This is the last day of the Papal visit; the great day of the Beatification Mass – the main reason for the visit – and of the farewell; obviously, this is also the day for some reflections.
We have, in the last days, seen a lot of people (many more than expected, actually) on the roadside, cheering and waving flags or just showing sympathy for a man of whom they perceive, more or less dimly, the intellectual and spiritual stature. We have listened to people saying what a beautiful experience it was to see the Pope, share this moment & Co.
I wonder, though, how many people have experienced not only an exciting moment, but a change; how many people have thought, during these days, at least once that if the man is spiritual and a good chap and firmly opposed to abortion, perhaps one should need to give some thought as to whether legal abortion is really fine; if the Church is an important spiritual instance operating for the good of men, whether Her opposition to contraception and divorce is really so wrong; if the Church is still the moral guide of our civilisation, if homosexuality is compatible with it.
I wouldn’t expect a radical change, but at least a moment of reflection; a pause in which uncomfortable questions are posed to one’s own internal tribunal; to be hastily cast aside perhaps but – once the seed has been planted – ready to germinate when more opportune times come (which sadly often means: bereavement, disease or some other minor or major life’s earthquake).
Allow me to say that I am not very confident that this, or any other papal visit, will have a lasting effect. The vast majority of the people on the roadside, and watching TV, will deal with the Pope as they deal with any other media entertainment: something used for the excitement or interest of the moment and to be rapidly cast aside to follow the next excitement. Hence the oceanic masses greeting John Paul II whilst the pews kept emptying; hence the vast number of people who have “seen the Pope”, but haven’t accepted one word more of what he says than they already did; hence the usual “but” mentality (as in “I am a Catholic, but…” ) we will so often hear from, I am sorry to say, the vast majority of those on the roadside.
The age of the media induces people to confuse media events with reality; journalists are – interestedly, and for obvious ego reasons – particularly prone to this mistake. The truth is that media don’t change people, Papal visits don’t change people, “historic speeches” don’t change people and all those talk of a visit which would “energise” a community is merely empty talk of cowardly bishops who do not want to do their job.
People change with constant effort, repeated daily; with the good and sincere (and truthful, and uncomfortable) homily delivered every sunday; with the trust slowly building in an institution perceived to fight for what is right instead of pandering to common prejudices and conveniences; with the relentless hammering of the unpopular truths no one wants to hear. People change if there is a serious, daily effort on the ground with our friends, our families, our colleagues whenever possible. Media events come and go and in two months’ time no one will talk of this visit anymore. A good priest, a good friend, a courageous bishop are there all the time.
It would be extremely dangerous, I think, to take refuge in the numbers of people cheering the Pope, or assisting at the Papal Masses, to conclude that Catholicism in England is on the right way; it isn’t. It is plagued by amateur (or cowardly, or outright atheists) Bishops, by feeble priests preaching the Gospel of the Easy Platitudes, by distracted sheep for whom dissent is a way of showing intelligence and a critical mind.
These are real issues, and they will not change with a Papal visit.
Let us, therefore, remember this visit for what it is: the joyous occasion of an important Beatification, with some entertainment thrown in (a bit of Popemobile here; a bit of Susan Boyle there). Bet let us not be under the delusion that this visit will change absolutely anything as long as the work on the ground is – as it certainly is today – so evidently deficient.
If anyone had ever been in doubt about the 1) incompetence and 2) lack of basic Christianity dominating the E&W Hierarchy, here is a further example.
You can read on St. Mary Magdalen Blog the latest piece of ridicule with which our bishops have covered themselves.
In order for non-Catholics to better “understand” what is going on at papal events, our geniuses have prepared a small, portable “translator” of commonly used words.
We are therefore informed that “Liturgy”, Celebration”, “Mass”, “Benediction” have as similar terms often used “Event, Show,Gig”.
I can vividly picture Archbishop Vincent Nichols asked to tell a non-Catholic what a Mass is and answering “it is something similar to an event, or a show, or gig“.
One understands why he still allows Homo Masses: Soho is part of Theatreland.
It goes on: “Blessed Sacrament”, “Holy Communion” have, as similar terms often used, “Bread, Wine”. This really makes one cringe. One wonders whether this is too stupid to be blasphemous or just plain blasphemous, but I doubt our heroes in Ecclestone Square will see any problem with that. It is just so inclusive, and hopefully the readers are not complete morons and can even understand what it is really meant.
If they do are complete morons, an email is provided.
It goes on, with “liturgist” as “performers, artists” and “sanctuary” as “stage”.
Someone is being really, really blasphemous or really, really stupid here. Or someone is being both, or most probably our Bishops and the people they employ just do not know anymore what a Mass is, what the Eucharist is, and so on.
No private company would ever be run in such a way. Not even British Leyland, or British Steel. This is beyond parody. I seriously needed some time to realise this was not a joke.
This shop is full of utterly incompetent people completely oblivious of what Catholicism is, and only bent on making themselves agreeable to society.
As the fish always stinks from the head down, the prince of the incompetent is Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who would be sacked this very day if he weren’t allowed to abuse the patience of people much better than him and get away with every kind of show (similar terms often used by him: Mass, Liturgy).
Quo usque tandem……..
I was sitting in front of the TV, looking at images of the Papal Visit. It was a dream so there were a lot of things that are not entirely rational, you understand.
The first thing I remember are the cars lined up at the airport waiting for the guests. A long line of midnight blue Mercedes S-Class and Jaguar XJs, with some Lancia Thesis in the back (I always liked that car, you know. These things always play a role in a dream). “Carabinieri” everywhere, in their usual perfectly elegant black suits with red stripes. Near them, the MET policemen with their yellow thingies and triple bulletproof jackets look like apprentice clowns. All cars have Vatican diplomatic flags and make a rather impressive show of power. Not “spit us in the face and we’ll be telegenic”-power, but rather “we can make the PM unemployed”-power. David Cameron looks slightly green.
It being a dream, at the center of the long line there is a wonderful Mercedes 600, also midnight blue. “Beautiful, that they have decided to use it again”, I think. The BBC commenter is saying that that is the car of the Pope, but the curtains don’t allow to look in. “Very good again”, I think in my dream, “this means that the years of the Pope trying to be a pop star are gone”. No “ice cream van-looking” Popemobiles in sight, with the Holy Father in it treated as if he was an exotic animal just come in from far away and you almost wait for people throwing peanuts at him. I breathe the air of dignity, of importance, of authority the long line of cars clearly conveys. The message is unmistakable. The Pope is not visible, but in everyone’s mind. Exactly his being not visible is what puts him so clearly on the stage.
And in fact, I seem to hear that even in the voice of the BBC commenter (it was a dream, so I knew that he was sipping from a finely etched champagne flute; but again this fact was totally natural to me, as if I wasn’t expecting anything different); there is in him a sense of awe, of occasion. His subdued, almost hushed voice is a clear sign that the long line of cars, the strange but awfully prestigious oldtimer in the middle, the obvious show of power, all demand respect in no uncertain terms. Much as he would have wanted to he can’t avoid feeling, well, rather insignificant. Being a journalist, he hates that.
He has prepared a long list of “reflections” about paedophile priests, wymyn “dissent”, priest celibacy, london buses and the like. They all sounded very intelligent and oh so progressive in a champagne-sipping way when he was rehearsing them, careful to get the right amount of patronising smugness in his tone. Now he realises that they would just feel stupid. Stupid like a petty quarrel put in front of the Mistery, or like a spoiled aggressive child trying to kick a splendid oak. The shamelessness of the display is in such contrast with the modern fake modesty he is accustomed to (PMs in jeans, or jackets without tie; fake informality; “I am just one of you”-atmosphere) that he is ten meters in offside before he even realises it. He knows that all this is wanted and he knows what everyone is thinking: this is not a PM playing “one of the people”. This is a glimpse of the splendour of Christ.
“Cunning bastards”, he thinks whilst sipping; still, he feels the awe and is fascinated by how it works even on him, against his will.
The helicopters continue to film the line of cars. The motorbikes are on both sides, huge crowds greet the Pontiff as the cars drive solemnly by; some close-up pictures show young women in girlish excitement, old ladies in tears , fathers holding up their children to allow them to see (it was a dream, so no health & safety madness here). They are driving along Constitution Hill now and making it all blue, and already the cars enter Buckingham Palace. Prince Charles is standing in the forecourt, in a traditional Arab dress, ready to welcome the Pope in his role as “defender of the faiths”. But look! The cars don’t stop for him and disappear directly – and with the magic of dreams – within the Palace itself. “They have probably not recognised him” says the commenter, astonished. He has been joined by another one. Being this a dream, the new commenter is Alan Hansen. As always, I can’t understand a word of what he says.
“Up to now” – says the BBC champagne-sipping but RP-speaking chap – “no one has seen the Holy Father, ahem, Pope Benedict” and bites his lip. He shouldn’t allow the pump to influence him, but he just can’t help it. “These people truly know what they’re doing”, he thinks. He knows this is the thought in everyone’s mind. “Bastards”, he thinks once again. But he knows he can’t help admiring their chutzpah. “I preferred JP II’s times”, he goes on reflecting. “Very telegenic, great audiences, no one cared a dime for what he said but everyone wanted to see him trembling. I would tell the audience why the Church is all wrong and explain how they can improve; all in a gentle, understanding tone not without symphaty for the less fortunate who believe in God. How I felt terribly superior! It doesn’t work anymore. Ah! Those were the days!”
It being a dream, I am now inside the Palace. The Queen is waiting for the Pope. She sits on a very strange throne made entirely of living Corgis, strangely sitting over each other and combined as to form a throne where she can comfortably sit. The Corgis all smile like the Cheshire Cat, but I know that the Queen doesn’t have any Cheshire Cat so they must all be Welsh Corgis. Suddenly, the Queen showing great energy jumps from her Corgi-throne (loud, but dignified yelping) and kneels at the feet of the Holy Father amidst the hushed expressions of dismay of the diplomatic personnel, saying in an extremely posh voice: “Holy Father, we want to convert to Catholicism. Please free us from this disgraceful sect of atheist madmen”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is present, and feigns indifference. Strangely, he is Vincent Nichols. He wears a rainbow chasuble with a huge “peace” sign at the front. Nichols says to the Pope that the Queen’s opinion does not reflect his own; he informs the Queen that she is a Catholic already, only not Roman, because her accent would clearly betray her as British. “We all speak the same language of God, Peace and Love” – says he stressing the words and counting them with his fingers, as to indicate the Most Holy Trinity – “only in slightly different tongues, Majesty“. He then proceeds to invite both to the homo mass he organises every week in Soho. “Very inclusive”, says he, “and great fun! You should see their “Little Britain” parody during the liturgical dance, Mr. Ratzinger!”.
The Holy Father looks like he would have a good use for a Beretta 92FS (it is a dream, remember!) and it is clear that he has made a mental note. He doesn’t say anything.
And then we are outside again. It is a magnificent Cathedral and I recognise it, it is Canterbury Cathedral. It being a dream, I remember that last year it has been bought back from the Anglicans at a firesale price because the Anglicans need to pay the lawyer’s bill. I smile at the fact that I still haven’t grown used to the fact. But I remember very well that many E & W bishops were strongly opposed, thinking that the purchase offended the Anglican community and was nothing to do with “ecumenism”. They wanted to make of it a Muslim Cultural Centre instead.
I am in the Cathedral now, but again the cameras stay out. Out is also a huge crowd, spreading beyond the little town, vehicular traffic blocked since dawn. Alan Hansen is near me and is now commenting live for the radio but as always with him I can’t understand a word. I don’t care because I am in anyway. The Pope has not been seen by the crowds yet. There is a total refusal to make of him a “popular icon”. But the crowd understands that this is because he is so much more.
I am waiting for the Mass to begin now. Everyone is there. The Queen is there, the Corgis are also there but now they are intricately put together to form a furry pew. Cameron is darkish green in the face, Clegg is yellow. Brown is brown (yes, that brown) and must always be stopped because he continues to say “bigoted woman!” and “it must have been Sue!”. Blair is at the entrance, distributing books no one accepts. He gets an egg in his face instead. Lord Mandelson is near him, wearing a tutu and also trying to give away books with his photo. People look at him in a strange way. No one says a word. Evidently, they are all still afraid of him. And evidently, they are all English.
Vin Nichols has a portable Hindu altar and is planning to worship in front of it, but he is Anglican so my dream doesn’t particularly care for him. All twelve Milliband brothers are present as they are all candidates for the top job over at the party. Unfortunately, their mother has told them she’d vote for the Pope instead, so they are all rather downbeat.
The Pope is at the centre of the attention. Old, but not frail. Gentle, but nobody’s doormat. Subdued in tones, but I hear Cameron thinking (it is a dream, remember) “this is one I don’t want to have against me” and “I must ditch the homos; there’s no choice I am afraid; who cares for the bloody frockers anyway”.
The Holy Father delivers the sharpest, most threatening homily Cameron has ever heard; he informs the PM of the historical existence of Jesus; speaks about abortion, divorce, euthanasia, tolerance for sexual perversions, a country going to the dogs (the corgis all nod here, in a very dignified way). He also touches the issue of the eternal fire and everyone knows he sees Cameron’s soul on the line; but he makes clear that there is still hope. Cameron’s green becomes slightly lighter and he thinks that the worst might be over.
But then the Holy Father starts talking about bees and flowers and everyone understands: he is instructing Cameron on marriage; with goodness and patience, as you would do with a child.
All eyes are on Cameron. He is decidedly pea green now and his roundish face looks a bit like a watermelon. He feels like a Pakistani cricket player caught in the “News of the World”. Brown still looks like his party, with or without the twelve Millibands.
Change of scene again. The Mass has ended. The helicopter shows to the TV audiences the huge masses outside. I know it because it’s a dream. Cameron’s skin is now clearly of a very dark British Racing Green and he is visibly shaken. He trips on Nichols kneeling in front of his Hindu altar and utterly ruins his garland. Nichols is angry. “You bloody queen”, he murmurs to Cameron’s ear, but Mandelson is just there and clearly hears every word. Mandelson makes a mental note. Nichols shivers. Embarrassment all around. Nichols has a brilliant idea and invites him to his homo mass too. “They’ll love your tutu”, says he one instant before realising that this can be construed as a joke rather than honest brown-nosing. Mandelson makes another mental note. Terrified, Nichols turns to the other side where prince Charles sits now clothed in a Tibetan monk outfit (purest silk, you understand) whilst eating delicious orange biscuits “from the farm”, as he puts it. The Holy Father’s convoy is now past them. The Pope sits on a sedia gestatoria, a wonderful Tiara over his head. He goes out in the full light, still on the sedia gestatoria. The immense crowd sees him on the megascreens and goes “ooohhhh” and “aaahhhh”. All cameras are on him. The crowd has stopped rumouring. There is an unreal silence now. The Pope scans them with his kind, but intelligent smile. “Vell, vell, vell”, I hear him think (yes, I do; and yes, in English!), “Ve hef shoved ze Perfidious Albion zet Tsekularism is not ze vay”.
In the silence, a man runs to the Pope. He bows in front of the sedia. A hushed murmur spreads itself among the huge crowd, then becomes a roar of surprise. They have recognised him. Thin, bold, scared, frail, but now hoping. He is Christopher Hitchens. He asks for forgiveness, live on TV, in front of a worldwide audience. “I believe in God, the Father Almighty!”, he says very loud and in tears; then he starts to sob uncontrollably. It tears your heart out. Hansen says something but I don’t understand him. And now the Pope makes one calm, solemn gesture and the sedia is lowered down. The silence is unbearable. He goes near Hitchens, invites him to stand up and looks deep in his eyes. Very deep. The camera nearby takes an extremely close shot of both men’s expression; one is inquisitive, attentive, loving but not to be fooled with; the other is just scared, broken, but you can clearly see that for the first time in his life he dares to ask for hope.
The camera comes still closer, it is perhaps ten seconds but it looks like an eternity. Finally, the Pontiff makes a gesture. It is a blessing. Hitchens cries, the BBC commenters cry, everyone cries, Hansen cries and that even I can understand.
It is a triumph. Everyone kneels down and starts to pray. Rosaries pop out from a thousand pockets, only Nichols continues to stubbornly pray in front of the portable hindu altar and pretends he hasn’t seen anything, his loud OOOOOMMMMMM of defiance lost in the general outroar. The Pope is now led to the Mercedes 600 as the screams become deafening. The long line of cars starts again. The media have instantly spread the news of the conversion everywhere. The crowds on the roadside kneel and pray at the passage of the cars. The helicopters film everything. Seen from above, it is like a hugely long, interminable Ola. I see it from one of the megascreen outside, in the clamour of one thousand Hail Marys.
When everyone has gone away, the cameras take a short shot of one man, alone, sitting there in disbelief. He is Peter Tatchell. No one has noticed his presence.
Then I wake up. I try to fall asleep again and to continue the dream, as I remember I did sometimes as a child. But it is no use. Reality catches up with me with all its harshness.
Vincent Nichols is the Archbishop of Westminster.
William Oddie of the Catholic Herald has another interesting contribution about the fact that whilst the US Bishops already have their new text of the NO online, the E&W bishops haven’t posted anything yet.
One could obviously argue that now that the Holy Father is coming everyone is busy preparing sandwiches and brewing tea, so that there is no time to say “we are improving the Mass and here we explain to you how and why”; not even the time to simply post the text and say “this is the new text starting from Advent 2011; enjoy the reading and we’ll explain the modifications in the coming months”.
Why is that, is the rather rhetorical question of the author. The answer is obviously that it is very difficult to make a halfway serious effort to explain the changes introduced by the new version without exposing all the deficiencies of the old one, in which our old Sixty-Eighters had such an emotional (and political) investment. In the US, where by all the problems there are still bishops ready to fight the good fight, the Bishops’ conference naturally reflects this different, mixed attitude but in the UK, where the Magic Circle still dominates the appointments and feels rather strong, this does not happen.
I do not know whether this is supposed to be an additional slap in the face of the Holy Father and I want to assume that before his visit at least the bare text will be available online as an obvious tribute to the man who was the driving force behind it. Still, by the actual crop of bishops one can never know. They’ll blame the scones, I suppose.
Fr Ray Blake’s St. Mary Magdalen blog has a rather astonishing entry about a mail received from the diocesan “visit coordinator”. Apparently, in Hyde Park “liturgical entertainment” will be provided for the several hours between the opening of the park and the Pope’s arrival.
The word itself makes one cringe (as Fr Blake dutifully did). If it’s “liturgical” it’s not supposed to be “entertainment” at all and vice versa. We’ll have to see whether some nostalgic fan of guitar masses has decided to organise something according to the “hermeneutic of discontinuity” or whether it was just a case of a horribly worded email. Still, anyone with some respect for the liturgy would never come to the idea of using an expression like “liturgical entertainment”. This sounds rather like an oxymoron, as in “funny funeral” or “merry murder”. But I googled a bit and the expression really seems to exist! V II is a gift that keeps on giving….
As Fr Blake points out, that such ideas come out during the visit of the most liturgical of recent Popes would, if confirmed, rather look like a slap in the Holy Father’s face. I hope not and frankly do not want to think that Pope Benedict’s enemies would be so stupid, besides being so brazen; but should this really be true than it would be the duty of the Holy Father to save his own face and the reputation of Catholicism in this country buy taking harsh measures and cutting off the one or other guitar-strumming head.
Nothing tragic for now, anyway as the most probable option is that what is meant is superficial ’68 bollocks on which the adjective “liturgical” has been added because it sounded cool. Vatican II doesn’t want to die peacefully.
The Catholic Church in England has launched a 32-page booklet in preparation of the Papal visit. The aim of the booklet is to explain, well, what Catholicism is and of course to hover once again over the child abuse scandal, the “Telegraph” reports.
Leaving aside the usual imprecision of daily newspaper journalism (Archbishop Nichols is not the head of Catholics in England and Wales. The Pope is.) what once again transpires is the desire to leave the Catholic message to very expensive PR exercises. Sadly, this is never going to work as the Church in England and Wales will never have so much money to squander on such initiatives that it may make a permanent impact on the faithful and the country.
What we need is a continued effort of serious catechesis. As everyone living in England knows, this is – with some fortunate exceptions like the Oratorians and the rare courageous priest here and there – certainly not the case. Most emphatically so in the case of Archbishop Nichols who – among other things – still continues to tolerate homo masses in Soho, in the heart of his diocese, in an outrageous initiative set in motion by his predecessor and scandalously not yet repealed by him notwithstanding the repeated calls of Conservative Catholics from England and abroad. As per today, no other English diocese (not even among the champions of trendy Catholicism, like Arundel And Brighton) tolerates such a shame.
Archbishop Nichols thinks that he can avoid telling it straight (and hard) and substitute the necessary and salutary harshness of the Catholic message with expensive booklet printing, press conferences and other media initiatives of dubious efficacy. Not so. Catholicism is defended at the homily every Sunday; with a serious catechesis and catechism lessons for children; with RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, the obligatory course of those wishing to convert) classes that are more than a collection of platitudes with some vague notions of Catholicism thrown in, and only provided that they are not too uncomfortable.
The way out is not in booklet printing. The way out is in promoting the teaching and relentless defense of undiluted Catholic values again. Catholicism is not a PR exercise, but a pastoral work which belongs in the church, through the priest. Catholicism in this country has become an exercise in playing down the differences with Anglicans and other Protestants, rather than of stressing them; a continuous effort in not angering people, rather than pointing out to their errors; a relentless attempt to not go against secular values (“niceness”, “tolerance”, “inclusiveness” at all costs) rather than a daily challenge to them.
Actions speak louder than booklets. Particularly in the case of Archbishop Nichols.
In the past weeks confused but altogether not reassuring news about the planned Papal visit to the UK have started to circulate. Explosions of costs were mentioned, uncertainties about the venues and contrasts between the local bishops and the Vatican about where to celebrate the Beatification Mass of Cardinal Newman.
It is sad that such an important occasion (important because of the powerful symbolic value of a visit in a highly secularised country as the United Kingdom) should be clouded by issues like organisational failures and lack (or better: waste) of faithful’s money. Still, some broader issues arise from this situation.
The first is the character of the Beatification Mass. I can’t see how a mass celebrated in an airport can be as solemn and edifying as a Mass celebrated in a Cathedral or other church building. In an airport, the main aspect of the Mass (the sacrificial one) is clouded by the “gathering” aspect of the event. This is in my eyes better left to the Protestants. There is a reason why buildings have been erected for the purpose of celebrating Mass rather than looking for the next available open space, and it is because they are a more fitting place.
The second issue is the necessity of such megalomaniacal planning. I do not agree that when a Pope comes to visit a huge effort should be made to allow as many people as possible to see him. The Pope is the Head of the Universal Church and his visit has a high symbolic meaning irrespective of how many people are there to see him. It is not a contest to see who can mobilise the greatest masses.
The third issue is one of pure ability and competence. If there was the capacity of organising such huge events at a reasonable cost, without squandering money and remaining within budget, then such gigantic efforts might, hypothetically, start to make some sense. But this ability is obviously not there.
The fourth issue is how the faithful’s money is spent. From the relevant internet page we are informed that £350,000 are going to be spent for “evangelisation material” and £650,000 for “communication work” of various sort. For one event. This looks like “jobs for the boys” to me. Also notice the £200,000 on “fundraising costs” in a country where the Catholic Church is represented everywhere and most wealthy donors are just a phone call away. All this, whilst churches are closed for alleged lack of funds.
It is illusory to think that one can forward the Catholic cause in the United Kingdom by organising mass gatherings. Catholicism is promoted by being Catholic, saying it out loud and demanding to be heard in every matter touching the Catholic faith. The bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are evidently deficient in this and the “missionary zeal” that the Holy Father has demanded from them is clearly not there.
A couple of televised events will not make up for the lack of this missionary zeal. Particularly if they are mismanaged.
Fr Tim Finigan reports that Channel Four (the still taxpayer-fed English broadcaster with the remit of being “alternative” and “diverse”, which in the UK rather often means “deviant”) has announced that Peter Tatchell – the well-known homosexual paladin of all causes able to give him publicity and a stage – is going to produce a so-called “documentary” about the Holy Father’s career. Unsurprisingly, said “documentary” will be broadcast on occasion of the Holy Father’s visit next September.
There are several outrageous issues here. The first is that Channel Four receives money from the taxpayer and it seems utterly disgraceful that public money be used to further the causes of a tiny minority of (deviant) fanatics. The second is that no serious journalist could ever claim that such a documentary from such a (deviant) man could have any appearance of impartiality, or at least some vague trace of halfway balanced reporting. The third is that the choice of the most widely despised “homosexualist” in the Realm to produce the “documentary” clearly shows the intention of Channel Four to stir controversies and reach a wide audience not through the quality of its reporting but through the clamour such controversies create. This isn’t journalism, this is purest activist poison.
Peter Tatchell is the kind of person who wants to censor song lyrics he finds “homophobic” whilst talking about “freedom” all the time. His life is a continuous search for a stage and there is no “alternative” cause he would not espouse if it gave him a bit of limelight (Aborigines, Vietnam War, Green Party, Pinochet, Mugabe, Irak war…. the list is very long). He fought for years to lower the age of consent to 14 years and was behind an even more radical proposal to decriminalize every sexual act provided the age difference between the “partners” (read: homosexual boys or worse, children) is below three years. I am not making this up. This gives you a clear idea of the moral authority of the man. I can easily imagine that the one or other paedophile priest is a true fan of him.
Once again, Catholics are asked to remember that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church. All that Tatchell and his likes are going to obtain is to expose their fanaticism and awaken more sympathies for the Holy Father. Ask Dan Brown how much he has damaged Opus Dei and you’ll have all the reassurances you need.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.