So. The Pope survived the gossip of Algerian street cleaners and worse, the singing of hundreds of Catholic schoolchildren. He reminded the British people of their ‘spiritual heritage’. He offered apologies for the ‘unspeakable crimes’ of paedophile priests, about as effective as saying sorry for breaking a window with a cricket ball, but in spite of his undoubted cachet as a tourist attraction, he is seriously out of synch with the people he leads. A leading British newspaper interviewed a cross-section of various congregations – all of whom said they’d ‘travelled a long way to see the Pope’, much as one might travel to an Eric Clapton concert. One said ‘to be in the presence of the Pope is a dream come true’. Ah. Perhaps they were absent during catechism class.
Over 80% of British Catholics believe that a woman has a right to choose in respect of abortion and it is suicidal folly – given that man is a fallen creature and subject to missing the mark in matters of the sins of the flesh – to persist in teaching that the use of condoms contravenes Catholic teaching. Were it not for the vicarious power of the priesthood, thinking people would have long ago abandoned much of the nonsense that priests berate their flock with. I once went to a Catholic mass – the priest used the occasion to beat people up for not adhering with sufficient vigour to the prohibitions of Lent. I walked out feeling that had I wanted to get beaten up, I could have chosen more congenial surroundings.
Given that B16 is being so anal over a rubber balloon, (no pun intended) it’s beyond his comprehension to even consider the appallingness of a woman in a cassock. Incense and bumps don’t go, and I suspect, never will. One Catholic woman interviewed about the issue said she thought it inconceivable, because the priest is ‘Christ’s representative’ and Christ was a man. The stranglehold of fourth century Machiavellian manipulation on the uneducated and credulous echoes down the centuries. Were I not a believer, I’d want to set fire to all the fallacious non-logic and hocus-pocus that passes for acceptable doctrine.
One of these is Cardinal Newman, the other is a rag and bone man from the East End…[Brits of a particular vintage will know him]
The highlight according to the man himself, was the beatification of the Anglican turned Catholic, Cardinal John Henry Newman – a number of schools are named after him. The media were in a feeding frenzy and actually seemed to be in excitable nodding approval of this remarkable, bizarre event. Newman was a prolific writer and fine scholar – he wrote ‘The Dream of Gerontius” which I used to sing to Elgar’s beautiful score, but I think he’d be a bit embarrassed that people are going to pray to him on a particular day in October. But, the ‘blessed’? I’m blessed, for Heaven’s sake, and if anybody would like to celebrate my special day with me, mid-January, near my birthday, will do fine. Bring cake.