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What has the Pope's visit achieved?

07:38 UK time, Sunday, 19 September 2010

Thousands of people have gathered to witness the Pope's beatification of 19th Century theologian Cardinal John Henry Newman on the final day of his four-day state visit to the UK. What has the state visit achieved?

On leaving, Pope Benedict used his speech to pay tribute to Britain's multicultralism. "The diversity of modern Britain is a challenge," he said. "But it also represents a great opportunity for the enrichment of the entire community."

PM David Cameron, whose father recently died, told the Pope: "When you think of our country, think of it as one that not only cherishes faith, but one that is deeply, but quietly, compassionate.

Pope Benedict has already expressed his "deep sorrow" for the "unspeakable crimes" of child abuse within the Catholic Church.

What difference has the Pope's visit made? Have you attended any of the events? What do you think about Benedict XVI's comments about diversity in the UK? Did he strike the right tone on the abuse of children within the Church?

What does Pope Benedict XVI's UK visit mean to you?

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This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    Nothing except cause more division judging from the comments on HYS.

    The narrow minded attitude of his Church towards many groups in society comes from a bygone age which it is unwilling to give up despite the fact we are living in the 21st century.

    I doubt if he were around today Jesus would agree with the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic faith.

  • Comment number 2.

    He has spread the message of Christ and spoken up for Christianity in the UK. He is right to do so. Christianity has made this country what it is, the establishment in the UK is moving us to a godless atheist society, which in the end if they are successful will bring down cataclysm upon us.

  • Comment number 3.

    Amongst several, positive things - the unjustified banging up of 6 street cleaners from Westminster, at the "top security Paddington Green police station" on the back of what was probably a frivolous conversation overheard by a bye-stander, the consequence of which will be an encouragement to potentially militant Islamists in Algeria (assuming that is where they hailed from) to join the ranks of Al Quaida.

    Well done the Met and MI5!

    That pastor my as well have been allowed to burn his Qorans after all, since the British State will have managed to achieve the same ends through their actions.

  • Comment number 4.

    The visit has drawn attention to the narrow minded bigotry of the Pope.
    With any luck it will hasten the reform or decline of this homphobic, sexist, outdated, oppressive organisation.

  • Comment number 5.

    What's it achieved? Well, I was insulted by being called a Nazi, which is particularly galling considering it came from someone who actually was one and whose organisation turned a blind eye to them. My parents and relatives, many of whom were not religious, gave their lives in some cases to fighting the Nazis so it is particularly upsetting.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well he did preach the need for tolerance ... and then displayed none in his condemnation of women priests and atheists. What have 'extreme atheists' ever harmed, apart from church attendances? On the other hand ... Spanish Inquisition, Crusades, witch-hunts, heretics burned at the stake ... sorry, not seeing it.

  • Comment number 7.

    Nice to see the Pope visit again.

    He wasn't as big as the last guy, the child abuse issue and being a WW2 German wouldn't help his credibility with many.

    You're born with your religion so for most folk there's not a great deal of choice about these things.

  • Comment number 8.

    "What has the Pope's visit achieved?"

    it has distracted us for a full four days from really important issues, such as the aftermath of the floods in Pakistan, the injustice perpetrated on the Roma in France, etc.

    otoh, it has given us an outlet for deeply held, and diametrically opposed, views regarding the role of a major religious cult in a modern society.

    I do regret the vast amount of time given over by the publically financed BBC to parade Mr Ratsinger and broadcast the ceremonial stuff used by this particular (and peculiar!) cult.

  • Comment number 9.

    Absolutely love it. This is the coolest event in the UK I have ever seen.

    It feels like “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.

  • Comment number 10.

    There seems to be panic in the church as their historic power, control and now their jobs are at stake.

    These religious leaders do not do themselves any favours when referring to a secular society as if it has no human morals. They refer to atheists in quite insulting tones whilst trying to cover up for their own immoral undertakings. I think the catholic church and church of England leaders are scrambling to hold on to their jobs.

  • Comment number 11.

    For one who has taken not the slightest interest in this man's parading, his visit has achieved nothing beyond the expense of security and policing that, thanks to Labour, we have no money to pay for.

    He and his entourage might have claimed a little redemption had collection plates been distributed among his brainwashed adorers, and that money used to defray a fraction of the vast bill everyone, believer or not, must pay.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    The BBC's coverage of the Pope's State Visit has been notable only for its near total ignorance of Catholic doctrine and teaching. Anyone who wants to understand what the Pope has REALLY said in the speeches he has made should log onto the blog site What does the Prayer Really Say? by Father John Zuhlsdorf, who explains what is actually being said.

    It is a great pity that the BBC doesn't employ or seem to want to speak to or learn from orthodox Catholics.

  • Comment number 14.

    He managed to reveal how militant atheism is ...Look no further than the comments on this and the previous HYS ....

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Nothing except just shows how the government yet
    Again waste more money on things that a lot of people
    Don’t want.

  • Comment number 18.

    It is the things we haven't been told about concerning Ratzinger's visit that worry me:-
    The details of any new Concodat or other agreement that may have been discussed at the meeting with Cameron, and whether Cameron has agreed to keeping them secret.
    The final true total cost of the visit to the taxpayer, and whether we will ever be allowed to discover what that figure is.

  • Comment number 19.

    What has the Pope's visit achieved?

    For pity sakes BBC, how long do you keep this up, or is next week's HYS going to start with "Are you suffering withdrawal following the Pope's visit"?

    The Pope came and went and the BBC managed to get its knickers in a twist along with a few other idiots, whilst the majority of us didn't even notice.

  • Comment number 20.

    Strange. The timing of the Pope's visit to the queen seems curious just as rumours that Fort Knox has been raided of all of its gold and replaced with tungsten. Is global economic collapse imminent?

  • Comment number 21.

    Not a lot. Extra police overtime. Something for the press to write about. A reminder that certain deeply held catholic views are more out of step with the modern world. As for Luketerr criticism of atheism, as an agnostic I believe we are the most tolerant to the peaceful followers of different religions factions. I am pleased that the Pope was welcomed as a visitor to our country, I hope he enjoyed his vist, and I wish him a safe journey home or to his next port of call.

  • Comment number 22.

    I am not a religious Person, I do not have any particular beliefs, however I have watched quite a lot of Benedicts visit on BBC. I think that his visit was a good thing. To bring all peoples closes in the UK with his message of Peace. What however disturbs me how some of the HYS comments are quite theatening and abusive. I do not like that.

  • Comment number 23.

    The visit has achieved heavy moderation on HYS, released a lot of hateful and hostile comments about the catholic church and religion. Hopefully a future papal visit will take place when the UK media is less manipulated by certain interest groups.

  • Comment number 24.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 25.


    The Pope has illustrated the dangers of rampent secularism in society and done well to warn of the consequences of a Godless society, as without God, an objective moral guide and source, there is no point of reference or standard by which to judge or establish law and order.

    In a secular society justice, morality, reason and ethics gradually are eroded by the belief system of moral relativity in which essentially anything goes as everything is a cosmic and chemical accident.

    We see the effects of this erosion of objective moral standards now as society becomes increasingly lawless, disrespectful, and chaotic.

    God is the highest objective holiness and decency, but when humanity turns their back on God, gradually the values of integrity and morality which come from the God given conscience begin also to slip away.

    The Pope has also served to highlight the secular bias of the media as it is very rare to see any people of faith on TV these days. He has also highlighted the great number of people of faith in this country and the demonstration of their faith in Edinburgh through to birmingham has brought me great interest and joy.


  • Comment number 26.

    So Cardinal Newman (even though he'd been dead for 111 years) cured somebody's bad back. Let's see him do something really spectacular like restore someone's missing leg. That would be impressive.

  • Comment number 27.

    If there were no God, it would have been necessary to invent him.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think the visit of the Pope has shown the world the good, the bad and the ugly of this country. As for aggressive secularism/atheism I think the march yesterday led by Tatchell has exposed its agenda and will serve to bring people of all faiths closer together.

  • Comment number 29.

    The Pope told the British parliament that they should base their policies on the teachings of the Roman Catholic church. President Khaddafy of Libya said Europe should be islamised. I would wish neither.

    By contrast, the last Pope made an official visit to the Dutch Catholic Church in 1985, but the protestant queen and the government would never grant Him a state visit.

  • Comment number 30.

    Before he came to Britain I was totally indifferent to him and his peculiar belief system. But since the insults from him and his cronies about Britain and secularity I now find him and cronies utterly loathsome.

    In addition, as a direct result of the media publicity I am now better informed about the atrocities of the Catholic Church and find it difficult to understand how this man was ever invited to Britain on a state visit and at such cost.

  • Comment number 31.

    Although I am not catholic, I do appreciate and study the Bible and it has been really good and interesting to watch the coverage of the pope over the last few days on the BBC. I am glad they did it.

    Theologically I think the catholic church has introduced some unbiblical doctrine, but to see others out en-mass demonstrating their faith in Christ and God has been a good faith builder, it is rare to see on secular tv as usually it is taken up with....other things...

  • Comment number 32.

    ATNotts - by god you talk some rubbish!

    of course the police and security services have to detain suspected criminals/terrorists - and if it was a result of frivolous comments they made then more stupid them

    hope they had valid work permits etc?

    as for their arrest encouraging AQ in Algeria etc - 'they' don't need any encouragement to carry out acts of terror

    once again - slight a Muslim and terror is threatened by your argument?

  • Comment number 33.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 34.

    I cannot see his visit has achieved anything except expense in a cash strapped world. We do not need a middle man to pray to god.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think that the Pope's visit (like most topics on the Have Your Say site) has really polarized opinion. The visit will have strengthened the faith of many Catholics in this country, a faith that can guide people through difficult times, I have seen this in action and would never want to take it away from people who really need it, especially in times of dire stress or personal tragedy.
    Personally, I am very wary or a organisation or belief system that says 'we already have the profound answers to mankinds existence....here they are, set in stone and you must follow this set of rules or there is a possibility that you will go to 'hell'. Guilt and redemption from guilt being a very powerful controlling factor on the human mind!
    This to me seems to run contrary to the evolving scientific method and contrary to the know facts of recorded history. add to this that the Catholics burned witches, burned scientists for saying the world was round and retarted the growth of European civilisation for 1000+ years and has been alledgedly implicated in everything from child abuse to organised crime (see Paul Marcinkus and 'you can't run a church on Hail Mary's)then it is not surprising that so many people are angry at the visit and the 'moral bankruptcy of such faiths.
    It is just a shame that so many people dismiss religion out of hand without realising the sacred inner core of all faiths which teaches that we are all from the same tree and are remarkably similar for this reason!!

  • Comment number 36.

    I think that the Pope's idea that we should abolish Christmas is a good one that we should follow up.

    In Scotland, New Years day was traditionally celebrated more than Christmas and nowadays it is rather silly to have two big celebrations so close together.

    I suggest that there should be four official holidays each year, linked to the two solstices and the two equinoxes. They are equally spaced, observable astronomical events, not mythical and highly unlikely events like the nativity, and not linked to any modern religion.

    Our pagan ancestors would probably have approved. They too thought that observable astronomical events should be celebrated. They did so, until the Catholic church recognised Britain as a business opportunity and persuaded local chiefs than Christian bishops would help them control their unruly subjects.

  • Comment number 37.

    For me personally, not being religious, the visit has achieved very little, except something different to watch. The trouble is that this has highlighted the (in the main - though definitely not Hugh, not sure of his surname, who covers all such events very well indeed) extremely poor reporting staff that the BBC has employed to cover the events - reporters that often showed a complete ignorance of what they were actually reporting on.

    However, for the thousands, perhaps millions, of Catholics in this country the visit will have brought joy and hope. It's also provided a platform for the, in my opinion undeserved, vitriol of some atheists.

    I don't think the visit has solved any of the problems that the secular world has with the Catholic Church (child abuse, sex discrimination, homophobia etc)- these are things that can only be resolved by engaging in dialogue with the Church, not ridiculing the faithful, but I do think that the Pope's expression of deep sorrow, and the use of the word "crimes" in his homily yesterday morning have at least hopefully begun a journey on the right road.

  • Comment number 38.

    "What has the Pope's visit achieved?"

    It has re-inforced my long-held belief that religion of any description is deeply unpleasant on many levels. It's just a panacea for the gullible without minds of their own.

  • Comment number 39.

    Some posters have mentioned the out-dated homophobic, sexist, racist, bigotry of the pope as leader of the catholic church?

    I think you will find that there are other religions/cults out there operating in the same way - but catholics, nor the pope has recently KILLED anyone for not complying with dictacts under the guise of 'religious law'?

    We can all say what we choose to on this site about the catholic church and the pope - but strangely there are no protests/flag or effigy burnings? Hmm. Curious, don't you think?

  • Comment number 40.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    The major benefit from Ratzinger's sojourn to dear old Blighty was that it brought home with a force the fact that the secularists are the true voice of the silent majority in this country.

    I was on the Protest the Pope march yesterday and was amazed by the diversity of people. This was not your usual rent-a-mob, but a very wide mix of people from all backgrounds, including religious ones.

    Each group marching had a particular beef with this man. However all were agreed that this should not have been a state visit. £12 million? Lets try doubling that shall we and then we might get a teensy-weensy bit closer to the real cost. And for every pound the government spent, the BBC matched it with fawning coverage. How come one man's 4 day visit to the UK needs FOUR HUNDRED journalists?

    But, if there is one thing that must come out of this visit it is that we must NEVER AGAIN - EVER pay for a visit to this country by a religious leader. He's saying goodbye to us today, and I would add to that, the sentiment GOOD RIDDANCE!

  • Comment number 43.


    The Pope has brought to the public's attention the secularisation of the UK and it's damaging effects.

    The conscience defines right and wrong, law, morality and conscience and reason and is from God and opposes the animal instincts.

    When you remove the source of the conscience from public awareness and society then gradually that society starts to flounder morally and socially. We can see this in the recent years as the introduction of new legislation has overturned long held moral laws.

    When fear and reverence for God is diminished then a culture stops respecting each other and starts abusing.

    Children are no longer being taught morals, values, prayer, faith in God, living in holiness and ethics. They are being taught irreverence of intercourse, family through the media and education system and this is bound to have an increasing effect on society and we see it.

    secularism and materialism really leads to misery and nihilism. There is no meaning, value or substance to a godless worldview, everything is a relative accident of chemicals. There is no basis for judging right or wrong, no basis or gauge to determine truth or falsehood. The ability to distinguish right, good and truth has no basis in the jungle of nature and is really an attribute of God, but when God is ignored then it becomes meaningless.

    Without objective morality and an objective source to life there is no meaning or purpose. This is why secularism is leading to millions on medication for mental issues, there can be no lasting peace in the notion of moral relativity and blind materialism





  • Comment number 44.

    At 11:42am on 19 Sep 2010, GoldFiligree wrote:
    The Pope has illustrated the dangers of rampent secularism in society and done well to warn of the consequences of a Godless society, as without God, an objective moral guide and source, there is no point of reference or standard by which to judge or establish law and order.
    In a secular society justice, morality, reason and ethics gradually are eroded by the belief system of moral relativity in which essentially anything goes as everything is a cosmic and chemical accident.
    We see the effects of this erosion of objective moral standards now as society becomes increasingly lawless, disrespectful, and chaotic.
    God is the highest objective holiness and decency, but when humanity turns their back on God, gradually the values of integrity and morality which come from the God given conscience begin also to slip away.
    The Pope has also served to highlight the secular bias of the media as it is very rare to see any people of faith on TV these days. He has also highlighted the great number of people of faith in this country and the demonstration of their faith in Edinburgh through to birmingham has brought me great interest and joy.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Are you seriously suggesting we should all take moral guidance from the pope? What a wonderfully homophobic, sexist, bigoted, intollerant, child molesting world it would be.
    And are you really suggesting the media has a secular bias when the BBC News Channel has become BBC Pope 24 for the last four days?

  • Comment number 45.

    I find it of the utmost irony that the Christians are playing the victim for a change. I for one, am overjoyed with the Pope's visit, because it is now in public discussion whether we need religion in modern society and could burst with pride that the overwhelming answer by the vast majority in the UK is 'No'.

    I will never criticise people's beliefs, whether they choose god or allah or the flying spaghetti monster or the abnormally large spider in the shed. For me its all on the same par. What irks me is the christian fundamental belief that the opinions of those outside of the remit of their particular imaginary friend of choice don't have any value. Even worse, that they think they are superior to everyone else.

  • Comment number 46.

    For me absolutely nothing but I'm sure the deluded believers were glad to see him. I'd rather the money wasted on his visit was spent on British troops.

  • Comment number 47.

    Rome was an Empire. Rome sought tribute (money) from its Empire. Constantine who made Christianity Rome's state religion wanted tribute. The Roman Catholic Church wants tribute. That is why the Pope (Emperor)
    is here. No other reason - money. He sees attendances declining so less
    tribute flowing back to Rome. He sees Catholicism being marginalised eg Rome's anti-gay adoption agencies being denied UK income. An increasingly educated populace sees Christianity as near nonsense. They are not paying Rome's tribute. To see the Pope's visit as anything other than an attempt to buttress tribute to Rome is to deny the reality of what the Roman Catholic is all about. Henry VIII'th was right to halt this tribute. Rome is just trying to take our money. Wake up guys!

  • Comment number 48.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 49.

    Total domination of the BBC. Haven't been able to switch on the news channel for 4 days without being confronted by the Pope. As a non-believer I'm quite happy for anyone anywhere to believe whatever they want as long as they don't keep ramming it down others throats. After 4 days of incessant coverage I, personally, am all 'Poped' out. Please BBC learn how to moderate your coverage and remember that the news channel is there to cover all news and not just one item until we are sick of it. It isn't just the Pope you do it for everything, eg the Cumbria Killings etc. Just droning on about one subject for days is not news.

  • Comment number 50.


    Jesus did not go into details about condemning every exact misconduct because He had already given the law in the OT through the Spirit of God which he was the incarnation of.

    IN jewish society certain acts were known to be abhorrent and wrong (and still are), Jesus did not need to reiterate this. God is Holy and so is Jesus, Jesus did not go to gentile/pagan towns because of such ignorance about what was misconduct and what was right and wrong. One gentile woman who sought healing for her child was called a symbolic dog by Jesus for being a gentile before he healed her child.

    The true Jesus was quite different from the newage version. He was and is Loving and merciful, but there is also a very really need for us to repent and recognise misconduct and wrong doing and not to violate the natural design and order or condone it as right when it is not.

    The gentiles or pagans of the time were worshipping many false semi physical deities, gods and goddesses (which are really a symbol of self worship) and practiced all kinds of misconduct and violations of the natural order and design. Jesus did not go to them because they would not have received him and would have stoned him for telling them to repent.
    Even Gods own people the jews stoned the prophets Gods sent them because man does not like to humble himself recognise his wrongdoing and change from sin.

    In a modern secular culture it is popular to accept things that are wrong and to condemn and be irreverent towards that which is right, good and Holy.

    Secularism, or godlessness is not new, it has been around in cultures for all time, it always leads to moral and social chaos though as there is no guiding objective standard or force.

  • Comment number 51.

    I don`t really see the problem with his visit. Every year the British tax payer hands over MILLIONS to keep the Queen who is after all the head of the Protestant Church. The royal family has been robbing us blind for generations, oppressing the British people and generally making us a laughing stock to the world. Burn the monarchy then you can do what you like with the People - but let`s start at home.

  • Comment number 52.

    26. At 11:42am on 19 Sep 2010, wwinstonsmith wrote:
    So Cardinal Newman (even though he'd been dead for 111 years) cured somebody's bad back. Let's see him do something really spectacular like restore someone's missing leg. That would be impressive.
    .............

    On that score most of the NHS doctors & nurses should be beatified next week...will popey be doing a mass job?

  • Comment number 53.

    13. At 11:17am on 19 Sep 2010, Andais wrote:

    The BBC's coverage of the Pope's State Visit has been notable only for its near total ignorance of Catholic doctrine and teaching. Anyone who wants to understand what the Pope has REALLY said in the speeches he has made should log onto the blog site What does the Prayer Really Say? by Father John Zuhlsdorf, who explains what is actually being said.

    It is a great pity that the BBC doesn't employ or seem to want to speak to or learn from orthodox Catholics.

    If what the Pope had to say has to be explained and interpreted by one of his minions why did he not let Fr Zulsdorf say it in plain language in the first place?

  • Comment number 54.

    What has the Pope's visit achieved? For me, not much. Mind you, it has served to remind me of Tom Lehrer's brilliant 'Vatican Rag', one verse of which goes something like:

    Get in line in that processional,
    Step into that small confessional,
    There, the guy who's got religion'll
    Tell you if your sin's original.
    If it is, try playin' it safer,
    Drink the wine and chew the wafer,
    Two, four, six, eight,
    Time to transubstantiate!

  • Comment number 55.

    Gosh: so much hate against religion, so much blame, so much whinging re the cost. So many bitter 'atheist liberals'. I find them and their angst and bitterness rather sad.

    I am not Catholic, but I do respect the Pope and his core message: love one another; treat one another as one would be treated; be able to forgive. If God comforts, so be it. You are lucky to have your faith as a source of comfort.

    It's not for others to dismiss your views; they are illiberal themselves. I do not respect the bitterness or cheap jibes re cost etc. Such comments say more about those making them than anything else. I feel genuinely sorry for such people and hope that at some point they can find within themselves to move on. And up.

    People should be able to differentiate between what an institution stands for, even if the institution itself acts utterly wrongly on occasion. Thus child abuse and its hiding is an abomination; but that does not mean the Church and its message itself are wrong.

    God loves us all: even those who hate.

  • Comment number 56.

    39. At 11:56am on 19 Sep 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    Some posters have mentioned the out-dated homophobic, sexist, racist, bigotry of the pope as leader of the catholic church?

    I think you will find that there are other religions/cults out there operating in the same way - but catholics, nor the pope has recently KILLED anyone for not complying with dictacts under the guise of 'religious law'?

    We can all say what we choose to on this site about the catholic church and the pope - but strangely there are no protests/flag or effigy burnings? Hmm. Curious, don't you think?

    ....

    Errrr he's just condemned millions of kids to a life time - some very short lives, of misery through his mindless objection to contraception!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 57.

    From the coverage I have seen, it is apparent that his visit has been a huge PR disaster for the Catholic Church which has only served to highlight how their attitudes and beliefs particular in respect of human rights, contraception, equality, LGBT and stem cell research are at odds with the civilised world. This is quite apart from the spotlight it has cast on the sexual abuses of the priesthood.

    Importantly, it is interesting to note how the Pope is clearly rattled by the rapid decline of interest in his religion and how he sees secularity as the enemy of his Church. History tells us of course that belief systems come and go and perhaps all we are witnessing is the decline of Catholicism.

  • Comment number 58.

    Nothing.

  • Comment number 59.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 60.

    For me personally it meant nothing since I do not have a religion, but if it helped catholics, I have no problem with that since I do not have issues with his visit.


    If only Islam had a 'pope' there might br less radical elements within it, since every islamic preacher interpets the Koran their own way, and there is no central authority to set the rules and boundaries.


    As to the scandals sorrounding the catholic church, they are matter for investigators, police and courts, not trial by internet, that is why I leave them alone.


    This pope is not responsible for the actions of the catholic church centuries ago, any more than the present Queen is responsible for the atrocities carried out in India or Ireland or eleswhere in the former British empire under previous monarchs.

    I have no doubt there will be multiple posting on this thread, like the previous one from people trying to prove just how meaningless the pope's visit has been to them, wait and see.

  • Comment number 61.

    So, a man suffers back pain, rests for a bit and the pain is relieved. It's a miracle! Back pain returns, ok, a temporary miracle so he has an operation and the pain is relieved. A miracle! I just realised, I have experienced the same miracles, and I didn't even have to pray.

    As for 'aggressive secularism', who thought up that meaningless soundbite. This country has been secular for as long as I can remember. That means freedom of religion and more importantly, freedom from religion. And equality before the law, even for priests.

    But this pope has made it clear he wants to see an end to secularism and the re-establishment of religious dictatorship. That make him a threat to our way of life.

  • Comment number 62.

    He visted St Mary's College in Twickenham where I did a PGCE in the mid 1980s. Brought back lots of memories. I wonder if the Pope stopped off at the 'Pope's Grotto' pub for a pint?

    It would have appropriate, I guess.

  • Comment number 63.

    GoldFiligree #50.

    "Jesus did not ... The true Jesus was quite different from the newage version. He was and is Loving and merciful.."

    you talk as if you'd actually met this 'Jesus' person. (at least John Lennon existed!!)

  • Comment number 64.

    State visit my bottom.
    The vatican is a tinpot little dictatorship created solely for the benefit of the Catholic church, its only exports are fear, discrimination and the spread of disease and HIV/AIDS because of its outdated views on contraception.

    Once again our politcians have wasted a vast fortune on something we the people did not want.
    The sooner we become a secular state the better.

  • Comment number 65.

    bluntjeremy #55.

    "I am not Catholic, but I do respect the Pope and his core message.."

    and I could never respect anyone who preaches 'do as I say' but doesn't live up to it.

  • Comment number 66.

    38. At 11:55am on 19 Sep 2010, Mrs Vee wrote:
    "What has the Pope's visit achieved?"

    It has re-inforced my long-held belief that religion of any description is deeply unpleasant on many levels. It's just a panacea for the gullible without minds of their own.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The problem with Atheists is that they seem to have totally closed minds. One needs to be open to the truth in order to find the truth.

  • Comment number 67.

    Very little will be achieved unless the pope puts action where his mouth is. It is one thing to say how sorry you are for the vile abuse of young people at the hands of Catholic priests. It is quite another to root out those who committed those crimes rather than allow them to remain hidden.

    As far as I am concerned the RC church remains guilty of conspiracy to obstruct the course of justice until they go through their records and unearth every paedophile priest who was ever actively so.

  • Comment number 68.

    I'm very annoyed that BBC has given so much coverage to this. The news channel is permanently viewing his progress around the country like some kind of cheerful proud occasion.

    Well it's not, and not enough emphasis has been put on the ill feeling people have about spending millions of pounds of our money on this visit while the government continue to take jobs away from us. How is that democratic?

    But most importantly, lets not forget that this man protected a pedophile while other churches abused young children.

    I find everything about this disgusting and shame on the BBC for their coverage.

  • Comment number 69.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 70.

    I am surprised the police didn't question him while they could. Or is Christianity above the law?

  • Comment number 71.

    The Papal visit has achieved nothing other than showing how many deluded people gather to see this man who, after saying sorry for the child abuse situation, still refuses to hand over the guilty to the police. The fact that people are cheering him sickens me. If ANYONE else in society refused to hand over the information to the police they would not only be chastised by the public but could face criminal charges for perverting the course of justice by refusing to assist in a police investigation.

    If the Catholic Church is to survive, it needs to get into the 21st century very quickly. At present, it is an archaic organistion that does not work in the modern world and the refusal to allow use of contraception in this age is plain stupidity when the number of sexually transmitted infections is at a high.

  • Comment number 72.

    It has only shown that there are many within us that would rather be under the Popes domination than to live in our society and they yearn for the by-gone days that they could burn the rest of us as heretics.

    It also shows the lack of understanding and recognition of the general populace to this person and his churches, and followers, hatred of all things Britsh. We should not forget that his church has over the centuries systematically tried to exterminate us and our way of life and beliefs.

    To have him here was an abonimation and insult to our history.

  • Comment number 73.

    Mr Ratzinger's visit has exposed a total lack of editorial rigour and discipline in the BBC. He's the head of a minority cult: a fourth-ranking news story at most. The acritical and blanket coverage, has, as other posters have observed, meant that real news has not been covered. It's increasingly clear that the News of the World, 'phone hacking, and complicity between News International, the Metropolitan Police, and British Governments, along with the way that NI presumes to influence policy, and exist outside the law, is far more nationally important a story. But it's receiving no airplay.

  • Comment number 74.

    51. At 12:16pm on 19 Sep 2010, nick wrote:
    I don`t really see the problem with his visit. Every year the British tax payer hands over MILLIONS to keep the Queen who is after all the head of the Protestant Church. The royal family has been robbing us blind for generations, oppressing the British people and generally making us a laughing stock to the world. Burn the monarchy then you can do what you like with the People - but let`s start at home.

    ------------------

    We don't want your taxes please leave at your earliest convenience. Laughing stock? Look within.

  • Comment number 75.

    Comment 54 MR Tony 45:

    The full Vatican Rag goes like this:-

    First you get down on your knees
    Fiddle with your rosaries
    Bow your head with great respect
    And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect


    Do whatever steps you want if
    You have cleared them with the Pontiff
    Everybody say his own kyrie eleison
    Doin' the Vatican Rag


    Get in line in that processional
    Step into that small confessional
    There, the guy who's got religion'll
    Tell you if your sin's original


    If it is, try playin' it safer
    Drink the wine and chew the wafer
    Two, four, six, eight
    Time to transubstantiate


    So get down upon your knees
    Fiddle with your rosaries
    Bow your head with great respect
    And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect


    Make a cross on your abdomen
    When in Rome do like a Roman
    Ave Maria, gee it's good to see ya
    Gettin' ecstatic an' sorta dramatic an'
    Doin' the Vatican RC rag.

    Come on folk! Surely you can add a verse or two to this.

  • Comment number 76.

    Those of us in the fashion business have been excited by the quality of the Pope's various gowns, and Gammarelli (the manufacturers) seems to have come up with some more up-to-date versions of the traditional designs and emblems, in wonderfully vibrant colours.

    I was particularly excited to see him in mirrored Gucci sunglasses and there can be absolutely no doubt that his choice of gowns will influence my fellow fashion designers as we work on our Spring collections for next year.

    This Pope may be a religious leader, but his gorgeous array of clerical outfits will assure that these Catholic clergy will be remembered just as much for their cutting edge style as for the terrible child abuse that otherwise would have dominated the headlines.

  • Comment number 77.

    Nothing will change as a result of this visit. It's obvious that the pope and his church are engaged in a damage limitation exercise on child abuse. They will do the absolute minimum to achieve this. Don't forget this is the most conservative - reactionary would not be too strong a term - organisation in the world. He is a complete dinosaur on issues like women priests and married priests and has the view that morality depends on religion even though centuries of philosophical thought demonstrate the falsehood in this view. The real issue is: when will the RC church choose a pope who lives in the same century as his flock not one rooted in medieval superstition?

  • Comment number 78.

    Aside from the vast expense for the Pope's visit at a time when so many are living through hard economic times, I am puzzled that so many of the devotees of the Catholic faith have not made their voices of protest heard in their millions, especially concerning the abuse of so many innocent children worldwide.

    Reading history one only has to see the background of the Catholic Church at a very high level the wealth and power which eminates from the Vatican. This seems to be a total contradiction of Jesus's teachings.

    Jesus also displayed by his deeds, love, tolerance, compassion and humility, especially for children. Why has it taken so many years for these now men and women to receive justice? Even still the records of the Vatican have not been open to the authorities and whilst the Pope has apologised without action I feel that his words of apology are empty.

    I am sure if the full truth were to be exposed the Church would be rocked to its foundations. So many innocent young lives were destroyed at the expense of keeping this abhorrent scandal secret for so long.

    There was a time, even as a non Catholic I had respect for the office of the Pope but in the last years or so, this has disappeared. Until the Church displays by action a regard for those damaged by the revelations and a less 'political attitude' towards the Church itself my opinion will not change.

    From research about Cardinal Newman I would guess and it is only a guess that he would find the present situation totally unacceptable and more than likely say so.

    From such an exalted 'throne' it must be very difficult to see the true realities of modern life, the poverty and heartbreak which seems to touch the lives of us lesser mortals. How can the Pope and his Bishops, surrounded by such wealth and power, comprehend the poverty of a family with 6 or more children living in dire squalor. The distance is too great but those priests residing amongst these people have a greater understanding and to their credit attempt to alleviate the suffering.

    It is highly probable, that secularism has increased due to the Church's total lack of understanding of the lives of so many. The hardline now being expoused by the Vatican on a number of issues, will undoubtedly increase the numbers of those who no longer wish to attend any type of religious service. However, they may still wish to live their lives in a manner devoted to truth, justice, tolerance and compassion. There could be hope for humanity yet......

  • Comment number 79.

    2.

    I agreee the establishment of Britain will bring the country down because the establishement represent purely the interests of the Rich and Christ condemned the Rich warning them that they 'will not enter the kindom of heaven'

    Our society is based upon getting, taking, selfishness, aggressive individualism....all contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

    But I disagree the Pope has spread the message of Christ. Jesus was NOT a christain and there is NOTHING in his teachings suggesting he wanted a new faith. He was anti-establishment himself because the establishment created an 'us and them' society just as we have the same today. Jesus said those who were like him, the humble, the poor, the lame, the sick the oppressed, those who were like children were in his name.

    If christ came back there is little doubt he would attack the establishment and that includes the established church whose silence on this sickening greed that has ruined things and led to a witchunt on the poor, he Jesus would certainly condemn.

    You cant serve God and Mamon so Christ will certainly bring down the Capitalist system which is way overdue for British-American style capitalism with its handing of more to the Rich and taking from the poor is surely part of the Antichrist. We in the West need to be looking in the mirror and stop pointing the finger. Millions are jobless, homeless, poor, sick and have been marginalised by a system much the same as the system they had in Judea and the Gallilee.

    This is why Christ did not condemn Rome though almost certainly oppossed what it stood for but condmned the injustice of the system in Israel that created an 'us and them' society and led to the poor being marginalised.

    'how can Satan drive out Satan' he said. How can we in the West condemn militant Islam when we ourselves have a government that is fundamentalist ideolgocially driven style of Capitalism viciously attacking the sick and poor and ignoring the gluttony of the Rich over the last few decades'?

    The message of Christ was simple, be humble, love one another, show compassion to those who beg and are poor give to them generously. Promote justice and peace at home and abroad and be like children. Love Gods earth and its creatures that have existed long before man, reject greed and averice.

    LOVE, PEACE AND JUSTICE IS THE ONLY WAY A HUMAN SOUL WILL ENTER HEAVEN.

    HOW FALLEN IS OUR WICKED CAPITALIST SYSTEM TODAY...NOT UNLIKE WHAT THEY HAD IN THE TIME OF JESUS. BROKEN SOCIETY...GREED AND INJUSTICE HAS DONE THAT.

    WEALTH CREATION IS GOOD IF IT GIVES TO THE POOR, EVIL IF IT TAKES FROM THEM.

  • Comment number 80.

    14. At 11:17am on 19 Sep 2010, Luketerr wrote:
    He managed to reveal how militant atheism is ...Look no further than the comments on this and the previous HYS ....
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If this is the extent "militant atheism" gets (expressing their opinions on an open forum and daring to question your blind faith) then it is a much better option than any religion where their "militants" murder innocents for having a different imaginary friend.

    As for the popes visit? Nothing much. As our society moves towards a more rational fairer society and away from middle aged bigotry, homophobia and sexism, his visit will soon be forgotten.

  • Comment number 81.

    It's achieved a very clear drawing of the battle lines.

    And we will not back down, as we will never accept a theocracy.

  • Comment number 82.

    Those who believe will continue to do so. Those who do not, will not. There will continue to be conflict attributed to religion between those who need such an excuse to fight each other and life will go on as before. My opinion of religion, politics and those who would seek to represent it on the world stage remains as it was before; a mixture of contempt for how it is and sadness at how, with more honesty it could, but will never, be.

  • Comment number 83.

    To me it's really shown how bias and out of touch with the people the the BBC really is.

  • Comment number 84.

    I hope it will create a reasonable dialogue among Britons as to the constructive role faith plays in society. I'm in America, but my wife is from Glasgow. Glasgow's city motto originally was "Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of His word and the praising of His name." This has been shortened to just "Let Glasgow flourish." We were in Glasgow at Christmas last year and I was thrilled to see George Square decked out complete with a creche. I think their is a real resistance in Scotland to secularism that isn't as strong in England. I don't believe it was an accident that the Pope started his UK visit in Edinburgh.

  • Comment number 85.

    57. At 12:27pm on 19 Sep 2010, JollyRanter wrote:
    "This is quite apart from the spotlight it has cast on the sexual abuses of the priesthood."

    So, the priests were sexually abused as well as the children? Blimey!

    Knownought

  • Comment number 86.

    The Pope's visit has achieved absolutely nothing for me personally, not being of religiou persuasion, but my main concern is that, as usual, the BBC has gone completely over the top with it's coverage of this 4-day event. I have always been a big fan of the BBC's 24 Hour News Channel, but it seems that, since Thursday morning, there has been nothing of note on but the Pope's visit. I thought this was a Church of England country?

    When I put on the BBC News Channel on Sunday morning, as I usually do, I was subjected to a Catholic Mass in Birmingham which, and I make no apology for this, I consider to be an insult to my intelligence. Why should the whole population have to be subjected to this? If I wanted to listen to a Catholic Mass, I would go to church. When I put the BBC News Channel on, I expect to hear the news, that's why it's called a 'News' channel, is it not?

    Not forgetting that the Pope is the head of an orginisation which sytematatically covered up child abuse for years, is homophobic, mysogonistic, and cannot see, or is blinkered to the fact that, contraception is a good thing in alleviating many problems in the world.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I recall a poll conducted just before the Pope's visit which asked the question 'does the upcoming visit mean anything to you?', which was answered 'no' by 76% of the people asked!! Surely that must have told the BBC something!

    How can the BBC justify the Pope's visit having more coverage than, say, the state of the UK economy, the floods in Pakistan, or any other major news item which seems to have been sidelined?

    At the end of the day, this whole coverage looks like pandering to minorities in a bid to be seen to be politically correct.

  • Comment number 87.

    Although not a Catholic, I believe that the Pope's visit has been beneficial. Seeing the joy and on the faces of the pilgrims, especially all the young people has been wonderful to watch. Seeing the commitment of so many to strong moral codes and dedication has been amazing. His message is so true in this horrible world we live in today where morality is a thing of the past. I understand some of the protests, especially those wanting women priests, or protesting against child abuse. I don't understand those ranting on about humanism or those who are athiests, they all seemed to be so very aggressive and nasty, and I find it difficult to understand why they hate religion so much. If they don't believe in God, that is up to them, so why keep ranting on about it. I feel sorry for them. Overall, I think that the visit has been for the good of our country, and given encouragement to all those who are ridiculed, or persecuted for being Christians in this country.

  • Comment number 88.

    My response is to thank the BBC for the great coverage of the pope’s visit they've provided. I am not a catholic but it has never the less had a profound positive impact on me. I now look on the TV license statement that arrived in the post recently in a far more reasonable light I can assure you. With respect to any support or encouragement the new government has provided, in the changing more inspiring and uplifting tone of the general public discourse at present, I now appreciate even more my opportunity to vote in the last election.

  • Comment number 89.

    If the Pope said that family planning was the way forward then I would respect him. If he said that Homosexuals were just as equal as those who are hetrosexual and offered civil partnerships then I would support him. If he stated that the priests that abused those children in their care would be punished(prison sentence please) then I would begin to respect the Catholic Church. Only when these issues are resolved would I have respect for an authorite who is so outdated. The Pope has done nothing to solve these issues which we, in the secular world, try to resolve. So Mr Pope come out of the Middle ages and treat people as humans.

  • Comment number 90.

    The Pope's visit was long overdue. It has demonstrated that Christianity is alive & well in England & Scotland. More importantly, it is gladdening to see that the young have taken to him.

  • Comment number 91.

    Those Catholics that wanted him to come have had their wish. I shouldn't imagine that he's changed their view one way or another. As for those he's branded "aggressive secularists" or condemned by comparing Atheism with Nazism (how would he know he's never been an Atheist?) then I doubt very much that he's done much to change their view to a more sympathetic one either.

    As far as I am concerned he has just reinforced my complete lack of of faith in a non existant God. I don't wish him any harm but really cannot take him or any of the pomp, camp and over reverent ceremony or pious eulogising seriously.

    Today's PR stunt, the beatification of Cardinal Newman, is frankly pure pantomime. Miracles don't exist, coincidences do and Newman is long dead and gets no benefit so what is the point other than to just add to the nonsense and myth of Christianity? (Other equally made up and baseless religions are available)

  • Comment number 92.

    Whilst belief in a law backed moral code is fundemental to a civil society, belief in an invisible all encompassing greater being, is simply superstition. There is no God, so why is my licence fee being used to focus so much attention on a leader of an outdated belief system, who is desperate to hold onto power. I also object to my taxes being used to 'police' his visit.
    This particular leader has views that are homophobic, anti feminist and he is willing to protect peaodaphiles rather than risk further condemnation of 'his' church.
    Good riddence when he's gone.

  • Comment number 93.

    "What has the Pope's visit achieved?"

    Positive? Absolutely nothing.

    Negative? Totally hacked off huge numbers of the rational, the academic, the intellectual, the freethinking, teh atheist, the anti-theist etc., by effectively (and falsely) stating that morality and ethics can only emanate within a faith based society.

    Overall, I think that he's reinforced secularism in the UK and ensured that a return to a faith based society is impossible in the forseeable future. For which we can be very, very thankful.

  • Comment number 94.

    jr4412: and I could never respect anyone who preaches 'do as I say' but doesn't live up to it

    I didn't preach anything. I simply said I respected his message.

    To resort to personal insult and to quote selectively highlights your lack of argument. I actually feel genuinely sad for those who appear to be so bitter and self-righteous and bigoted.

    I will turn the other cheek and pray for you: God loves everyone.

  • Comment number 95.

    Despite the BBC's bias in removing posts in the resent "What does Pope Benedict XVI's UK visit mean to you?" topic, the 3000+ comments show that people do care as much about religion as they do about other myths like goblins, fairies, the afterlife and socialism.

  • Comment number 96.

    I think the Pope and all the people involved in the organisation have done a fantastic job. Looking at the different media outlets I noticed that BBC News 24 concentrated far more on child abuse that did Sky News. I find the emphasis on the dreadful abuse of children utterly understandable of course, but the media always fail to say that it is only 0.4% of priests which are accused. Note 'Accused' not found guilty. Child abuse affects every institution in every country throughout the world (it is most prevalent in families according to stats) and is not exclusive to the church. I agree, of course, it is especially a heinous crime for someone with a priestly vocation. However it would have been nice for the media to reflected this percentage in their coverage, and for them to have spent more time on the really positive aspects of Christianity.

  • Comment number 97.

    "
    14. At 11:17am on 19 Sep 2010, Luketerr wrote:
    He managed to reveal how militant atheism is ...Look no further than the comments on this and the previous HYS ....
    "

    Militant Atheism, lol!

  • Comment number 98.

    Having the Pope visit our country has brought great joy and blessings to the faithful.It has strengthened my faith and will give me the strength to stand up for my beliefs in the face of the militant secularists.The more bile and hate that they vomit up each time they open their mouths,the more my faith is now strengthened,I now see and understand where they are coming from.I have always believed that evil exists, and now I know where it exists.

  • Comment number 99.

    "
    1. At 10:33am on 19 Sep 2010, ziggyboy wrote:

    I doubt if he were around today Jesus would agree with the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic faith.
    "

    Exactly, he'd be playing on his X-Box

  • Comment number 100.

    I am utterly nauseated by the fawning attitude of the BBC towards the pope and it's pathetic little report on the protest march. Not biased? pull the other one. I am convinced the BBC is run by a secretive religious 'mafia'.
    It is hugely depressing to think we are in the 21st century and still can;t get away from this mind numbing ignorance.

 

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