Days One & A Half


Catching up on the addresses from the UK trip, but there's a lot, so, in dribs and drabs....

Her Majesty was gracious and lovely in her welcome, putting the UK squarely on the side of Reason and freedom of religion versus the forces of irrationality, be they relativist or Islamist in nature (though she put it more delicately of course).

What a speech the Pope gave at Holyroodhouse! Outlining the great force for good Britain has been in the could get a little misty. And yet, it's a much more sober speech than its parallel given in the US. He didn't say anything this tough to us Yanks:
Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate.
That single line seems to be the overall message of the trip: you who pride yourselves on tolerance and indeed taught the Western world the meaning of the world, try being tolerant again. He was especially tough on the British press.

Then there was Mass in Glasgow, and the meetings with teachers and schoolkids, already discussed below.
He met as is his wont with representatives of other faiths, notably Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi (I am always charmed by the matching zuchetto-yarmulkes). I can't help read this as his response to Stephen Hawking's unfortunate straying into metaphysics. Saying that religious figures by their very presence remind the world of the transcendent he observed:
Within their own spheres of competence, the human and natural sciences provide us with an invaluable understanding of aspects of our existence and they deepen our grasp of the workings of the physical universe, which can then be harnessed in order to bring great benefit to the human family. Yet these disciplines do not and cannot answer the fundamental question, because they operate on another level altogether. They cannot satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart, they cannot fully explain to us our origin and our destiny, why and for what purpose we exist, nor indeed can they provide us with an exhaustive answer to the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?”  
But then he kind of dishes it to the Muslims, insisting as usual that "dialogue," to which the Church is committed, requires reciprocity:
Ever since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has placed special emphasis on the importance of dialogue and cooperation with the followers of other religions. In order to be fruitful, this requires reciprocity on the part of all partners in dialogue and the followers of other religions. I am thinking in particular of situations in some parts of the world, where cooperation and dialogue between religions calls for mutual respect, the freedom to practise one’s religion and to engage in acts of public worship, and the freedom to follow one’s conscience without suffering ostracism or persecution, even after conversion from one religion to another. Once such a respect and openness has been established, peoples of all religions will work together effectively for peace and mutual understanding, and so give a convincing witness before the world. 
Translation: Dudes, you're holding everybody back. This is the most interesting remark, though, in terms of genuine ecumenism in the sense the Pope has always understood it:
Then at the level of formal conversations, there is a need not only for theological exchange, but also sharing our spiritual riches, speaking of our experience of prayer and contemplation, and expressing to one another the joy of our encounter with divine love. 
Without that, there's tendency to just argue your hidebound positions and not be a disciple.