Friday, 17 September 2010

John Allen: PR tide turning in Pope's direction

If Benedict doesn’t seem to be winning over his most determined critics, there is some evidence that the PR tide may be turning in his favour. Today, Labor MP Kate Hoey, a liberal who disagrees with the Catholic church on a wide variety of issues, announced that she was fed up with “carping about the trip from atheists with an axe to grind and a book to plug,” and would therefore join a welcoming party for the pope when he visits a center run by the Little Sisters of the Poor in her south London district.

Beyond giving a shot in the arm to the Catholic minority in the U.K., Benedict is trying to reach out this week to three constituencies: all those inside and outside the church scandalized by the sexual abuse crisis; secular society, whose attitudes towards religion range from benign indifference to outright hostility; and the Anglican Communion, whose members often look upon popes generally, and this pope in particular, with deep skepticism.