As a Catholic friend of mine in Lisbon beautifully and faithfully assessed both trips last night: “the Holy Father’s visit was a huge success and I am not surprised. Not only because he has such a gentle, clear, brilliant way of exposing the Gospel message as something fascinating and totally simple and natural (as in: we were created by a loving God so the natural thing is to be attracted to Him and the truth the Son came to reveal . . .) but also because Our Lady was quite clear here in Portugal that She was with him! We are living fascinating times and I am totally confident that after a needed purification we will witness a marvelous rebirth of a united Christianity.”
As I pointed to earlier, he did not pass up the opportunity to talk about another priest’s love of Mary yesterday.
There’s a hermeneutics of continuity to Pope Benedict.
And there are other similarities between the two trips, too. Fatima didn’t get the pre-trip gloom-and-doom and threats coverage the British trip did, but both Portugal and the United Kingdom both wound up warmly welcoming the Holy Father, despite all kinds of crazy secular things going on there.