Thursday, February 19, 2009

Brown meets Pope Benedict

No, not this Fr Brown but our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. We are saying the FSSP Novena (mentioned below) for the Pope this week after Mass so he is in our thoughts. In fact the last words I ever said to bishop Kevin Dunn, the last time I saw him, was to say that every morning I wake up (I`m getting to an age when I am glad I do wake up) I thank God for Pope Benedict.

However the Vatican Information Service has this to say about today`s meeting:

"This morning His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received in audience Gordon Brown, prime minister of the United Kingdom who, along with the other members of his entourage, then met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"The cordial conversations dealt with the present global economic crisis and the duty to pursue initiatives benefiting the less-developed countries, and to foster co-operation on projects of human promotion, respect for the environment and sustainable development. Hope was expressed for a renewed commitment on the part of the international community in settling ongoing conflicts, particularly in the Middle East. Finally, several bilateral themes were brought up, of interest above all for the Catholic community in the United Kingdom".

It is the last bit that interests me. I wonder what the bilateral themes....of interest to the Catholics of the United Kingdom could be? Could the appointment of the new archbishop of Westminster have been a bilateral theme? According to The Times it was. I see Gordon Brown also invited the Pope to visit Britain. That could be interesting. It`s a different world to 1982.


madame evangelista said...

I was talking about Papal visits yesterday, because a colleague who use to work for Glasgow council doing something with trees told me that when JPII visited that city, a Catholic organisation - maybe the local diocese - applied for planning permission to temporarily remove all the trees from a certain avenue, so that people could get a clear view of him! I'm not sure if he was winding me up or not - have you ever heard that?

Fr Michael Brown said...

Madame E I think this may be about the removal of trees in bellahouston park for the 1982 visit. I found this on Wikipedia:

`The Papal visit of John Paul II in June 1982, despite being massively attended, was the cause of some disquiet. The Roman Catholic Church had paid for drainage for some parkland close to Mosspark Boulevard which was prone to flooding, in order to increase the number of worshippers able to attend. Six trees were also removed to improve the view of a partially walled hole that housed the dais where the Pope was to celebrate Mass. However, protesters chained themselves to the trees to prevent this. There was also another protest in the form of Pastor Jack Glass, who stood in a local election for the "Pastor Jack Glass against the Papal visit" political party. There was further disquiet after the event when the church failed to honour its pledge to return the park to its original condition, and a white brick painted wall that accommodated the rear of the stage has been maintained. On the death of John Paul II in April 2005, flowers were laid against the wall.`

One of those who protested with Pastor Jack Glass later became a Catholic after being blessed by the Pope! He became a priest but has gone back to a middle-of-the-road Protestantism the last I heard.

Fr Michael Brown said...

P.S. I thought the trees were removed!

Anonymous said...

It must be the atavistic pagan in me but the thought of felling trees for anyone's visit I find quite repugnant.

If trees were indeed removed I hope the Vatican payed for many more to be planted.

madame evangelista said...

Father, yes that's it, I couldn't remember the name of the place he mentioned but you've reminded me - it WAS bellahouston park. So it really is true!

Old Believer, I don't think they were actually felled, what my colleague said is that trees can sometimes be removed and then re-planted, but they don't always survive, and he wasn't sure whether these ones had. He didn't say it was in the early 80s, but it obviously had an effect because over 25 years later he's still outraged. I don't think he was that impressed with the protesters either though - he said they were only doing it because they were Protestants (lol) rather than tree-lovers.

Anonymous said...

Iam worried. "Bilateral themes of interest to the Catholics of the United Kingdom" - I only hope these themes do NOT include discussing the vacant Westminster job. Gordon Brown's record in picking "talent" for top jobs is not inspiring - Darling, Smith, Blears, Balls, Harperson, Milliband (x2),Jowell, - I could go on, but it would not do to be too cruel.

Anyway, is there any truth in the rumour that the Nuncio discussed Cardinal Hume's appointment with Archbishop Coggan at Lambeth Palace before taking the list of three to Rome, or am I a conspiracy theory nut?

Vernon said...

If His Holiness does grace the UK with his presence, I wonder if the Altar of Westminster Cathedral would be barred to him!