The Pope visits London, 2010.
Hyde Park, near Speaker’s Corner, September 2010.
It was a fairly quiet affair. While the hacks reported a 80,000 turn out, I didn’t think there were quite so many. If there were, then perhaps many were behind the fences as the ticketed event excluded many of the faithful. The uniformed policemen had little to do, aside from chatting up the girls.
Of course, I was there more as a vulture to document those who didn’t buy a ticket to see the Pope, but showed up anyway. There was an instance where an elderly couple stood there, waiting as we all did for what seemed like hours till the sun went down, before the Pope-mobile finally made its way down to Hyde Park. She asked if I was Catholic. I said no, and she said she wasn’t neither. But her husband was, he was ‘disappointed’ with the Church, hence the long faces.
There were some oddities with a ticketed event, for a vigil, that I assumed was meant to reach the masses. It was run like a rock concert, tall green borders separated the rest of fawning masses from those who paid to see the man himself. On one instance, a little old lady – on crutches no less – hurried to a slit between where two green walls met, and peered into it, hoping to catch a glimpse of the leader of her faith.
I’d like to think the excluded are those who are most faithful, they sang praise and worship songs to a green wall, as they could only hear but a murmur from the exceptionally muted speakers with which the Pope’s voice could hardly be heard.
A portrait of faithful Britain ?
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