Peter Hitchens cannot see why anyone would want to invite the Pope to Britain in her current condition.
Perhaps because the Catholic vote decides the United Kingdom’s General Elections.
Think of all those marginal seats in the Midlands and the North West. Think of the fact that never voting SNP is an article of faith among Scots Catholics, who have no desire to go down the road of who is “really” Scots and who is not, and who more than note the SNP’s hostility to Catholic schools; this does no harm to Labour in the West of Scotland, and keeps several Lib Dems with tiny yet somehow permanent majorities in the Highlands and Islands.
Think of the very similar attitude, also mostly to Labour’s benefit, among Catholics in Wales, up to and including the current Secretary of State, the ardour of whose Unionism is comparable only to that of his Catholicism. Think of how, in a tight spot, the practising Catholic vote for the SDLP rather than for Sinn Fein (which, as much as anything else, is as hostile to the SNP to Catholic schools) could very well make the difference between a Labour majority and a hung Parliament. Think of how the Tories’ takeover of the UUP is being specifically aimed at those very many Catholics who support the Union in principle.
All in all, think on.
And not just about the United Kingdom. A disorganised but very discernible Catholic vote is also decisive, actually or potentially, in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, just for a start.
In each of those countries, as in this one, there is the need to identify five policy priorities in each of the pro-life interest, the pro-family interest, the pro-worker interest, the anti-war interest, the Distributist interest, the Catholic interest in public service provision, the Catholic interest in foreign policy, the interest in defending the Christian heritage of that and other countries, and the interest corresponding to our own in maintaining the closest possible economic, social, cultural and political ties among the historic Kingdom of England (including the Principality of Wales), the historic Kingdom of Scotland, and the historic Kingdom of Ireland.
Against this, and against support for a community project identified within each parish throughout the country, candidates would be rated and those ratings made public in the run-up to each election.
The work is starting in the United Kingdom. Let it also start elsewhere, as a matter of the utmost urgency.