In the Homily at Mass this morning, the point was made that the Holy Father’s visit to the UK is primarily is his role as a ‘fisher of men’ : not necessarily to buoy up the faithful, but to promote the Faith to an increasingly secular world.
Is it me, or does that viewpoint suggest a spokesman of the Bishop’s Conference trying to justify its abject failure to make proper arrangements for the maximum possible number of the faithful to attend the Holy Father’s Masses ? It's certainly muddled thinking, anyway.
Of course the Holy Father is coming as a ‘fisher of men’; and we are all delighted that he is, and are praying that this aspect of his visit is successful..
At the same time, not only are those he is fishing for not particularly interested in attending his Masses at this stage, but sparse attendance at them will only provide ammunition for those who claim that the Faith is in decline : it will not be of any great benefit to the ‘fishing trip’ – whereas the presence of great numbers would provide clear evidence that the Catholic Faith is alive and active in Britain today; and that is what will influence the uncertain.
Let us all keep praying hard that it will be rapidly realized that what is needed is the maximum possible involvement of the faithful in all aspects of the Holy Father’s visit; and in particular the greatest possible number of people attending all the liturgies and giving a positive demonstration of their commitment to the Faith.