Thursday 29 July 2010

Twenty Five Pounds

Today's Papal Visit Controversy is that folks will have to pay to go to one of the events.

When I travel I pay my own fares.

National Express London-Birmingham return on the Sunday, arriving at 9.50am, so probably cutting it a bit fine, is £17.50 for an adult. I would have to pay £7.60 for a travelcard to get o Victoria Coach station, plus something in Brum to get me to Crofton Park.

By Train, you would have to drive to Euston to get the first train out of London, or take the last train into Town on the Saturday night and then sleep on the station, not generally recommended. The single fare is £44.80. So the return is probably £45.50, arriving Birminham New Street at 10.30am, so a bit late. Then you've got to get to Crofton Park.

That's just one example. SE London is not the furthest point in England or Wales from Birmingham. You can do Newcastle-Brum, Newquay-Brum and see if the travelling is easier on a Sunday. Conversely, presumably if you live in Brum £25 will exceed the notional costs of getting to the Mass.

Just as the universal postal service subsidises some letters, so some pilgrims will be subisidising others and in more ways than one, since no doubt people for whom the cost is prohibitive will pay nothing, which is only right.

£25, not much a story really.

Before the readers of The Independent get too irrate, I'll just say that I'm really happy to pay three times towards this visit, as a tax payer, in that collection and the money asked for to go to Birmingham.

Happy. Happy. Happy. :-)


Patricius said...

I agree- in the sense that it is fine for independent earners but I fear that it will discourage families.

leutgeb said...

Of course that is true and here the Parish will meet the costs for people who need it subsidised or paid for. I hope that happens everywhere where it is needed. Some Parishes are in areas of high unemployment etc.

I am happy to stump up more if that's what is needed for other people to go. I just don't think that given the short amount of time left and the fact that we are in the summer holidays that there is any alternative than to make the system, such as it is, for attending these events work as well as possible.

I was just trying to counter today's anti-Pope article.

If you read the comments that follow they rapidly degenerate into the usual paedo/Nazi diaitribe one expects from Britain's most secular secular newspaper.

Dominic Mary said...

The merits of having a fixed cost for everyone - which I agree may well help more than they hurt - does not totally overcome, though, the control being exercised over those who wish to attend the Papal Masses.
Why not let those who choose to do so make their own travel plans : even if they have to be told that they will not be able to park closer than (say) three miles, and will have to walk the last leg, or pay a premium for a local coach to get them there . . . at least it's their decision.
Apart from anything else, for many people the ridiculously early starts are impossible to manage; but they can't go and stay the night before in Birmingham, for instance, because they have to travel from their home parish . . . THAT is what is so unacceptable; that people are not alllowed to make arrangements compatible with their own circumstances.
I bet the Bishops won't be forced to travel from their Cathedrals that morning, though !

leutgeb said...


In fact, I expressed that poorly. The parish is paying the cost and then asking for donations. The important thing that was emphasised was signing up pronto!

Dominic Mary,

I agree that lots of creative possibilities were available akin to when I was in Rome in 2000 where people were camping, bedding down in schools etc. They would probably be illegal in the UK though as everything is so regulated in this country.

However, given that we live in one of the most anti-Catholic countries in Europe with a less than enthusiastic hierarchy, I just think that ordinary Catholics have to work with what is on offer, as we have no choice and show the world that popular Catholicsm is alive and well in England.

Unfortunately England's puritanical, H&S culture is in direct contradiction of Catholicism's 'everyone's very welcome' vibe.

I have no idea what time we'll be leaving and that must also make it difficult for all sorts of people to decide whether they should go or not, but there we are.

I don't suppose the Bishops will be leaving before sunrise, but I have no expectation whatever of being treated like a Bishop.

At the end of the day, I'm sure it could all be done differently (and better), but the Pope is coming and we need to be there to greet him.

Patricius said...

I have both contributed to the parish collection in support of the papal visit and coughed up the twenty-five quid for my ticket to Brum. I am not poor so I can't complain. I was one of the first hundred to sign the online petition in support of the holy father's visit and I would, if necessary, give more. What disturbs me is the fact that I see little enthusiasm for the visit in my own parish and fear that the charge together with the insistence that everyone is bussed in will have a very negative effect upon numbers. A poor showing on the part of Catholics is the very last thing we want given the attitude shown towards the Church by the media in this country over the last few years and to which you refer.

leutgeb said...

I agree with you totally.

My post-long comment is because of my frustration with the situation.

My friends are all keen to go, but I don't know how representative they are of the country.

Dominic Mary said...

As far as I can see, all the Papal Events will be 'sell outs' : but that hardly says very much when the numbers are so small . . . hence my blog posts yesterday.

I'm more than happy to support the Visit, and indeed funding for those who can't afford the £25 . . . I just wish that the Bishops had made better use of 'Catholic power' to show the Government (and everyone else) just how strong we are.

leutgeb said...

I agree, but they haven't, as yet.

I know lots of capable Catholics and they just do their own thing. 'Twould be great if they could get into a position of authority, but that's not the time we are living in, alas.

I think that there will be spontaneous acts in support for the Pope.

A friend of mine is, as we speak, fashioning Papal flags from old sheets which she will fit to those things people had attached to their car during the World Cup and will be travelliung to the West Country with her car so adorned on Friday.

Someone else in the Parish has got T shirts printed.

I'll be playing 'God Bless our Pope' on the organ and so it goes on and putting stuff in my window. I'll probably email the BBC every time they say something rude - could be a busy few days.

The FSSP are organising something for people who couldn't get tickets.

Everyone has their part to play.

None of that will be seen on the telly, but each of these little things will have an effect.

All the Catholics on public transport into London with Papal flags on the 18th Sept, all looking happy, will have an effect.

'Catholic power' has a tendency to do its own thing, cf the relics of St T of L. Litle publicity, lots of devotion, but not many column inches. We don't know the effect of that tour.