Arcadian Times



The Papal Visit

Full speeches, videos and pictures of the historic visit can be found at the Papalvisit website.

Monday, September 20th,

Papal visit a success

The country is getting back to normal after the visit of the Pope. The visit it is fair to say was a success and the Pope's visit has given the country as a whole some interesting food for thought. The freedom of opinion and expression that the country prides itself was demonstrated clearly. The organisation and the policing of the visit was exemplary and it has certainly been an extraordinary few days.

Yesterday Cardinal John Henry Newman whose early childhood home was in Ham was Beatified and is now the Blessed John Henry Newman, one step away from Sainthood. An amazing few days and an historical visit that Twickenham will remember for years to come.

Friday, 17th September,

The day the Pope came to visit


Thursday, 16th September,

Cor ad Cor Loquitur

Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the UK today and tomorrow will be visiting St. Mary's College, Twickenham. The preparations for the visit to St. Mary's have started and sound checks and music were heard emanating from the St. Mary's campus on Wednesday afternoon.

The visit to the UK is certainly not without controversy. Questions have been asked whether the visit should be a state visit, the scandal of paedophile priests looms heavily and the humanist and atheist factions of society are vociferous in their opposition. Added to this ticket sales to join the Pope in prayer are lower than expected.

Just to add some more spice to the mix the Pope's senior advisor Cardinal Walter Kasper has described Britain as a third world country and says, "an aggressive new atheism has spread through Britain. If, for example, you wear a cross on British Airways, you are discriminated against." The Catholic Church have of course distanced themselves from these statements that appeared in the German magazine Focus.

Pope Benedict's mission is to reintroduce Christian values into British society and to oppose Britain's perceived emerging secular society. With the current background to the Pope's visit it is is fair to say that he might have his work cut out to achieve this.

This visit in some ways is a defining moment in the country's religious values not just Catholic but perhaps all religious beliefs as well. The Pope will meet with religious leaders and people of religious faith in the Waldegrave Drawing Room and Walpole House tomorrow at Strawberry Hill. He will discuss with them religion and belief in our society.

Certainly the Catholic church should be held accountable to the scandals that are enveloping it but it will be interesting to see how the visit pans out and what attitudes are after the visit. Last night there was a rather balanced and timely documentary on the Pope and the problems the Catholic Church face in the modern age.

We live in a free country where freedom of opinion and worship is a cornerstone of our society. It would be a shame if the values of tolerance and hospitality which surely are the basis of any peaceful belief system give way to intolerance and hostility during the Pope's visit. One thing is for sure, Twickenham will be playing an important role in this historic and not without controversy visit.

Wedenesday, September 8th,

Pope's visit to Twickenham

The Pope's visit to Twickenham which is happening on Friday 17th September will not feature the Popemobile. The visit is a private visit and the audience at St. Mary's are an invited audience only. The local police have sent round a communication explaining of the disruption that might occur on the Thursday and Friday. They make it clear there will not be much to see as the Pope will be whisked in and whisked out of St. Mary's on the day and that they are not expecting crowds in the area.

Wednesday, September 1st,

The month the Pope comes to town

This month sees the visit of the Pope to the area. In Britain perhaps the sheer excitement that this would generate in Catholic European countries or in South American countries is not evident due to the fact that Britain is not a Catholic country. For some in these Catholic countries, the thought of a visit to their home town of the Pope, the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church and God's Ambassador on Earth would be a time of excitement, reverence and sheer excitement. On September 17th, the Borough of Richmond will be visited by Pope Benedict XVI as the Pope comes to St. Mary's College to...

" meet 3,000 young people - schoolchildren, students - to celebrate Catholic education. From there he will then meet with religious leaders and people of religious faith in the Waldegrave Drawing Room. He will discuss with them religion and belief in our society." (From the Papal visit website)

In this Xacobeo year the area that the Pope will visit has the Catholic Church of St James within its bounds in the appropriately named road Pope's Grove. (Named after Alexander Pope). The symbol of St. James, the cockle shell is on the wall of the now vacant St James' independent school in Cross Deep and in this year has special resonance.

St. James Church

The Pope will visit St. Mary's on September 17th, itself the oldest Catholic educational institution in the country.
As part of the Pope's visit to the country he will confirm the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman in Birmingham. Newman's childhood was spent across the river from St. Mary's college at his home in Ham.

Cardinal Newman's childhood home

Whatever one's faith or beliefs are, the historical continuity and tradition of the Pope in western civilisation, the influence that the Vatican has had in shaping World history and still has, the link to the past the present and the future makes this a very historical visit . For the leader of the Catholic church to come to visit is surely the most exciting day the area has known in modern times regardless of whatever one's own beliefs are. This month has a special significance for the area.

Arcadian Times, September, 2010