Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols says that despite recent overtures to Anglicans through the instrument of an ordinariate, Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming trip to the UK isn't for tossing out lures.
Sometimes people want to say ‘oh, this is the initiative of the pope who is going fishing for Anglicans’. That is not true. He is responding to requests that he has received, and those requests we have to handle sensitively on both sides. I think it is quite remarkable actually that Pope Benedict has a sense of the variety of ways in which it is possible to be a Catholic. I think he is more comfortable with a plurality of expressions of Catholicism in different rites ... than many of us are.
"There are delicate, difficult issues between our two churches at the moment," Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, head of the 5.2 million Catholics in England and Wales, told Reuters.
Okay. But if Benedict isn't necessarily set to woo Anglicans in general, is there anyone in particular, say around Lambeth way, who should be keeping the kettle warm? Likely, no, writes Christina Odone.
... few close to the Archbishop of Canterbury will forgive the Pope for trying to lure disaffected Anglicans to Rome during the row over women bishops last year. Rowan Williams and Benedict XVI both boast a brilliant intellect, but neither seems inclined to use it to cement an ecumenical alliance. Those who hope that this visit will somehow thaw the frosty relations between Rome and Canterbury should see the Popemobile as proof of their delusion: there’s only room for one.
So that's a no then.
Anyone worth just keeping an eye on? Folks who would use a papal visit to advance their own agenda? Disaffected or otherwise?
Nichols also suggested the pope would not be affected by the adverse media attention ahead of the trip and the protests planned by secularists, gay rights groups, women ordination campaigners and those angry at the child-abuse scandal which has spread throughout the Catholic Church globally.
He pointed to recent papal visits where intense media criticism dissipated, he said, when people listened to what the pope had to say.
"I don't think they will affect him deeply. No. Because I think he is a man who intelligently studies the world, and he knows the ebb and flow of opinion," he said.
Well, but let's be honest - no one is without controversy, and that list of possible picketers may sound familiar. But this is a state visit, after all, and it's time for Great Britain to roll out the red carpet, introduce the Queen, and produce its wallet - to the tune of about 12 million pounds. Right?
76% of Britons think taxpayers should not be contributing towards the cost of Pope Benedict XVI's visit, according to research published today by Theos, the public theology think tank.
In the ComRes poll of 2,005 adults, three quarters of Britons (76%) said that because the Pope was 'a religious figure', the taxpayer should not be contributing to the costs of his visit. Interestingly, young people are generally less hostile, with 69% of 18-24s opposed to paying compared with 82% of 55-64s and 80% of over 65s.
Public opposition appears to be focused on the cost rather than the visit itself. Only a quarter of people (24%) agree that they 'don't approve of the Pope's visit', compared with half (49%) who disagree.
Opinion is split as to whether the visit is good for Britain, with 29% of people saying it is good and 33% saying it is not. Apathy features more prominently than either approval or disapproval, however. Over three-quarters (79%) of people said that they have 'no personal interest' in the visit.
Twelve million pounds sort of seems like a lot, doesn't it, Grandmère Mimi?
The cost is scandalous. What is the justification for such a high price? There is none. The powers in the English government should have nipped the plan for the pope's visit in the bud or required the Vatican to reimburse the taxpayers' money.