Marking the New Millennium in Rome
On January 6, the Pope closed “the Holy Door of St Peter’s”, through which huge numbers of pilgrims had passed during the previous year in the hope of obtaining an indulgence. The Vatican estimates that 30 million pilgrims visited Rome in the course of the so-called Holy Year.
Inevitably, queues built up at the most popular attractions. Some people were tempted to jump the queue. Those who did so were told that the indulgence would not be effective if there was any cheating. This highlights the sheer outwardness of the whole system of indulgences. The “Holy Door” is obviously no place for anyone who is truly penitent; they will be seeking the One who says from heaven, “I am the door”.
The “Holy Door” was opened to mark the new millennium with all the fanfare of an ecumenical occasion, the Archbishop of Canterbury being among those taking part in the charade. One wonders why those who claim to believe in the merit of passing through a “Holy Door” do not allow people to go through it every year. But Rome must use every possible means to emphasise her claim to be in control of the forgiveness of sins.
Also on January 6, the Pope was entrusting “the lives of the men and women of the new millennium” to the “maternal care” of the Virgin Mary. This is just one more example of the Pope’s fanatical devotion to a woman who is treated as divine. She is not. If she was alive today, she would make plain her abhorrence of what is done in her name.
The Pope, now over 80, has appointed a further 37 clerics to the college of cardinals. This makes it even more likely that the next pope will be a conservative like himself.
Among the new appointments was Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster. It is said that he has a reputation for warm geniality which is sometimes mistaken for liberalism. He is also described as a committed ecumenist, which, being translated, no doubt means that he is committed to whatever is likely to bring the Church of England more firmly into the ambit of the Church of Rome. The new cardinal described his appointment as “a sign of warmth between the Holy See and our hierarchy”. This warmth is not a good omen for the spiritual well-being of England.