.- Based on the results of a recent survey and the disappearance of protest plans in Scotland, the spokesman for the Scottish Bishops' Conference (SCMO) has declared that the Pope's visit has the support of the people. Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien said that this result confirms the good nature of the people of his country.
In a survey carried out among a pool of 1,007 adults by Opinion Research Business in early June, 31 percent of those polled were "Very or fairly favorable" to the Pope's visit on Sept. 16, as opposed to just five percent who "Object" or "Strongly object" to his presence. Incidentally, more than half of those surveyed had no opinion.
The lack of opposition to the papal visit has led the "Protest the Pope" group to "ditch" their plans to march in Scotland, opting rather for a single demonstration in London, SCMO spokesman Peter Kearney pointed out. Reacting to the poll results, he declared on Sunday that, "It’s now clear to everybody that this tiny minority of secularists speak for nobody but themselves.
"Most" of the nation's people, he added, "will be delighted to hear that they’ve given up their attempt to spoil what promises to be a very exciting day for all Scots.”
The Holy Father will spend most of the first day of his U.K. visit in Scotland, first visiting Queen Elizabeth at her summer residence near Edinburgh and later celebrating Mass in Glasgow. His visit on Sept. 16 coincides with the feast of St. Ninian, the country's first saint.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien also responded positively to the poll on Sunday, saying he was "greatly heartened" and asserting that the results "again (confirm) that the vast majority of Scots are warm-hearted and welcoming of all people.
"Next month’s papal visit," he said, "is going to be a truly historic occasion for our country and one which I hope all Scots will share in and enjoy.”