Thursday, 25 March 2010

Balance and objectivity? Not here, not now.

There has been another quite astonishing attack on the Pope on BBC Radio 4’s Six O’clock News this evening. The report centred on a less than convincing allegation against Pope Benedict concerning the truly horrifying activities of a child-abusing American priest, [link here ] lambasting the then Cardinal Ratzinger with taking no action when it seems very clear both that the Vatican had no knowledge of the allegations until the late 1990s and also that the charges against the alleged abuser were, in fact, dropped by the civil authorities for lack of the kind of evidence which would readily secure a conviction. But not content with that, the reporter, the (this is beyond parody) rather appropriately named David Willey, began a recitation of the Holy Father’s supposed gaffes and mistakes, including the Regensburg address and the “rehabilitation” of “holocaust denying” Bishop Williamson of the SSPX, and even ending with speculation about the likelihood of Pope Benedict’s enforced resignation from office due to pressure from the faithful.

Naively I admit, I still imagined there to be a valid distinction between reporting the news and commenting upon it. Silly of me, wasn't it? The BBC is now clearly the unrestrained voice of the zeitgeist. For their sake I hope the wind doesn’t change any time soon.
But if I hear another commentator suggesting that the real problem is that of celibacy itself I think I will abandon all faith in human reason. The idea that not enough sex is at the heart of the Church’s current troubles is somewhat counter-intuitive, to say the least. Or, of course, we are at the same time being told that one of the remedies to the ills of the Roman Catholic Church is to go down the western Anglican route and proceed to the ordination of women and those in gay relationships. Well, we all know that women and homosexuals never abuse children so, obviously, that is the answer.
No. If , like Pope Benedict XVI, you stick your neck above the parapet of the modern culture wars and say unpopular and counter-cultural things about contemporary society and, most unforgiveably of all,  you say them in a way which is both impeccably logical, reasonable and intellectually persuasive, then the enemies of the Gospel will try to get you, one way or another, by fair means or foul. And the problem is compounded, in true totalitarian fashion, if, when one defends the Pope as a victim of misrepresentation and innuendo, one is depicted as being oneself soft on the horrific and bestial crimes which have lead to this controversy in the first place.
The Devil is making all the running at the moment. Please pray for Pope Benedict that he will be given the grace and courage to withstand these one-sided and diabolical attacks on his character. He needs our prayers more than ever.

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