The visit last year of the Holy Father exceeded every-one’s hopes. The protests where insignificant, the crowds everywhere that the Pope visited were welcoming, the goodwill generated with non-catholics was plentiful, and the Vigil at Hyde Park – awe inspiring.
So, I was suprised to learn today that the costs have still not been met. This in spite of a second collection in most Churches in advance of the visit, a £25 ‘donation’ to be present at one of the public events, and I know many generous contributions from well known members of our Faith.
We are now about to be asked to dig deep into our pockets to clear this debt by next March, as the quote from The Tablet makes quite clear.
” The Dioceses in England and Wales are being asked to pay the remainder of the papal visit costs by next March. Most of the money owed by the Church has already been repaid thanks to an insurance rebate from the Catholic National Mutual. Some £2.2 million has been paid to the 16 dioceses of England and Wales that are members of the mutual, allowing them to help meet the costs of The Papal Visit Ltd, the company set up by the bishops’ conferences of England and Wales, and of Scotland. This has left a total of just under £500,000 for six dioceses in England and Wales who are not members of the mutual to repay. One of these, the Archdiocese of Birmingham, has asked for second collections in parishes to help pay their share of the costs, which is around £190,000. Each diocese is allocated an amount to repay according to their size. The total cost for the Church was £10 million.”
And….dig deep into our pockets is what we will indoubtedly do, but might I be so bold as to remind their Graces at the Bishop’s Conference, that it might just have escaped their notice that we, the faithful, are facing very real hardships on the financial front, as is our country, as is Europe and as is most of the world. Our parishes pay their levy to their Diocese, second collections are made each Sunday for various deserving causes, and another collection for this will mean less for one of these causes – many of which rely on the contributions made in our Churches to continue their charitable works, often abroad, but equally in our own country.
This might sound like ‘sour grapes’. It is not meant to. Many folk, are, as am I, are reliant on ‘fixed’ incomes and many families are facing the biggest pressure on their budgets for many years’. Our love and respect for the Holy Father will ensure that this shortfall is met and that the Church in England & Wales is not embarrassed, but in many cases, this will be at the expense of something else. I can hear their Graces already saying that “if you cannot afford it, then, no matter how little, just give what you can”!
Well, your Graces – we will give what we can, but our generosity should not be taken for granted.
Toad is, for some odd reason, reminded of the words of Indian poet Sarojini Naidu: “It costs a fortune to keep Gandhi living in poverty.”
But then, superstar popes don’t come cheap, either.
And we’d cheerfully pay 10 million to see Lady Gaga, wouldn’t we? Really?
Who is Lady Gaga? 😉
You ask hard questions, Gertrude. She appears to be a vulgar, and often lightly-clad, entertainer. Toad reads about her on Yahoo. Nuff sed.
Quite Toad. My granddaughter (with the aid of Youtube) has just enlightened me. As you so rightly state, nuff sed.
Neither Toad nor your granddaughter have been kind. When it comes to LG ignorance is bliss. I am sad that your original innocence in this regard has been lost.