No doubt one of the unmentionable elephants in the national lounge during the pope's visit in September will be the abortion rate. In 2007 - the latest figures I could find without spending the afternoon looking further - abortions in the UK numbered 198,000 for the year. To put it in a more concrete way, that figure is more or less the equivalent of the population of Newcastle.
In this regard, I was fascinated recently to come across Gianna Jessen. Jessen, an American born in 1977, is the survivor of a botched instillation abortion. She lasted eighteen hours in the womb, burning in the saline solution the doctors had injected into her mother's body to procure Gianna's death. She now suffers from cerebral palsy, though she calls it her 'gift'. To shame us all, she has already run two marathons, and plans to run more. Incredibly, her first foster parents treated her badly, but she was eventually adopted by a family who loved her deeply and raised her to be a most remarkable speaker - caustic, witty, profound - and advocate of the prolife cause.
How many of us English Catholics, mitred or merely baptised, could say with Jessen, "I know I am hated because I declare life"?
Prepare to be humbled.