Strange confluence of Catholic and royal events continues this weekend
Mother Teresa and Princess Diana together in New York in 1997, months before they died.
April 28th, 2011
05:10 PM ET

Strange confluence of Catholic and royal events continues this weekend

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Have you heard about the historic event this weekend that's drawing hundreds of thousands to one of Europe’s leading capitals for a long day of pageantry?

No, not Friday’s royal wedding in London. I’m referring to Sunday’s beatification of Pope John Paul II in Rome.

It’s hard to deny that international media coverage of William and Kate’s nuptials is overshadowing preparations for Sunday’s beatification, the last step before sainthood.

A spokesman for the BBC said he didn't know how many of its personnel will be on hand for Sunday’s beatification but estimated that 550 BBCers are covering Friday’s wedding festivities: "It's likely to be the most watched event of the century so far.”

This isn’t the first time a royal happening has eclipsed a Roman Catholic one. In fact, it turns out to be the latest in a series of strange confluences of big events within the two camps, whose relationship has been famously frosty for centuries.

The last time around, it was the church that trumped royalty. Pope John Paul II died days before the last royal wedding - Prince Charles’ marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles in April 2005.

Then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, both of whom were scheduled to attend the wedding, also were expected at the pope's funeral.

“There was a crisis meeting between the Vatican and the British royal family,” says Mark Saunders, a royal biographer and contributor to CNN's royal wedding coverage. “And it was pointed out that it would be easier to put off Charles and Camilla’s wedding than to put off the pope’s funeral.”

“You can imagine that relations are going be strained between those factions during the best of times,” he added.

Relations between the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church have been tense since King Henry VIII broke with Rome in the 16th century and formed the Anglican Church.

With less than a week till Charles and Camilla's wedding, their ceremony was postponed a day, from Friday to Saturday, to make room for the pope’s funeral.

Eight years earlier, leading lights of the royal family and the church vied for international attention, this time both in tragedy: Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died within a week of each other in 1997.

“Many lamented that Mother Teresa, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and ‘living saint’ if there ever was one, was overshadowed by Diana's death and funeral,” says David Gibson, a Catholic journalist and Vatican expert.

The tragedy of Diana’s death in a car accident at age 36 garnered more media attention than Mother Teresa’s passing at age 87.

“But there were connections between those two women as well,” Gibson notes. In 1992, Diana met with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, a reported high point of the princess’ trip to India, and the two met again in New York just months before they died.

On the 10th anniversary of their deaths, in 2007, the two were featured together on a British postage stamp - an unusual sight in a country where the monarch heads a competing church.

Centuries after Henry VIII broke with the Vatican, a law barring a Roman Catholic or someone married to a Roman Catholic from taking the throne is still on the books in Britain. Prime Minister David Cameron denounced the law this month.

If royal-Catholic tensions continue this weekend - with some Catholics no doubt miffed about the beatification playing second fiddle to the royal wedding - Gibson says he doubts John Paul would have minded.

“He would certainly have loved the focus on the royal marriage as an event undergirding the importance of the family,” Gibson says.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Britain • Catholic Church • Europe • Pope John Paul II

soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. HeavenSent

    Most likely Mother Teresa is in hell. Catholics alive still have a chance. Turn to Jesus before it is too late!

    April 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Dave

      You don't know anything about Catholicism, do you?

      April 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Me

      You need to convert to enter heaven. Devil is whispering to your ear.

      April 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I whispered in your rear.


      April 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Phony heavensent. You can go back to your carnal cave dwellings now aka your bedroom that your parents provide.


      April 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  2. Guest

    Look at the pictures of the oppressed Nuns covering their head like Muslim women!

    April 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      They are w h o r e s of Satan.

      April 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I'm a mold s p o r e in Salad.


      April 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The phony heavensent speaks of w h o r e s and those that love and follow satan. You're hitting too close to your worm hole that you have yet to climb out of phony stalker.


      April 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  3. The mason

    They are both one in the same IT IS A MASONIC RITUAL OF SACRIFICE IN EXCHANGE FOR?

    April 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  4. Shut The Front Door

    Kate Shmate. Check out Pippa. Va Va Voom.

    April 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tripping over those carnal thoughts of yours. She's a Christian and I'm sure she'll marry a respectful Christian man. If you want to be in the race, start reading, comprehending and abiding in Jesus' truth.


      April 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  5. Jason the Pendleton Rat

    James 3: 1-2
    Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize we will be judged more strictly, for we all fall short in many respects. If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man...

    James 3:5
    In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretentions. Consider how a small fire can set a huge forest ablaze.

    James 3:8-10
    No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord, and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God.

    James 3:11 Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water ?

    By their fruits you will know them. (Mathew 7:16)

    April 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  6. detroitjames

    So fantasy meets fantasy.

    April 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  7. david

    There is not an organization on the face of this earth that is more thoroughly demonic than Catholicism. It is riddled with heathen teachings and doctrines of devils.

    April 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • MarkinFL


      April 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • MSA4Liberty

      please deal with your mommy and daddy issues in an appropriate place, like your therepist or court-appointed counselor.

      For you to think that you have some sort of insight that 1/6 of the humans on Earth that are Catholic fail to understand – I'd be interested in hearing what it is. If you think that somehow in the 40 years of life you've been here on Earth that somehow you've stumbled on the truth that 20 centuries of theology missed – I'd be interested in hearing what it is.

      I'll be praying for you David, God still loves you even if you don't love yourself (and don't tell me you do love yourself because people who do and are mentally healthy don't have a need to attack others who disagree with them in an unsolicited manner.) I hope you are getting the help you need to deal with your feelings of inadaquencies... God Bless...

      April 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Magic

      "I hope you are getting the help you need to deal with your feelings of inadaquencies."

      Excuse me, but you, in your helplessness and powerlessness, credit imaginary supernatural beings with either aiding or harming you. We all have inadequacies; some deal with them in a realistic way, and some escape into fantasy.

      April 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Mezzo

      Your misunderstandings of what the Catholic Church teaches appear to run deep. Read the book "Rome Sweet Home" sometime to get a very simple rundown of beliefs; it's much better to understand facts than to live a life of misunderstanding and hatred.

      April 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Floyd

      @Magic – problem is David’s realistic way deals with it using hate and bigotry. You seem okay with this. Also, it is not very realistic when it is such a wrong statement. Being a Catholic, I am disturbed by the bigotry by both of you and all those that post on these boards in such a manner….no matter who they are targeting. I give and help from my heart. How can you call me evil?
      David refers to devils, so I imagine he has a faith of some sort….are you agreeing with him and mocking him at the same time?

      April 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Magic

      "How can you call me evil?"

      I did not call you evil... mistaken and misguided, perhaps.

      If david believes that supernatural beings do evil things (or beneficial things), that would put him into the mistaken and misguided group also.

      One can be a bigot *toward* something too, you know.

      "Bigot: A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs."

      Many Catholics (and many Christians, and true believers of all stripes) fit this definition.

      April 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Floyd


      Correction: Many people of ‘all’ beliefs and non-beliefs fit this description. Faithful or atheists, bigotry exists, but you swipe it as only Christians and believers of all stripes. You proved my point though. As long as it bigotry towards Christians or the faithful, you are okay with it. I think most posts by the atheists also contradict your point. Seems you can’t even hate equitably. Stop hating people Magic. You are a bigot…time to look in the mirror.

      April 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Magic

      "As long as it bigotry towards Christians or the faithful, you are okay with it."

      That was not my point, and you know it. I was simply saying that some people who call others bigots don't fully understand the meaning of the word. One can be close-minded a proponent *for* something. "My way or the highway".

      Sure some non-believers fit the bill... so what?

      And I'll thank you for not calling me names, sir.

      April 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  8. Ruva

    @Up Your Rear Admiral

    April 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral


      April 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Nudge

      Wow! that was an amazigly thoughtful post! such deep thoughts! I am amazed.

      April 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  9. All Right Then

    A wink is as good as a nod any day. They are decorative at least, and seem to have avoided many of the errors of others so far. I wish them well.

    April 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  10. Coriolana

    Live princess in a bridal gown will trump dead pope anytime. Thank God.

    April 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • .

      Trump for Saint in 2012!

      April 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Jesus

      Trump is not a dead Pope. He is a morally bankrupt egomaniac, but I can see how you could mistake him for being a Pope.

      May 1, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  11. Reality

    A royal ripoff followed by continued theological mumbo jumbo but it does provide for many jobs.

    April 29, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Adelina

      Reality, read some Russian literature if you can't comprehend the Bible. Americans like you are too empty.

      April 29, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • NL

      Hey, if we're compiling a list of literature better than the Bible shall I suggest the works of Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling top the list? And lets not forget the other classics of ancient myth such as the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid.

      April 29, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • CN

      or perhaps, adelina, he comprehends it too well. how is it, for instance, that you have a computer? didn't jesus command you to give away all of your possessions and follow him?

      April 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Nonimus

      why go that far? Let's start with Dr. Seuss.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Talk about setting the bar low! I've seen better writing on the side of subway trains.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • MSA4Liberty

      @Adelina – you got it right on... some people can't think past what the TV told them was true...

      April 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Jesus

      Adelina, have you any ideas how your religion was created? YOU READ about the 1st Council of Nicea.

      May 1, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  12. JJ in CT

    Royalty and Clergy – both great cons! Keep giving them you money.....

    April 29, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Adelina

      @JJ, it's common people who need someone to look up to and listen to(clergy) and a symbol to unite and celebrate national glory(royalty). Don't be so pathetic in life. Does atheism have any meaning? Not at all.

      April 29, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Jujubeans

      I agree with JJ

      April 29, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • NL

      Of course, the French were just being silly when they opposed the class system that placed the elite and the clergy above the common folk. Liberation and equality are way overrated anyway, right?

      April 29, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Nonimus

      You only need to look up to someone, when you are on your knees.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I look up to people that EARN my respect. Nations should glory in their good deeds, not some random aristocrats.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • NL

      Like we admire self-made billionaires more than their children who inherit all their money via biological good luck?

      April 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  13. fuyuko

    Seems strange to me that Catholics are still diverting energy from the worship of God to ancestor worship in the form of Saints. I am sure the money spent in investigation and debate on beautification could better be served helping the poor.

    April 29, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • NL

      So would the money spent battling against same-se.x marriage, but everyone has their priorities, don't they?

      April 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • momof2

      good point, especially when they criticize the Asian practice of ancestor worship as "heathen" and "idolatrous". Pot, meet kettle. And at least one can somewhat justify ancestor worship with "if it weren't for them I wouldn't exist".

      and no, I do not practice ancestor worship.

      April 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • JA

      And it also seems strange that people STILL make themselves sound ignorant when they say Catholics worship saints. Catholics don't WORSHIP saints...they may pray to them to ask for help in certain situations, but they do not WORSHIP them the way they worship God...

      I'm not a catholic btw.

      April 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Floyd

      I am pretty sure the RCC helps more poor, suffering people around the globe than any other organization....and by a lot. So until you are contributing, and many of you are not maybe hold your criticism.

      April 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Southern Celt

      Learn something about Catholicism before criticizing it.
      Worship belongs to God alone. Saints are nothing more than examples of how we should live and act. Since they are closer to God than we are, we ask them to pray for us.

      April 29, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  14. Praylium


    spiritual opinion from an expriest who was both Anglican and Roman.

    April 29, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  15. Adelina

    The royal couple just got married!! Congratulations!
    May God restore Great Britain to Himself in His truth!

    April 29, 2011 at 7:44 am |
    • gerald

      Yes, may they reunite with the one, holy Catholic apostolic Church. Amen.

      April 29, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • sonofgadfly

      Eeew! Sorry about that. My beverage just shot out through my nose.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Liz

      @Adelina ain't gonna happen only 38% there believe in God.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Adelina, it was a beautiful loving couple (man and woman) joining their union in Jesus' spiritual truth.


      April 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Jesus

      She is a commoner who becomes Royal when William marries her. It takes a marriage to make her Royal. She moves from "Her not so majestic consort" to "her Royal Majesty".

      May 1, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  16. Methusalem969

    All TV channels worldwide are showing the Royal Wedding uninterruptued LIVE. The mouthpiece of the Arab world - Al-Jazeera - which is BBCs Arab franchise - stopped its live coverage the moments priests begun reading their sermons inside the flowery Westminster Abbey. Instead, Al-Jazeera English prefer to go back to the Libyan desert, denying millions of spiritually hungry Arabs to hear the word "JESUS CHRIST". Of course, as you all can see we are living on two different worlds with children of Ishmael.

    April 29, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • Adelina

      Arabs know about Jesus. They need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and He died on the cross for their sins and rose from the dead.

      April 29, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • Methusalem969

      No, they don't! Isa ain't JESUS CHRIST!

      April 29, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • +

      Is too!

      April 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      As an arab, we dont just know the non-sense you are referring to we are also aware your fictional character lines up with the rest of epic. Say hi to santa, the easter bunny and jesus christ was born on 25th december

      Have a nice day

      April 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      They believe jesus was a prophet, why would they be offended by the name?

      April 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • robert

      yeah true. I am a Christian Arab living in the USA. Aljazeera stopped but other channels had the wedding on and facebook is full with wedding related subjects in arabic. So they all watched it and all enjoyed it. They dont have to agree about Jesus but most respect what you think so we need, as Christians, have to respect what they believe and forget about the extreme minority

      April 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • HeavenSent


      Arabs know about Jesus. They need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and He died on the cross for their sins and rose from the dead.

      April 29, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Frankly Speaking.., Jesus Christ was conceived on the 25th of December. That's when His soul came into the world to walk among us.

      To the phony heavensent. You can use your own multiple handles while you stalk these pages.


      April 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  17. Sunita K

    Although I find the Royal wedding very intriguing since it is a modern day fairy-tale, I find it highly inappropriate for the British monarchy to spend millions on a wedding when there are so many people suffering in this world. I find it very "monarchy" and selfish of them not to care ........I am honestly surprised the Monarchy still exists. This ostentatious waste of money makes me very sad....I mean the cake itself is for some–a year's work salary....

    April 28, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      How much is the rcc spending on trying to rehabilitate the probable criminal pope-a-dope jpii? Who has a bigger obligation to help the poor? Any chance the monarchy and/or the prince and future princess do in fact contribute in very significant ways with charitable causes?

      April 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • fuyuko

      very true. hereditary leadership, even in a limited form should be a thing of the past.

      April 29, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • RedRatfish

      Look up CatholicCharities. The Church does far more than any other denomination in terms of caring for the poor. I would love to see you prove otherwise

      April 30, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I'm sure that both the royal wedding along with the Pope being made a saint will have money flowing in which will help those that need help. You act like those people have no souls. Everyone mentioned have charities that they maintain and provide for and ensure help is given directly to those that need help. Not like any of us that have no clue where our donations go unless we do it ourselves.


      April 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  18. Joe

    The atrocious anti- Catholic laws of Great Britain aside – the royal wedding eclipses that of the JPII event because for all the errors of the Church of England, the marriage is still traditional in form; something that beatifications of the last 40 plus years are not and particularly that of JPII, a rush job with questionable merit.

    April 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Silly

      I agree about the rushing. If he is truly blessed or a saint, he can wait a while. Timing seems purposeful here. BTW I am Catholic.

      April 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  19. Out Of Ireland

    It is illegal in Brittan for a Catholic to become queen or king- The orange order and those who bend their knee to some inbred pompous clown with a crown are anti-Catholic. It is no wonder the biased brit press is not covering the beatification. The brits killed Diana, we all know Fergy. The prince is marrying a women who shares his gene pool. What more should be said. Free the Six Counties. Ireland 32!!!!

    April 28, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • MarkinFL


      April 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Amy

      We all share the same gene pool if you go back far enough.

      April 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • SoulCatcher

      Thank God I don't share your gene pool. I'm 100% Tolkien Elf.

      April 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • donny

      congrats on being a complete moron !

      April 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Out of Ireland, you don't sound like you know your Christian heritage.


      April 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  20. tallulah13

    One deals with living people creating a life together (with as much pomp and ceremony as possible), the other deals with a dead person who will remain dead. Royalty, be it princes of churches or kings of England is a concept that is truly obsolete, but if forced, I'd watch the wedding.

    However, I'm pretty much only watching the hockey playoffs right now. It's been an excellent post-season so far.

    April 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Agreed! Go Flyers!

      April 29, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      gotta agree. And Kate has too much padding for the game she's playing anyway.

      Plus we know that William is going to score tonight, and that the dead pope never will again (and should have gone in the penalty box if he ever did score). Hockey is more fun to watch partly because it's way less predictable .

      April 29, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Coriolana

      I hope getting that load of self-importance off your chest felt great. Wasn't it fun to puff yourself out at the Royal couple's expense?

      April 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Too funny, Coriolana. At whose "expense" is the wedding again?

      And where do the previous posters make statements that "puff themselves up"? I think not.

      Hockey is a great equalizer. A lot of people would love to lace up skates against a dopey popey or the stuffy puffy royals. A few hard checks against the boards are in order.

      April 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • interesting spin

      @ "One deals with living people creating a life together (with as much pomp and ceremony as possible), the other deals with a dead person who will remain dead." -True... but one will live on forever in sainthood (eventually). The others will live on in history books. I think Sainthood has a little more oomf than a history book.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Sainthood is just another history book.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Shayna

      GO WINGS!

      April 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Floyd

      Hockey is the greatest sport in the world. Could care less about the royals, but wish them well. Love JP2 (maybe rushed to sainthood) and I am Catholic, but the hockey playoffs are the best in years. You said it SeanNJ – Go Flyers!!!!!

      April 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • MikeB

      All the coverage of this wedding makes me wish that England had followed France's example in dealing with royalty.

      April 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Jeff S

      Regarding hockey, the postseason was extremely exciting, until it ended in game 7 OT in Vancouver. Now on to basketball – bleh.

      April 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Jose Gonzalez

      Speaking of predictable; this wedding is going to end in divorce. England is divorced from its historic faith; they only go to church to attend a wedding or a funnral. Millions of dollars spend to exibit a faith that is not lived. In a few days this wedding will be forgotten. On the other hand, a church or parish will be built in honor of Pope John Paul II.

      April 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Go LEAFS! They should be releasing the parade route for 2012 any day now...

      April 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Eric G

      I agree, GO WINGS!!!!!!

      April 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I was trying to stay non-denominational, but yes... GO WINGS!

      April 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      It was a pleasure seeing a man and a woman celebrating their love and faithfulness in Jesus Christ's truth.


      April 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.