Friday, September 25, 2009

Should the Pope come to Tyneside?

In 1982 Pope John Paul II came to York which of course has great historical significance for the English Church. It was a mid-way point where the Catholics of Yorkshire and the North East could go to share in the papal visit. It would be understandable, given his advanced age, if Pope Benedict makes a shorter visit to these isles. It is said he will visit London and Birmingham ( and maybe Oxford) but I`ve not been keeping up with the latest proposals. However the local Newcastle paper, the Evening Chronicle, had a poll on whether people would like to see the Pope come to Tyneside. When I last looked there was just over 50% in favour and 49% against. The poll seems to have gone but the article is here.

So is there still a virulent No Popery movement in the North East? I`ve never met much of it although I was directed recently to a blog by an Anglican cleric who works a few miles away which is somewhat less than keen on Pope Benedict.

Well it`s all very exciting and gives us something to look forward to. I`m sure many of us will be prepared to travel, even if it means crossing the border into Scotland if that is the nearest the papal visit comes. Roll on 2010!

17 comments:

1569 Rising said...

Father,

Thank you for the link to the blog of Rev (?) Jonathan Hagger of St Francis Church, High Heaton. His blog does a valuable service to the rather wooly minded ecumenical-keen Catholics in our midst. His sheer poisonous vitriol towards the Catholic Church should be noted, indicating that Cranmer's heirs are still alive and well and active in our midst. He is a foul mouthed bitter sectarian of the worst kind. Stick with Rome, folks, you know it makes sense!

Ronan said...

Mad Priest?? If he was REALLY mad, he'd be Catholic! Anyway, are we going to see a blog war?

Fr Michael Brown said...

No plans for war: I don`t think I`d do very well. He is a much more accomplished blogger than I am.

FrankE said...

Why not Wearside?

Augustine said...

The sad thing is that St. Francis' is a nice parish. Shame to see it's going to the dogs now they've lost their vicar.

Fr Michael Brown said...

I can`t pretend to understand Anglicanism but is it named after St Francis of Assisi, the papal loyalist?

Anonymous said...

Benedict might be dead by 2010.

Fr Michael Brown said...

You might be too, Anonymous. Leo XIII lived to be 93. I`m sure the Holy Father has another ten years in him too.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Sorry Frank I said Tyneside as Newcastle is the biggest city in the region. Wearside would be handy too.

FrankE said...

Not quite true, Father.
Newcastle's population is 259,500; whilst Sunderland's is 280,807.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks for the statistics Frank. Newcastle has more of the feel of a regional capital.

1569 Rising said...

Citizens of Sunderland - I dont want to mackem feel inferior in any way, but they only grew in size following the Heathite - Walkerist local government boundary changes of 1974, when Washington New Town was included in the boundaries of the new Sunderland Metropolitan Borough.

So, both Frank E and Fr Brown are correct, depending on their own definition. A truly "liberal" position to be in.

Em said...

All I am going to say about the pope's visit to the UK is that I sincerely hope he has a strong stomach and will not be too shocked by the goings on. Or will people suddenly be on their best behaviour?

Fr Michael Brown said...

1569, thanks for clearing that up. So `Sunderland` is really two towns. Does `Newcastle` include Gateshead?

1569 Rising said...

Father,
No, Gateshead absorbed the UDC's of Felling, Whickham, Blaydon, Ryton and Birtley (from Chester le Street). Newcastle, from memory, absorbed Newburn and Gosforth UDC's.

Gateshead spent many centuries repelling Newcastle's advances. The "Blue Stone" on the old Tyne Bridge marked the boundary.

Ben said...

Bishop Lindsay once told me that he urged Pope John Paul II to visit Lindisfarne, but the schedule didn't allow it. Pope Benedict tends to visit shrines and pilgrimage sites on his apostolic journeys, so perhaps Holy Island should be suggested again.

FrankE said...

If B16 decides to visit Holy Island I think he (or his driver) should be aware of the 'safe crossing times'. It could be rather embarrassing if the Popemobile was to get stranded on the causeway :-)