The Papal visit has become an opportunity or an excuse for the media to ask some fundamental questions about what kind of a country and people we now are.
I was brought up in a constitutional monarchy. The Queen was Head of an established Protestant Church and ceremonial Head of State. The Prime Minister was the elected leader who with his collegaues made most of the important government decisions. The Archbishop of Canterbury with his colleagues ran the Anglican Church at home and abroad. Religious toleration was assured for all those of differing Christian Churches.
This changed markedly with the growth of EU power. Gradually we had a second unelected government making laws and drawing up budgets. The monarch became a citizen of Europe like the rest of us. Parliament was no longer sovereign in areas of competence taken by the EU.
It has also changed somewhat as a result of social change. Many people feel no allegiance to the Anglican Church or to any Christian community. There are now larger communities of people who follow a different faith. There are many who take a secular or atheist view of the world.
The English Reformation was designed to end the authority of Papal courts and law codes in England, to end Papal power and doctrine and to usher in a more flexible expression of clerical power which was answerable to the English courts and above all to the High Court of Parliament.
At a time of flux and change it would be interesting to hear views on whether we are happy to keep our established Protestant Church, whether we should continue to represent it in the House of Lords through automatic seats for leading Bishops, and whether the Anglican Church has struck the right mood and tone in its response to the Papal visit.