Daily Archives: October 5, 2010
Read here about another exceptional turnout to see the Holy Father.
A 10 hour visit, in a city of 650,000 (without the Province) saw around 300,000 people attending. Rather astonishing.
Whilst I do not like the use of the “miracle” adjective so easily thrown in in Italy in such circumstances, there is no denying that these figures, particularly if seen in context with the others of this year in Europe (Portugal, UK, now Sicily) are extremely impressive.
I think that it is fair to say that the clear way Pope Benedict XVI has started to leave aside the soundbites and substitute them with sound Catholicism is clearly giving fruits.
The crowds (in Italy as everywhere) don’t really like being told uncomfortable truths; but if the truths are repeated and said without apologies and without too much sugar around; if they are told in a way which doesn’t leave much place to hide; if they are said, though, always in an extremely loving spirit; if all this happens, in the end the message slowly begins to get through.
Please notice that this is not made in any way which could be seen as a show, or a concession to the crowds. No rock masses. No kissing of the ground. No Koran kissing. No toleration for “ecumenical” follies. Please note that this is not a man who seeks popularity in any conceivable way: this is the chap telling the Muslims where and why they’re wrong like in Regensburg, or telling the Anglicans that he is the successor of Peter in Westminster Hall, wearing the stole of the Pope who repeated to them that their orders are invalid.
No, the huge turnout is the fruit of more and more people starting to confusedly see the truth: that there is only one Church and that there is only one Truth.
Pope Benedict serves to them the Catholic sunday roast with all the trimmings and they start to understand that even the ingredients who might not look so attractive (like the parsnip of abortion or the broccoli of divorce, please feel free to substitute vegetables with those of your choice) are part and parcel of the entire exercise. The crowds now understand this and whilst not drawing the full consequences yet, they show a desire to stay near to him and to have him continue to stay near to them, because they need his teaching.
I think too highly of Benedict to fear that he would do anything differently if the turnout were not there. I also think that his successors (when the time comes) will be made out of the same mould. But the huge crowds cannot be ignored anymore in the sense that the signal that the uncompromising message of Benedict is received with increasing willingness will not fail to be captured by the sensitive antennae of Western politicians.
Better days ahead.