Pope Benedict to Visit London: Is the Rebirth of a Christian Europe Underway?
May this visit to England hasten the recovery of a dynamically orthodox Christian witness in that Nation; one which opens up the path to the recovery of a genuinely Christian Europe.
In an age which has witnessed a decline in Christianity on the European continent, Pope Benedict XVI is an ardent evangelizer, calling for a rebirth of Christianity in Europe.
Having an apparent access to the itinerary, the Times indicated it will include visits to London, Birmingham, Oxford and Edinburgh. The report has led to rumors that the Holy Father’s visit may indicate that the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman might take place in Birmingham, at the site of the Oratory which was founded by the beloved convert to the Catholic faith. Newman is one of the highest profile converts from Anglican Christianity to the Roman Catholic Church. He is still beloved by the Anglican Christians who maintain their ties to Christian orthodoxy against the decline within their own church. Other details of the itinerary: “The visit is expected to include an invitation to the Pope to address both houses of parliament at Westminster, in the same Westminster Hall where St Thomas More was tried and condemned in 1535 for opposing the Act of Supremacy. This was the act that made King Henry VIII "supreme head" of the emerging new Protestant body, the Church of England, signaling the formal breach with Rome”.
A visit by Pope Benedict to Britain may have implications for those within the Church of England who have witnessed their Church being torn from within over the last few decades. The decline of orthodoxy in that community has reached a critical stage where some observers think it is irreparable. There has been speculation over the plight of some within the broader Anglican community who openly discuss entry into full communion with the Catholic Church. The “Traditional Anglican Communion”, one of many “splinter groups” which have arisen as a direct result of the Church of England’s movement away from classical Christian orthodoxy, has formally requested to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. They have done so with a refreshing humility, agreeing to do whatever it would take. They still await a formal response from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith in Rome.
In an age which has witnessed a decline in Christianity on the European continent, Pope Benedict XVI is an ardent evangelizer, calling for a rebirth of Christianity in Europe. Some interpret the choice of his Papal name as a signal of his commitment to lead such a rebirth. I am numbered among them. We will closely follow the plans for this apostolic visit and invite our readers to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the successor of the Apostle Peter. St. Augustine of Canterbury was sent to what became England by another great Pope St. Gregory, in 669, to bring freedom to the inhabitants of that beautiful land through the proclamation of the full Gospel of Jesus Christ as found within the Church. Now, in the Third Millennium, the successor of Gregory is soon to do the same.
Pope Benedict XVI participated in the Second Vatican Council. He not only understands the authentic teaching of that Council but has led the way in its proper implementation in many areas of life, both within the Church and in her mission to the contemporary age. He also understands the way that the Council was hijacked in some circles, disregarded in others and absolutely misinterpreted in still others. He is a voice for dynamically orthodox and faithful Catholic Christian faith, practice, worship and life. In his homily prior to the convening of the conclave where he would be chosen to fill the Chair of Peter, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger gave a prophetic insight into the challenges of the age:
“How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking... The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a ...
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