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Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Such a good enemy's enemy

Among those nominal Anglicans who really believe in Biblical morality, there cannot be many who haven't at times toyed with converting to Catholicism. For me, this urge was never stronger than in the immediate aftermath of the last Pope's death. It wasn't the well-deserved tributes that did it for me nearly as much as the backlash. Seeing the coalition of voices that lined up against him and his legacy, it was difficult not to take sides instinctively, on the grounds that if these narrow, vulgar, sex-obsessed and shallow voices are the opponents of John Paul II, then I am resolutely with the Roman Catholic Church.

A lot would depend on the next Pope. So when I turned on the BBC yesterday and saw how they were covering the election of Benedict XVI, I was relieved. As on November 3rd, there was an overwhelming atmosphere of 'wrong decision - monstrously wrong decision!'. The same journalists who spent innumerable hours covering those astonishing scenes in Vatican City as Catholics from around the world arrived to pay their tributes were now speaking in grave terms about how dismayed Catholics would be that the new Pope would continue on so faithfully from their blessed John Paul II - and perhaps take things further. Hmmmm. So far so good.

I start to see reports of disappointment from 'liberal Catholics'. It's interesting, isn't it, how these fashionable factions within the various faiths have never caught on to the way they are used entirely as tools by elite media for their political agendas? For liberal Catholics, that agenda is support for abortion. Liberal Anglicans, meanwhile, are cannon fodder in the battle for gay rights. If you're a liberal Jew, you get to be a mouthpiece for the BBC line on Israel. If you're a liberal Muslim, you can be used to prove that absolutely no one in your faith really believes in all that stuff about sharia and the like that one sees in the Koran and across the Islamic world - and this even if your whole raison d'etre is actually to make your fellow Muslims face up to such uncomfortable facts. I've no idea if liberal Catholics are really any more representative than, say, Europhile Tories, but I do know that when the BBC claims they are down about something, it means the Catholic Church has done something right.

But then via Harry's Place, I find the ultimate litmus test: hysterical gay-baiter and John Kerry-supporting blogger Andrew Sullivan. John Paul II's successor has been in the job a few hours, and already Sullivan has compiled an anthology of posts on him. What does Sully think?

From one charming email correspondent, we see the Catholic Church compared to an abusive parent. From another, we are reminded that Benedict XVI is 78, and probably hasn't had the healthiest diet or exercise regimen - so no reason to lose hope. Sullivan himself posts comparing the Pope to a Nazi, a Communist, a eugenicist and a fundamentalist. In case the point is missed, he writes the Pope has apparently "declared war" on modern liberal democracy of all stripes, and on all freedom of thought and conscience. He claims that Benedict lacks any of John Paul II's redeeming features, whom he speculates - "Just a theory", naturally - rigged the forthcoming election in favour of the then Cardinal Ratzinger. Of Benedict's opposition to Turkish membership of the EU, he cries, mockingly: "Heathens are to be kept out". Quite. What possible other reason could there be? In between all this Nazi, communist, fundamentalist war on liberal democracy and freedom of thought, what does the Pope hope to do about the Catholic Church? Apparently, Benedict's aim is to empty America's pews entirely and start over. In the mean time, "the attack on individual political freedom is just beginning".

Yes, it appears the Catholic Church has passed the litmus test with flying colours. I think I'll download the application form now.

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