Pope Benedict has yet to say anything I agree with. I don't think rock music is the spawn of the devil; it seemed to me barmy to take back into the church the bishop who had denied the Holocaust; and I wouldn't dream of taking contraceptive advice from a bachelor in his seventies. But then I'm not a Catholic. The Pope, it transpires, is. Deal with it.
From Britain no less.
And it reminds me of something. Pope Benedict, and by extension the Catholic Church in general, has been suffering in the last few weeks from nothing more than (what I shall now in my 'blogger omnipotence dub) Commbox Whine. Commbox whiners are those who get into your commbox and say, "I cruise around the internet all the time and visit all kinds of blogs but yours is always the one I find most offensive. Why are you so mean?..." The only proper repose to which is, "Then don't come here."
What the Pope needs to say is "This is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has always believed these things, will always believe these things and will not fail to continue saying them out loud. If you don't like it, change the channel."
This is what bugs me about all this self-righteous indignation on the left. It's disingenuous and a sign that they don't really believe what they say.
No one is holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to go to Mass. Likewise, the Pope has no more power to make anyone do or not do anything but that of the force of the truth of what he says. Ignore it and carry on as you like; no one has the power to stop you. The fact that they are constantly up in arms about what he says but does not have the power to enforce, might...just might indicate that they feel, deep in the bottom of their shriveled, withered little souls, that he is right. If they really had the courage of what they obviously take for convictions, they would just shrug. The fact that they invariably start foaming at the mouth whenever he speaks might be, to the casual observer, an indication of a lack of total confidence in their opinions.
I'm just sayin' is all..."
When is a crowd of a million fans, fainting in the heat and being trampled to death in excitement, a sign of unpopularity? When you are Pope Benedict XVI, that's when. Despite the fact that his week-long tour of the African continent has been playing to record numbers, the Pontiff has had nothing but criticism from the First World press. He's a "disaster", he's "out of touch with the real world", his whole operation needs "a radical shake-up".
The failures, according to his critics, lie both in his medium and his message. The present Vatican has yet to come to terms with the worldwide, 24-hour blogosphere. The press office shuts up shop for the day at three in the afternoon. No one there has got to grips with Google. Stories leap out at strange times of the day and night, and they hadn't seen any of them coming. Bless… but who can blame them? It's a rum old world in which Jade Goody reaches near-sanctification for her telepathic relationship with the media and the Pope gets rubbished because he's baffled by it.
His message that Aids "cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even aggravate the problem" has infuriated health workers the world over. But what exactly is a Pope for? Is he there to make public service announcements in accordance with current scientific thinking, or is he there to stick up for what his Church has long believed in? The relationship between Catholics and condoms was strained long before Benedict XVI got the job. Millions of Catholic couples take the independent decision to practise contraception, but that is no reason for the Pope to change what he preaches. It is absurd even to expect him to move with the times. He's a religious leader, not an interior decorator.
...then she kind of starts blithering incoherently, but it was good up to then.