Friday, 10 September 2010

Catholic Voices v Protest the Pope (contd)

CV coordinator Austen Ivereigh quoted in the Guardian:
"There has been criticism from a small proportion of the population who oppose the visit in principle and they have been very ferocious in their attacks, but one wonders who these people speak for," he said.

"The attacks seem to be coming from militant secularists and radical humanists disturbed by faith who want to chase religion entirely from the public square and deny it any voice at all.

"Their irrational hostility and fanaticism undermines their claim to pluralism and demonstrates that actually it is the pope who is the true humanist."
And by Life Site News:
“I think the thing is turning now. Certainly in the next few days there’s going to be a turn-around and you will see more positive press. These hostile groups have made their arguments.”

While Ivereigh said “we’ve really been quite surprised” by the virulence of the attacks on the Church and the pope, he also said he takes the view that the papal visit presents a “tremendous opportunity politically.”“The government is wholly behind the visit and it is coming at an amazingly propitious time.

“I think there is in a strange way a hunger in British society to escape from moral relativism.” The economic crisis, he said has created a “new openness” that will create an opportunity for the people to connect with Pope Benedict and his message. “The hostility is because of this openness. It’s a response to it, in a way.”

He pointed to recent surveys taken by the Theos think tank and The Tablet that showed that the “strong opposition” to the visit so insisted on by the anti-pope protesters, is actually shared by no more than 5 percent of the British population. Ivereigh said that in fact, according to the polls, most British people are “indifferent” to the visit. “I think that the pope is something of an abstract figure to the British.”Nonetheless, although people don’t have strong feelings, the same poll showed that one in five is expected to follow the visit “closely.”

Ivereigh said that the polls have also shown that the British strongly admire the Catholic Church for its strong moral and social teaching. “It’s a typically British response, of course. They don’t have strong feelings themselves, but admire people with strong convictions.”