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(Continued from page 11.) 

  


 

 

  

 

 

hope) that for our young people the Pope’s messages spoke to them and that his visit has left a lasting impression – that they feel dif- ferent about being Catholic. And of course it is not only within the com-

munity of the Catholic Church that the effects of the visit might linger. I heard just yesterday the story of one woman who was so upset and offended by the bile of the anti-papal demon- strators in London that within a year she had become a Catholic. There have been other striking stories too, such as the one recalling a young Catholic who held an anti-papal banner while its anti-papist owner had his lunch. Many others have spoken of the way in

which the Pope’s attitude and disposition have improved local ecumenical and inter-religious relations. What the visit did was change atti- tudes among many people whose view of the Catholic Church was either very negative or simply absent. The Pope had been expected by many to come and wade through a list of the ills of contemporary society, but there seemed com- paratively few references to secularism and relativism, themes that were probably addressed more frequently in his material around World Youth Day. The challenge now, of course, is to take this

The Tablet Lecture 2011

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols is the Archbishop of Westminster, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

“Holiness Today: The Formation of the Human Heart”

An exploration of the models of and quest for holiness in contemporary society.

Thursday 20 October 2011 at 6.45pm at Westminster Cathedral Hall Nearest Railway/ Underground station: Victoria

Admission is by advance ticket only at a cost of £15 (£12 concessions) and includes entry to a Tablet drinks reception

To purchase, please call: 020 8748 8484 or email:

12 | THE TABLET | 17 September 2011

forward and not just feel better for ourselves as Church. If there is to be a “new evangeli- sation” then some work needs to be done. And this might be more complicated than the Lineamenta for next year’s Synod on the “new evangelisation” might suggest. There the Pope refers again to “the Courtyard of the Gentiles”, the space for this dialogue with those “who know God, so to speak, only from afar, who are dissatisfied with their own gods, rites and myths; who desire the Pure and Great, even if God remains for them the ‘unknown God’ ”.

But what is not clear is what we expect from this dialogue; have we anything to learn or do we expect people simply to embrace the Christian Gospel as soon as they hear it for the first time? What the Pope demonstrated was a Church that might be more humble and open to dialogue. It will be interesting to see the outcome. It will always be difficult to assess the long-

term effects of the Pope’s visit. The anniversary Mass in Westminster Cathedral tomorrow, Home Mission Sunday, will no doubt be crowded, but this can only give us hope, not assurance. The call is to us all, but perhaps particularly our young people. At the end of the Mass on World Youth Day itself, Cardinal Rylko challenged the young: “Be better catechised than your parents.” Some effects of those days a year ago can

never be measured. Apparently one police officer approached one of my fellow bishops during the visit, took a photo of his family out of his wallet and asked him to do “some- thing”. He said, “You Catholics have got something. I don’t know what it is, but I want a part of it.”

■Kieran Conry is the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton in Sussex.

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