Pope prays for a warm welcome

Pope Benedict heads to the UK with protests likely to plague the visit.

    In 1982, Pope John Paul II came to Britain. The charismatic Pole drew huge crowds wherever he went. The Catholic Church was reinvigorated. People spoke of the feel good factor he left in his wake.

    Twenty eight years on, Pope Benedict will come on a short state visit which has already been plagued by discontent and threats of protest.

    There are three main reasons why events during this Papal visit might still not be sold out, why people are questioning the wisdom of a visit right now.

    First there is church dogma.

    Despite strong medical evidence that condoms help prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that can lead to Aids and that they can help with population control, particularly in poorer countries, the Catholic Church still believes their use is sinful, that they are against God's teachings. Many Catholics believe this - and the Church's position on homosexuality - are out of step with society.

    Then there is the child abuse scandal which has engulfed the church globally.  

    Many victims believe the Church historically ignored the problem and even now is only taking action to protect its reputation and finance. The last scandal on Belgium detailed abuse linked to the Church over fifty years, with more than 300 victims and linked to at least 13 suicides.

    And finally personality.  

    Pope Benedict simply doesn't enjoy the level of affection inspired by his predecessor. He's seen as cold, clinical and out of touch.

    In such times, it would be hard to lose sight of the good the Catholic Church does. It's support for the needy and vulnerable around the world the good people with good hearts who use their religion to do good.

    The pope will use his UK trip to give voice to those people - to that work.

    He'll have to pray his message isn't drowned out.


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.