The popes historic speech at Westminster Hall , the political centerpiece of his visit to Britain, was everything one could have hoped for. Principled, sincere and generous, Benedict thanked his hosts and praised those elements of British society in harmony with Catholic teaching. At the same time, he upheld objective moral norms, and firmly and unmistakably rebuked those who would seek to marginalize the Churchs role in societyand who, in fact have actually discriminated against Christians, in the very name of tolerance.
Pope Benedict can only propose, not impose. Going forth, it will be up to Great Britain whether or not to recover its Christian heritage, and restore the rights of believers. The good news is that, despite the well-known secularization of British society, the pope is not alone in his concerns. In a remarkable letter published in the Guardian today, a group of ordinary British citizens stoutly defended the popes mission to uphold human dignity, which encompasses a culture of life, stability, marriage, lifelong fidelity and love in which children are welcomed, rather than destroyed, in which human beings are open to new life, opposing vigorously a culture that treats the possibility of new life with contempt.
The first stage of Benedicts mission was clearly accomplished at Westminster; his supporters, God wiling, will be able to implement the next.