Debate: Six months on, what is the lasting legacy of the Pope’s visit to Britain?

Paschal Uche, left, smiles after addressing the Pope outside Westminster Cathedral (CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

Benedict XVI’s visit last September gave renewed energy to the Church in Britain. Even before the Pope left, Cardinal Keith O’Brien was talking about the “Benedict bounce”. In this week’s Catholic Herald, Paschal Uche, who addressed the Pope on behalf of young people outside Westminster Cathedral, says the visit continues to inspire him “on a daily basis”.

On the other hand, little has been done to harness this legacy on a national level. A papal visit legacy programme was released in January, but it doesn’t ask Catholics to do much – apart from share a “resource” or send in a “faith testimony” to the home mission desk of the bishops’ conference – until June, when it suggests Blessed Sacrament processions as close as possible to the feast of Corpus Christi.

Individual bishops, however, seem to be energised, especially in urging Catholics to return to traditional practices such as Confession and the Friday Fast.

And anyway, the laity don’t need to wait for the bishops. Paschal Uche cites Youth 2000, which promotes Eucharistic Adoration, as a way to live out the fruits of the visit.

So, six months on, has the momentum generated by the Pope’s visit been lost? Or has it left a lasting legacy?