(Photo: Workmen prepare altar for pope in Glasgow, September 14, 2010/David Moir)
Thousands of seats have yet to be filled for Pope Benedict’s public masses in England and Scotland this week, a far cry from the warm welcome his predecessor received nearly 30 years ago.
The pope arrives in Scotland on Thursday on a state visit at a time when the Church is struggling with a global sex-abuse scandal and hostility from one of Europe’s most secular nations.
The current pope has had a hard time inspiring the same enthusiasm as charismatic Pope John Paul II did during the first papal visit to Britain in 1982, when hundreds of thousands turned out to see him.
Early starts, strict security, the need to travel in pre-organized groups and the cost of entry have been cited as the reasons why people might not be attending the public events.