Listening to Edward Stourton's hatchet job Radio 4 programme "In search of the real Pope Benedict" I wondered whether the BBC would afford similarly slipshod journalism to another subject. Imagine coverage of the next Conservative conference commented on by spokesmen from Militant Labour, the Socialist Worker, the Fabian Society and, to show real "balance and fairness", Alan Rusbridger. Remember this next time the debate about the Licence Fee rolls around.
Hearing Tina Beattie shrilling her way though the programme was more than I could bear. It was a roll-call of dissenters, and could have been written by dear saved brother Eccles as a parody of "wot sum unsaved and unedykated pussons mite fink". Hubby and I stood in the kitchen in slight shock listening to the broadcast, neither of us recognising the descriptions of our beloved Holy Father, nor of the slant on the last eight years, which, if one we to believe the programme, had been one of utter devastation for the Church. "Why" my husband wondered "do all these people seem to think that the Church should be moving forwards? What makes them think that the Church should be 'moving' at all?" There's an odd modern orthodoxy that movement - or change - or progress - is by definition a good thing. It's an argument that has been used frequently in the debate about changing the definition of marriage, and is one that I suspect we will be hearing frequently from now on. It is used to build sophistic arguments that suggest that if one does not agree with a particular point of view, it is simply because one has not caught up yet with the inexorable tide of change. Thus Holy Mother Church is simply behind the curve when it comes to fashionable sexual and moral views, and will eventually "get with the times". There is no understanding that Truth is eternal and unchanging: this is utterly inconceivable to the modern thinker.
There is no doubt that political liberals who self-identify as Catholic (whilst rejecting all that the Church teaches) are running scared, and that is at the root of the current mania of Pope Benedict bashing. There is also no doubt that the father of all lies is gleefully doing all in his power to seed chaos and confusion: whilst we need to trust the Holy Spirit, we also need to storm Heaven with our prayers for not only a good Pope, but a good and holy Pope, and a good and holy Pope who will lead Christ's Church on earth with the same courage and determination shown by Pope Benedict XVI.
This Lent we have been given the gift of an immediately tangible and intelligible intention towards which our prayer and privations can be directed. Pray and fast, pray and fast.
The gates of Hell shall not prevail.