The Pope and the RC church are unique
Of all the world's religious systems and organisations the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church are unique in terms of the influence that they can wield on governments, politicians and heads of state
Whatever the Reformation achieved and nothwithstanding the recent and worldwide resurgence of Islam, the visit of the Pope to Britain has served to prove some very important points:
- The Pope is the only figure in the world leading a religious organisation which can command the scale of societal, political and media response and deference
- The Pope's influence spans the world
- The Roman Catholic Church is the only religion in the world with a single leader recognised and acknowledged both within his own religion and in the world beyond
- The standing of the office of the Pope is such that it can weather the most damaging of problems such as the recent child abuse scandal
- The Pope is probably the only religious leader in the world who is able to convene high-profile gatherings of political leaders and then berate them for anti-Christian policies and the 'aggressive secularism' in their societies
- The figure and office of the Pope can still attract the vast majority of Roman Catholics even while many of them may strongly disagree with (some) official Roman Catholic positions e.g. male-only and celibate priesthood, birth control, civil partnerships
- The Roman Catholic Church in terms of its being a coherent religious body of such scale has no equal
- High profile Protestant leaders are prepared to acknowledge and defer to the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope in a way that would not be reciprocated by it or him.
- The British monarch defers to the Pope (by agreeing to wear black when on the Pontiffs home ground)
Footnote: It is important to note the Pope is not a citizen of the EU: the UK monarch and other European heads of state are.The Queen who is head of the (Protestant) Church of England is a citizen of Europe and therefore subject to its laws.