Mark Dowd's "The Pope's British Divisions" on BBC R4, broadcast this morning, is repeated at 2130 tonight and well worth a listen. Into half an hour he packs a vast panorama of the Catholic Church in the UK, asking how it has changed since Pope John Paul II's 1982 visit. He speaks to young Catholics who think the best thing about being a Catholic is how you can "pick and mix what you believe", as well as objectors to a Mass for gay people in London, who think that the fact that the Mass is approved by both the Archbishop of Westminster and the Vatican proves that only a "very small remnant" will be saved at the end. There are many stories of how immigrants have transformed the British Catholic Church.
Dowd concludes the Church is more "polarised" now between "traditionalists" and "progressives" but at the same time "more Catholic" -- in the sense of "universal" -- than 28 years ago. Superb.