More thoughts about Pope Benedict and the abdication

I guess it serves me right for watching Newsnight on the BBC and reading the Guardian, but the commentary has been rather acid and negative about Pope Benedict. Dragging out the liberal Catholic vanguard is bound to give you a negative edge on Benedict's conservative pontificate. Yet chatting with people in the newsagents, they were saying how Benedict had brought the Catholic Church into dialogue with other Christians and faiths which certainly wasn't the line I had expected as they were Anglicans.

It reminds me of the Papal visit when the anti Papal hype in the media was at screaming pitch, literally, with coverage of Stephen Fry and Peter Tatchell et al. Yet the coverage suddenly mellowed as the ordinary people lined the streets of Edinburgh and made their warmth and affection very clear. Wrong footed the media coverage changed and it proved enormously successful.

So, first warning, the media doesn't see the Vatican situation very clearly so we shouldn't expect much wisdom about what is going on right now. We need to balance the negativity to get an accurate picture.

Secondly, there are a lot of people, intelligent and powerful people, who hate the Catholic Church, detest it and seem to have a manic desire to trample it into the mud. So, rumblings off stage about prosecuting Benedict once he steps down as pope as he will no longer be head of state and so immune. Rather nasty, but  it is real and there might possibly be some traction if the media and politicians play on the idea of bringing the Church to book over the child sex abuse situation. Not that it will be about that but it will be a good populist excuse to continue the assault on the power of the Catholic Church.


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