Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How will the pope be received in the UK?

A lot of commentators have made the point that Pope Benedict XVI will not receive the best welcome when he goes to the UK because of all the protesters and the general apathy toward religion and specifically Catholicism in the country. But I think they are making some incorrect assumptions.

First of all, the pope has visited places which would be much more hostile toward him, such as:

Turkey from November 28 to December 1, 2006
This was one of the pope's first visits to a foreign country as pontiff. Less than 1% of the population is Christian and the country is described as Muslim by the government. The man who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II advised the pope not to visit.

Cameroon from March 17 to March 23, 2009
The pope visited this country just a year after it experienced its worst violence in 15 years.

Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories from May 8 to May 15, 2009
Obviously there is a great deal of religious violence between Muslims and Jews in these areas. Christians have also been the untold victims of these battles. Yet, despite the risk, the pope visited this area.

On top of this, the media is generally reporting from a so-called "balanced" point of view where they find it necessary to interview both those in favour of the pope's visit and those against it. However, they tend to focus on the opposed because it makes for better news.

I've seen it happen before though. The media will report how there will be protests and apathy, etc. but then when the pope actually arrives, these reports are proven wrong once again as millions of people flock to hear the Bishop of Rome.

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