Sunday, 5 September 2010

Archbishop of Westminster on 'Sunday AM' lays out vision for visit

Archbishop Vincent Nichols's interview with Andrew Marr is here at 19:46. He distances himself from a diocesan official's alarmist vision of secular Britain, saying "religious faith is taken quite serious by probably a majority of people in this country". Pope Benedict, he says, wants to remind us that "faith in God is not so much a problem to be solved but a gift to be discovered afresh". He describes relations with Anglicans as a "steady partnership": a strong Church of England, he says, helps the cause of the Gospel in the UK.

Asked about the controversy over the costs to the taxpayer, he said it would be a "sad day" if the UK closed its doors to state visits -- a gesture of isolationism. "This is the leader of the world's oldest international institution which serves humanity in a tremendous way right around the globe." An important part of the agenda, he went on, was the forging of relationships between the UK Government and the Catholic Church.

The Mail on Sunday is reporting that the Pope will meet abuse victims, citing Vatican sources who say such a meeting is "all but certain". Archbishop Nichols tells Andrew Marr that meeting victims has become the normal pattern on foreign trips, but that if it took place it would be private and only announced afterwards.