- Madeleine Teahan is a speaker for the Catholic Voices project. The opinions expressed are her own -
The Holy See is a sovereign entity which has enjoyed diplomatic relations worldwide for at least 1,000 years and as head of this state, the Pope has been invited by the Queen to visit Britain and address civil society.
With the papal visit less than one week away, the Birmingham Post predicts that the Pope’s visit will generate £12.5 million for the city’s economy. In further welcome news, Edinburgh is anticipating a profit of £4 million. With Birmingham and Edinburgh expecting to prosper so significantly from hosting Pope Benedict for one day only, this is a highly auspicious indicator for the economic benefits of the Holy Father’s two-day stay in London.
This hopefully alleviates the taxpayer’s fears about the cost of the papal visit. The legacy of the banking crisis has understandably deepened sensitivities regarding public expenditure. The pursuit of profit must be tempered by an ethical framework in order to serve the common good, not the privileged few. The Pope’s encyclical entitled, ‘Charity in Truth’, published in July 2009, reminds society that “development is impossible without upright men and women, without financiers and politicians whose consciences are finely attuned to the common good”.
There are few heads of state courageous enough to be the voice of the vulnerable and not the architect of political expediency. Aside from the economic fruits his visit will cultivate, British society has never so desperately needed the Pope’s moral courage and wisdom to navigate a just and prudent route at this crossroads in our history.