Thursday, 23 September 2010

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I do not think that it is possible for anyone in the UK to have missed thevisit of the Holy Father to these shores. To many peopleit was a surprise that it was the success that it was. I followed the blogs on the internet for some weeks before hand. They were full of doom and gloom about the arrangements. Critics where complaining about how much it was going to cost. Why should the tax payer foot the bill and why was it a state visit? They discounted the Vatican state as an anomaly of history, an over grown house with pretensions to grandeur. So to pay any need to these Job’s comforters, was to believe that organizationally it was going to be a disaster and for that matter no one was going to turn up! Thank God the reality was different. God’s rottweiler turned out to be my grand dad in a funny dress. But the power was in what he said. The full significance has yet to be seen and I believe that a great deal has been done of that moves us towards unity with our brothers in Rome.
. The most significant part, for me, of the visit was that afternoon, when he spoke to the great and good in Westminster Hall. As he said in his speech, this was the place of Sir Thomas More’s trial. Thomas More was a courtier of Henry 8. He found himself in the position of choosing between following the teaching of the church about marriage and divorce and doing as Henry demanded,. Most especially was it possible for Henry to be rid of Catherine of Aragon, his wife. He decided that he had to follow his conscience. So he was tried and found guilt of treason and put to death. . The underlying question was, ‘Where is ultimate authority‘?. The Church or the state! The Pope’s speech made it clear that God’s law comes before our laws and is the model on which they are built. So the pope was saying that Church teaching comes first. . If this was not enough, having addressed the MPs etc in Westminster Hall, he goes across to Westminster Abbey and joins a service that is led by the leaders of the churches in England. That is, without those who have been in the previous meeting in Westminster Hall. In other words he addresses the Church. Those who exercise power in Westminster were not evident. It is not their place to interfere in the affairs of the church! . The overall message was that the Church is free of civil control and must exercise a prophetic ministry to guide the nation. Now for a church that is supposed to be The Established Church, with the Queen/ Parliament in Charge that was a big statement. A revolutionary change. I for one, welcome this shift. . The shackles of the secular power are loosening. Sir Thomas More would have been delighted

No comments:

Post a Comment