At what cost?

Two things caught my eye in the Church Times this week.  The first was details about the Pope’s state visit to Scotland and England in September.  Because the Queen has invited him we the taxpayer have to pay for this visit, although I note that the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and of Scotland would contribute towards the £15m cost of the visit. It doesn’t say how much they will contribute. £15million is a lot of money.  And this does not include the cost of policing the visit which will have to be found from the police’s own budget.  (Note that the cost of policing the G20 for one day was £19million and the Pope is visiting for 3 days.)  That is a lot of pounds.

The second thing which caught my eye was the martrydom of Oscar Romero 30 years ago. Romero is the hero of many people and is hailed a saint by his native El Salvador. But not with the Roman Catholic church who did not like the message of liberation theology, of preference for the poor. This week his life, work and death will be celebrated across the world and services held in York Minster and Westminster Abbey (where there has been a statue of him above the Great West Door since 1998).  But once upon a time there was a certain Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who was head of the Vatican’s doctrine watchdog, and he was a vehement opponent of the theology of liberation. He didn’t like bishops who wanted to sell their palaces and give the money to the poor. While we hail him as a hero the Roman CAtholic church have still not made him a saint. Why would that be?

We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, 24 December 1979


9 thoughts on “At what cost?

  1. This sort of thing happens all the while. The other year our local concert hall persuaded the Labour Party to hold their conference there. The hall probably did quite well out of it but the rate payers of Newcastle/Gateshead picked up a bill for over a million pounds to cover the extra policing costs needed to protect the delegates. Mind you we are used to paying for the policing of football matches every Saturday whilst the owner of the club rakes in the ticket money. As for the bishop of Rome – if the Queen invited him then she should pay. I mean, I don’t expect her majesty to pick up the tab for my Christmas Night party every year which costs just a little bit less than £15 million.

  2. I think you can rest assured that her majesty will not enjoy this particular royal duty in the slightest. I mean, he tried to bomb her house during the last war. And just being German will be enough to get up Prince Phillip’s nose.

  3. She’s paid for one of my bashes – or more technically invited me to one of hers. She does a mean cucumber sandwich.

  4. Why your country persists in the idiocy of an established church is beyond me; having “diplomatic relations” with a “country” whose sources of income are charities and postage stamps is just an extra level of ridiculous.
    Religion is irrelevant to 99% of your population anyway-who cares what this man has to say about anything?

  5. Woah Brad! Get it off your chest, why don’t you? I think you are mistaking us for Englandshire which one should never do.

  6. The USA has an ‘ambassador’ to the “Holy See” which costs thousands; the tax breaks to religions cost billions every year. Time to tax religions and separated church and state.

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