The Legacy of the Papal Visit
The four day State visit of Pope Benedict XVI concluded with a farewell address at Birmingham’s international airport on September 19th 2010.The visit had been deemed an immeasurable success by all parties in all quarters. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, noted in his concluding speech to the Holy Father that it had been an “incredibly moving four days” and that “you have really challenged the whole country to sit up and think.” It was this ability to appeal to both the heart and the head that gave the visit both its warmth and gravitas. Pope Benedict XVI was himself impressed by the vigour of the Christian faith still evident in the United Kingdom and commented that: “In the four busy and very beautiful days I spent in this noble land I had the great joy of speaking to the hearts of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom and they spoke to mine, especially with their presence and with the testimony of their faith. Indeed I could see how strong the Christian heritage still is and how active it still is in social life at every level.”
Undoubtedly the abiding legacy of the visit can be interpreted in many ways but, from an educational point of view, this will primarily be through studying the themes that Pope Benedict XVI touched on during his visit, which are embedded in his many speeches and homilies. These themes demonstrate his theological vision and are echoed through his many writings as a theologian and Pope. Without question God is his primary focus for “the God question is the fundamental question, and it sets us down right at the crossroads of human existence.” However, this is not an abstraction for God reveals himself in history for us, for ‘God is love,’ and in the words of St John who embraces this reality, he offers us a kind of summary of the Christian life: “we have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”.
Finally, Pope Benedict XVI concluded his historic visit to Scotland on September 17th 2010 by expressing his joy and by extending his apostolic blessing, as successor to St Peter, to the spiritual sons and daughters of St Andrew. “Dear friends, I express once more my joy at celebrating this Mass with you. I am happy to assure you of my prayers in the ancient language of your country: Sìth agus beannachd Dhe dhuibh uile; Dia bhi timcheall oirbh; agus gum beannaicheadh Dia Alba. God’s peace and blessing to you all; God surround you; and may God bless the people of Scotland!”
 Benedict XVI, General Audience, Apostolic Journey to the United Kingdom, Saint Peter’s Square Wednesday, 22 September 2010.
 Ratzinger, Joseph (Pope Benedict XVI) (2007 c), Jesus of Nazareth, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, 29.
 “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (John 4:16).
 Deus Caritas Est (1) P1.
 Address of John Paul II to the staff and the students of Saint Andrew’s College of Education, Bearsden, Glasgow. Tuesday, 1 June 1982.
 Pope Benedict’s Homily at Bellahouston Park 5:15 pm Glasgow, Thursday, 16 September 2010.