Pope’s visit a success

The Pope in Morningside. Image: Maxim Lewerenz

The Pope’s visit to Edinburgh has largely been seen as successful by those involved in the event, with crowds throughout the town and few major incidents. Reactions to the tour by members of the public were diverse, but also mainly positive.

Among those in the front row as Pope Benedict passed Princes Street was Rose Langan, 69, who travelled to Edinburgh to see the Pope with her son Nicholas, who lives here.

She said: “It is nowhere near as busy as I thought it would be. I came at 9am expecting to struggle to see. But I managed to pitch my camping chair right at the front so I am delighted. What a privilege it is to be here in this lovely city to see the Pope. He is such a powerful man and isn’t it wonderful the Queen invited him here.

“I saw Pope John Paul when he was here last time in 1982. It was a brilliant speech he made to Scotland that day, encouraging the youth to unite. I have brought the welcome flag I bought that day along with me today. I was hoping to go to Glasgow for the Mass but since the busses got cancelled and I have bad knees there is no way I can walk from the station. So Edinburgh is my place for today and I will watch the rest on television.

“It makes me sad that so few young people go to church today but perhaps he will bless some of them today and they will come. As a faith we may be getting smaller but we must unite and then we will see the positives once more.”

About a dozen Spanish tourists shouted abuse at the Pope as he drove past them at the east end of Princes Street. He smiled at them, either unaware or unwilling to hear their cries.

Another visitor to Edinburgh was Andrew Snape, 34, who came up from Blackpool. He said he “would die for the Pope”.

He said: “I welcome his holiness to my country. I was four years old when the last Pope visit happened and although I was young I do remember being aware of what a momentous thing it was. The crowd is not gigantic, I will admit that, but the people I have spoken to know what a blessing it is that we have the Pope here in our country. Long live the Pope. I hope he makes people think about the history of the country and makes more of us proud of what we have.

“He is incredibly powerful and no matter what the media says about him he is too strong. He will overcome all this rubbish. I would die for the Pope and his devotion. He will tell us that we all work too much and concentrate on the wrong things in life. Life is for living and Edinburgh today is very much alive with people who feel that way.”

Amy Putman, 27, is doing a PHD in film studies at the University of Edinburgh. She said she hoped the city would “look good on TV”.

She said: “I am here to pay my respect to a man who represents millions of people around the world. It is incredible that he is in Edinburgh and I still can’t quite believe this is it already.

“He has had a bad press lately but I believe he has all the best intentions to spread a good message of love. To know so many people are watching around the world is exciting too and I hope Edinburgh looks good on TV and comes across well. I am sure it will.”