Over a hundred Evangelical Protestants mounted an effective witness outside Westminster Abbey on Friday, September 17th. The witness was organised by the Protestant Truth Society in concert with other Protestant organisations, notably Christian Watch.
It had been agreed with the police that those protesting would have a cordoned off area outside the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre. In the event, the police did not keep their word, leaving protesters and Romanists, as well as the general public, all milling around together. But God over ruled because it enabled those witnessing to engage with several individuals, as well as with reporters. Had the original arrangement gone ahead this would not have been possible.
Some Roman Catholic people were making a lot of noise, shouting and cheering, the police making only a half hearted effort to quell the racket. Some of those witnessing took advantage of this and began to preach. In addition many hundreds of tracts were given out right there, as well as thousands elsewhere. There were many very serious and worthwhile conversations and the interaction between the Protestants and Romanists was quite amicable on the whole.
As the Pope approached in his pope mobile the Romanists started to cheer. The Protestants took up the cry of Anti-Christ! Anti-Christ! which the Pope must have heard. There were a number of banners carrying the same message right on the front row.
The police were surprisingly relaxed which made for a good witness as heavy handedness by the police can often cause trouble.
The numbers of Romanists there were surprisingly low, a thousand at the most. It was hard to determine the number of those witnessing because of the intermingling of people, but there was certainly well over a hundred, some said two hundred. It is seldom that one sees such a number witnessing at such events so this was very heartening. The protest by the sodomite lobby on Saturday was far bigger which is a very sad commentary on the state of the nation.
The media practically ignored the Protestant witness. The TV cameras only gave a fleeting glimpse of the banners with no time to read them. Given the morning to night coverage of every move of the Pope this was biased reporting on a huge scale. Apparently, the first broadcast of events outside Westminster Abbey said that those protesting were there to greet the pope. Somebody contacted them to correct this blatant 'error'.
The witness continued on Saturday with thousands of tracts being given out. Two pastors got to preach within Hyde Park before they were moved out by the police but continued their vocal witness outside the entrance. Over two days several thousands of tracts were placed in RC hands, while hundreds heard the preaching. May it please God, by these endeavours, to give the increase as only He can.
Sunday, September 19th, the Pope was in Birmingham for the beatification of Cardinal Newman. Eight Christians turned up to witness within the cordoned area, permission having been obtained at the last minute. A place by the entrance to one of the coach parks was allocated. It also happened to be on the route along which the Pope was travelling to a nearby oratory. Policemen were stationed ten yards apart along both sides of the road as far as the eye could see. Steel barriers had also been erected in anticipation of crowds of onlookers. As it turned out there was scarcely fifty spread out along half a mile of road. The papal cavalcade, with eleven police outriders swept by. Those witnessing held up open Bibles but the Pope looked the other way.
Crowds of weary Romanists, some blue with the cold, flooded along the footpath. It took two hours for them to pass. In that time, three thousand tracts were given out. Most accepted and a relative few refused. Very few tracts were thrown on the pavement. Many of the 'pilgrims' had been in the park for twelve hours. In addition, many had travelled for several hours to get there and faced a long journey home. Having milked them dry, Rome wasn't interested in how the old and infirm made it to the car park.
Hawkers were still selling flags with a picture of the Pope with three crosses in the background. He took pride of position right in the centre and in front of the middle cross.
Once again, several conversations took place and much ground was covered. Most of these took place in a good spirit, only one threatening to shove a tract in a woman's face. Some Romanists who saw it apologised for his behaviour.
Over the three days of events in England thirty thousand tracts had been placed in Roman Catholic hands. In addition, several thousand had been distributed in Scotland. This has been an unprecedented opportunity to witness by word of mouth and tract to several thousands of benighted Romanists. Pray to God for these lost souls that it may please Him to deliver them from the darkness and superstition of Roman Catholicism into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.