Actually, I am uneasy about the Pope telling us what to do. This is part of being British, or was when I was growing up. I can still recite great chunks of Tennyson’s wonderful Ballad Of The Fleet, all about Sir Richard Grenville and the little ship Revenge, with her valiant Protestant crew, fighting her unequal battle against the great sea-castles of King Philip, ‘the Inquisition dogs and the devildoms of Spain’.
I had relatives who viewed the Vatican as Babylon. I was taught at school about Bloody Mary, 400 years later still a loathed figure.
Even now, I like to roll over my tongue the defiant 37th of the English Church’s 39 articles: ‘The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.’
The Pope’s warning about growing intolerance of Christianity in the British State should have been issued by the Church of England, and once could have been. But its present leaders are for the most part pretty dim, and almost all liberals – whereas Benedict is a serious thinker, a major intellect and a conservative.
An illustration of how culture can make one prejudiced against the Catholic Church and be an intellectual obstacle to conversion.