Thursday 8 December 2016

Lise Hand: British praised for war effort in Benedict's charm offensive

Published 20/09/2010 | 05:00

YESTERDAY morning was the bit of his four-day visit that Pope Benedict was most looking forward to -- the beatification of one of his personal theological heroes, Cardinal John Henry Newman.

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But as with other moments on this papal trip to Britain, darker shadows from the past will intrude and the Pope has had much holy oil to pour on troubled waters. The ugly spectre of the church's child abuse scandals stalked him through Scotland and also London where on Saturday he spoke of his "deep sorrow and shame" over the sins that so many ordained fathers visited on so many children.

And in this part of England yesterday there were other deep wounds of the past to address. In November 1940 the English city of Coventry was reduced to a smoking ruin by a savage bombing by the German Luftwaffe -- in one night more than 5,000 homes were obliterated and hundreds of people killed.

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