-spoken approach just won everybody over. And the demonstrations faded away.

”And now that Benedict is home, even the hostile media are having difficulty trying to pursue their campaign because “they’ve discovered that the vast majority of people don’t hate the pope, actually, they quite like him. And some of them really love him. Because he’s a lovable guy, and it’s very hard to hate somebody’s lovable grandfather.”

The completeness of Benedict’s triumph in Britain was astonishing to watch. The spell lasted up to the last possible moment, with Prime Minister David Cameron and a large government and ecclesiastical entourage assembled at Birmingham airport to see Benedict off. Among the last shots from the BBC’s live broadcast was of the group of dignitaries and bishops waving to the departing plane, as if seeing off an old friend.

1 comment:

  1. I think of "Thou dost protest too much!" ... Those poor misguided souls who protested and tried to derail our Holy Father from visiting. He not only fulfilled his itinerary, he WON the battle. Praise God!