Thursday, 15 April 2010

Inverted commas

Yes, I know, I seem to have it in for the BBC at the moment - it's probably an increasing sense of a trust betrayed. I daresay the Corporation will survive.
But has it ever crossed your mind that you should never - ever - listen to the news?  There was another semi-snide report last night on Radio 4's The World Tonight about the perceived delay in the canonisation process of Pope John Paul II. Tell me, why is it that presenters have to pronounce words like "holiness" and  "miracle" in accents of heavy irony - verbalised inverted commas. Why do they feel the need to imply "we don't believe any of this religious nonsense?" We know that already: isn't it  a qualification for the job? And what is it with this pejorative use of the word "mediaeval?"  For God's sake (literally) read some history, visit a cathedral or, failing that, an art gallery.
Then - of course - comes the inevitable link to the sex abuse scandal. But at last - and grudgingly - a half-veiled admission that Pope Benedict, when head of the CDF, worked tirelessly to investigate sex scandals among the clergy and root out the causes of abuse; and also that he may well have been obstructed in that. But it was only reported as a way of casting doubt on the sanctity of Pope John Paul himself.

But if you do listen to the news, don't then go on to listen to Book at Bedtime -  at the the moment, a serialisation of 'The Lessons' by Naomi Alderman (a kind of anti-Brideshead Revisited) which contained in its description of a crucifix the words: "the implicit praise for humilation and for pain." All in all, a useful reminder of the mountainous task we face in proclaiming the Gospel in a culture such as ours. So, perhaps, not such a wasted evening after all.

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