Monthly Archives: September 2010

two more miracles – Cardinal Newman’s obviously getting cracking

I watched the papal visit on the telly.  Two things occurred:  I did not wish I’d gone to any of the events.  Though I’m a cradle-Catholic, the mass swooniness of huge numbers of Catholics gathered together brings out the British in me.  I button up and feel faintly alarmed.  Though I’m happy to carry a candle and go with the flow in the warm Italian sunshine, I’m not keen on swaying along in a steaminess of damp anoraks.   I watched the pope’s arrival and the Mass at Bellahouston whilst sewing up two pairs of curtains  – a job that has needed doing since the last papal visit.  Well, almost.   Given my hopelessness with needle and thread, that was the first miracle.

The second is that as I sewed and watched, I found myself unexpectedly moved.  My faith has been on the wobble for some time now and I thought that the papal visit might see it wobble right over.  But no. Perhaps it was the unfashionable wooden-ness of the pope’s delivery (a miracle, surely, that he’s being hailed as ‘the great communicator’ when he read, almost in a monotone, even such phrases as ‘thank you for your warm welcome’). Perhaps it was his owlish demeanour.  Perhaps it was because I felt he was praying the whole time for the strength to get through it all. Perhaps it was because, when I hung up the curtains, they were nearly all the same length.   Anyhow, I felt better for his visit.   Calmer.  Less hollow, if you know what I mean.

One other thing:  I wish the cameras hadn’t panned over the serried ranks of priests.  I know it’s a tough life, but come on, chaps!   You can’t all be as handsomely blessed as Bel Georgio Ganswein, the pope’s private secretary, but can’t you do a bit better than Tubby the Tuba or the wreck of the Hesperus?

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here comes the pope

Say what you like about the papal visit to the UK, it has generated some pretty good debate.  I even enjoyed reading Polly Toynbee.   Is that a miracle?  Should I chalk it up to Cardinal Newman?

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Rites and wrongs – pun intended

Should I expect a lightning bolt or a damp squib?

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