|LETTERS FROM LONDON
|REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
14 March 2013
|It's All Smoke and Mirrors
I prayed for a hair shirt and wished I had a balcony so that I too could stand in
the pouring freezing rain for 2 days waiting in desperation for the next pope to
be announced. Not quite Rome or encircled by the drenched 70,000 faithful
Oh my god. In anticipation, in excitement, I wanted to have tears streaming
from my eyes. I wanted to fall on my knees while genuflecting and repeating
"Holy Father, Holy Father!" I wanted to be terribly proud that I too could be part
of a massive mafia influenced organization operating an international
paedophilia ring clever at laundering money, with an inner circle termed 'a nest
of vipers' specialising in scandal, back-stabbing, vitriol and secrecy. I wanted to
view corruption at the Vatican Bank, sexual harassment, out-and-out misogyny,
gay priests who professed to be anti-gay, cardinals who either aided and
abetted the priests who abused children with pompous self-righteous - if I were
brain dead that is.
The media succumbed to the hysteria. Seduced by the hype, theatricality,
drama, pomp and ceremony, scarlet robes, BBC did minute to minute to minute
all day coverage in anticipation. I wanted to kill myself.
They never featured 50 years of sex with children, the torture of unmarried girls
until the 1960's with the same fervour.
Channel 4's Jon Snow was so ecstatic, I feared for his health; stroke, heart
attack, embolism, religious conversion? "It's Pope Francis!!! They haven't
chosen one from Europe! An Argentinean! A glimpse...a glimpse...he's dressed
in white and his robe fits him!" Oh dear god. Oh dear Jon. You've lost all
credibility as a journalist. "There he is!! There he is! Poor chap. He has to move
house (what?). Poor chap." This is where I changed the channel as I felt an
overwhelming need to faint, fall unconscious, pass out from superlative
Jeff Randall on Skye news thought the new anti-gay Pope's appearance to the
thongs of thousands was 'moving'. Someone with him had 'tears in his eyes.'
Now I love ritual, theatricality, drama, spectacle, Schiaparelli pink, surprises -
The last pope, Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to some,
disappeared with his partner never to be seen again due to ill health. A
euphemism for 'I am stepping down to spend time with my family' or simply: 'I'm
out before I get caught out'.
At the height of sexual abuse of children by priests, Ratzinger (who couldn't
love the name) was Prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He
simply moved paedophile priests and cardinals from parish to parish. He
threatened feminist nuns with expulsion. All in the name of a loving God
Pope Francis seems to have taken a vow of poverty by choosing a bus over a
limo, but no one will be fooled as he is anti-gay, anti-gay adoption, anti-same
sex marriage, anti-contraception (except to prevent disease), anti-women - the
same old same old ideology. Francis of Assisi? Not quite.
His pro-Argentina position in regards to the Falklands, accusations that he was
not only complicit during the horrors of the junta, but an active player, and his
'close ties' to Communion & Liberation - an international right-wing group
involved in several Italian scandals involving corruption may not secure his
future sainthood. But then again.
According to the Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, Pope Francis'
fellow cardinals toasted him and applauded his papacy. In response he
thanked them raising his own glass, joked, “May God forgive you for what you
have done.” Who's laughing?