Pope Benedict on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, Pope Benedict XVI recalls his visit to the UK and shares his hopes for us this Christmastide.

Pope BBC

‘Recalling with great fondness my four-day visit to the United Kingdom last September, I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you once again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Our thoughts turn back to a moment in history when God’s chosen people, the children of Israel, were living in intense expectation. They were waiting for the Messiah that God had promised to send, and they pictured him as a great leader who would rescue them from foreign domination and restore their freedom.

“God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them.”

God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them. The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed xmas scenebring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place – he was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means: rather, Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross. And while he was born in poverty and obscurity, far from the centres of earthly power, he was none other than the Son of God. Out of love for us he took upon himself our human condition, our fragility, our vulnerability, and he opened up for us the path that leads to the fullness of life, to a share in the life of God himself. As we ponder this great mystery in our hearts this Christmas, let us give thanks to God for his goodness to us, and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down: he gives us hope, he brings us life.

Dear Friends from Scotland, England, Wales and indeed every part of the English-speaking world, I want you to know that I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season. I pray for your families, for your children, for those who are sick, and for those who are going through any form of hardship at this time. I pray especially for the elderly and for those who are approaching the end of their days. I ask Christ, the light of the nations, to dispel whatever darkness there may be in your lives and to grant to every one of you the grace of a peaceful joyful Christmas. May God bless all of you!’

Broadcast on Friday 24th December, 2010 at 7.45am.

To listen, click the BBC Radio 4 logo to go to the BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day webpage

Radio4 logo



December 24, 2010. Papal news, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope's visit 2010. Leave a comment.

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Pope Benedict’s visit: afterthoughts

Kids quiz the pope scan cropPope Benedict’s visit has come to an end. A whirlwind! So much TV coverage, so much going on and yes, so many challenging questions asked about the Catholic Church and the Catholic faith. And while those questions needed to be asked, and as challenging as they were to answer, we can all cheerfully say this has been an incredibly successful visit by our Holy Father!

The simple fact was that there was just so much positivity and joy expressed by ordinary Catholics. It was extraordinary!

And one of the most beautiful aspects was that it was so often, you, our country’s kids, who were at the heart of this incredible visit; it was the kids who managed to by-pass the barriers and beady-eyed security men to sneak an impromptu blessing from the pope, and it was those adorable babies who brought the rolling glass fortress of the pope-mobile to a halt, much to the delight of us all, as Pope Benedict cradled and kissed an unknowing babe’s head.

Alisha yr 4

You, the children, have also been delighting the many visitors to this blog. There were over five thousand views in just a few days! This ‘strange but interesting site’, as it was described by Rome Reports, features the questions that you would have liked to have asked the pope, if only you had had the chance.

The simple idea came to me during a social media training session organised by the Catholic Communications Network. Knowing that few parents would be able to take young children to the long and tiring events around the country (I missed out on seeing Pope John Paul II in 1982 for this very reason), I wanted to bring the pope to you. I also wanted to create something heart-warming and positive so as to knock down the barriers that many adults in the UK have about the pope.

luke yr 4And knock down barriers it did. People have been completely charmed by the blog (thanks to you), which is marvellous. And it also brought the pope to many of you.  During presentations I gave at liturgy groups and a local primary school, I asked the kids to imagine what it would be like to be in the crowd, waiting to see the pope. What would they do if he stopped and shook their hands? What one question would they ask?

The questions flooded from them, with everything from: “What is your favourite prayer?” to “What is your favourite football team?”   And with childlike candour, some even dared to ask, “Do you get paid?” and “What’s it like being in charge of the whole world?”

Yet the pope got the last word, or rather question, when he asked the many youngsters gathered at St Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hill, “Who is it you want to be?”

Who? indeed. I pray that in seeking the answer to this question, you will be led into an ever-deepening dialogue with Jesus; speaking one heart (yours) to His heart. Always.

Cheerio! Papal visit to UK heart speaks to heart

September 20, 2010. Pope's visit 2010. Leave a comment.

Pope’s visit Day 4

Sunday 19 September


The final day of the visit focused very much on the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman in Cofton Park in Birmingham – adjacent, fittingly, to Rednal where Cardinal Newman was buried and the place where Newman and his community came for rest and recreation in the Lickey Hills.

The Holy Father then made a private visit to the Oratory of St Philip Neri, Edgbaston, Birmingham where he became the first person to pray at the new shrine for the “Blessed” John Henry Newman.

Pope Benedict concluded the day by meeting with the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales in Oscott College before returning to Rome from Birmingham International Airport.

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Beatification with pic of JHN

September 19, 2010. Itinerary, Pope's visit 2010. Leave a comment.

Pope’s visit Day 3

Saturday 18 September


On the third day of the visit, Pope Benedict celebrated Mass in Westminster Cathedral where he also greeted the people of Wales.

At the end of Mass, the Holy Father spent some time with over 2,500 young people gathered in the Piazza to welcome him.

Later in the day he visited St Peter’s Residential Home for the elderly in Vauxhall, giving the Pope an opportunity to go to those who could not meet with him, and he was then present at an open air Vigil of prayer in London’sHyde Park.

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Hyde park pv adorationhyde park pv view from stage

September 18, 2010. Itinerary, Pope's visit 2010. Leave a comment.

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