Pope Benedict XVI is midway through his trip to the United Kingdom, and so far reaction has been all over the map, from wild enthusiasm among devotees, to overt hostility among determined protestors, to benign indifference in a broad swath of secular society. Of course, the pope always evokes a range of opinions, but they’re rarely on full public view as they are here.
Predictions of disaster in the run-up to the trip have largely failed to materialize, in part because Benedict XVI is simply a more gracious and kindly figure than his stern public image suggests, in part because Benedict has once again dialed up his “Affirmative Orthodoxy,” striking a deliberately positive tone. Within minutes of his arrival, he had told Queen Elizabeth II that Britain should be proud of its Christian and humanitarian traditions and praised the Northern Ireland peace agreement, and this German pope even thanked the British for standing up to the Nazis.
Yet dissent still dogs the visit, which was clear this evening outside Westminster Abbey.
Read the full story here: Benedict in Britain: We get it, we've got it, let's share it
[John L. Allen Jr., NCR senior correspondent is filing reports throughout the papal visit to the U.K. Sept. 16-19. Stay tuned to NCR Today for updates.]