Indeed, Father!Most of my atheist acquaintances have been cranking the volume to 11 lately about “the cost” to the nation of hosting His Holiness. “Our taxes this”, “our taxes that”, they whine. But I’ve managed to silence them. Though I’m lacking in full knowledge of “British Tax History”, I averred that Catholics have been paying a British state levy since at least 1066. Moreover, given that this is the first state visit of a Roman Pontiff to these shores and the likelihood that it will cost the UK taxpayer roughly £10-13m out of a total £20m tab (the Church is paying for circa £7m?), then it would seem that, not only is such an occasion long overdue but also that British Catholics in the last 944 years, at least, have coughed-up more than enough collectively. And then some.Furthermore, when one considers the full list of those Her Majesty has welcomed on the state wallet since 1952 (Messrs Ceaucescu and Mugabe in recent memory) it puts His Holiness’ prayerful trip into sharper perspective. See here... http://www.royal.gov.uk/RoyalEventsandCeremonies/StateVisits/InwardStatevisits.aspx...for the list of those we’ve welcomed in the last 58 years: some nice people - plus a smattering of tyrants, murderers, orchestrators of state-sponsored-terrorism, proponents of human rights abuses, bomb makers, racketeers, commies, Marxists and general freeloaders. Oh and Carla Bruni.Viva il Papa!
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