I am not a church goer or Catholic so I can take or leave his visit. I do like Alexander Pope, though!
Nonetheless, it is historic. I can remember my parents – both C of E and suspicious of Catholicism – being quite excited by Pope John Paul II’s visit to the UK in 1982. I saw his Easter Mass in Rome in 2002 when I was backpacking around Europe.
This week I read a highly amusing story about the how the Popemobile was developed after the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul in 1981. The Vatican commissioned a local firm to modify a Toyota, with the design to include Kevlar bodywork and bullet-proof glass but also, at the front, mountings for a couple of machine guns.
These were eventually dropped because, a company spokesman admitted many years later, “it was decided it wouldn’t look good for the Pope to fight back.”