Pope To British Press: You're Not So Tough

Golly, but I love this Pope! Right out of the box, first question on the mid-flight press conference, he hits it out of the park.
Q: The first question: during the preparation for this journey there have been contrary discussions and positions. The country has a past tradition of a strong anti-Catholic position. Are you concerned about how you will be received?
(Translation: "ain't you scared?") Answer: "nope."
I must say that I’m not worried, because when I went to France I was told: “This will be a most anticlerical country with strong anticlerical currents and with a minimum of faithful.” When I went to the Czech Republic it was said: “This is the most non-religious country in Europe and even the most anti-clerical”.
So Western countries, all have, each in their own specific way, according to their own history, strong anticlerical or anti-Catholic currents, but they always also have a strong presence of faith. So in France and the Czech Republic I saw and experienced a warm welcome by the Catholic community, a strong attention from agnostics, who, however, are searching, who want to know, to find the values that advance humanity and they were very careful to see if they could hear something from me in this respect, and tolerance and respect for those who are anti-Catholic.
Of course Britain has its own history of anti-Catholicism, this is obvious, but is also a country with a great history of tolerance. And so I’m sure on the one hand, there will be a positive reception from Catholics, from believers in general, and attention from those who seek as we move forward in our time, mutual respect and tolerance. Where there is anti-Catholicism I will go forward with great courage and joy.
I love the picture he paints of each country in Europe vying to be the most atheist --and how he sees through it, too.  Wonderful, realistic answer --and cuts through the unmitigated hype in the press, including the faithful Catholic press, which too easily allows itself to get riled by things which are essentially silly.

Update: well, I have to give you the other questions, too. To a question about how to make the Church more relevant and attractive, he said that from now on Fuller's will substitute for wine as sacred species, and Simon Cowell and two sardonic theologians to be named later had been hired to mock absurd dissenting positions publicly.
...Or, possibly he said this instead:
I would say that a Church that seeks to be particularly attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for her own ends, she does not work to increase numbers and thus power. The Church is at the service of another: she serves, not for herself, not to be a strong body, rather she serves to make the proclamation of Jesus Christ accessible, the great truths and great forces of love, reconciling love that appeared in this figure and that always comes from the presence of Jesus Christ.
Of course they asked him about the loss of faith as a result of the abuse crisis, and he gives the fullest response I've heard from him (apart from the letter to the Irish -- I mean the fullest live statement). Worth reading in full, as are his remarks about the beatification of Cardinal Newman --whom he calls here a doctor of the Church! Will he make that formal, I wonder?-- and his relationship with the Queen.