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Mr Grumpy can now be found posting at

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Habemus Papam

A word about the new Pope. Mr Grumpy is not a Roman Catholic, let alone a cardinal, and if he was a cardinal it is distinctly unlikely that he would have cast his vote for Joseph Ratzinger. But does he really deserve the blanket hostility he got from British press over the weekend of his inauguration? A trawl of the “serious” papers produced the following.

One paper is portraying him as trying to encourage a schism in the Anglican Communion – on the basis of no evidence whatsoever apart from the claim by a leader of a breakaway group of traditionalist Anglicans that he has talked to the then Cardinal Ratzinger.

A second paper is accusing him of trying to cover up a child sex scandal. Now of course such matters should be taken very seriously. But there appears not to be the slightest evidence that he condones priests abusing children. The issue seems at most to be whether he showed bad judgment in attempting to retain the Church’s jurisdiction over a particular case. It’s interesting to note, incidentally, how many liberal journalists simultaneously believe (a) if a woman chooses to have an abortion it’s nobody’s business but her own, and (b) if a priest touches up a choirboy it’s their business and everybody else’s.

Meanwhile a third paper is splitting hairs over the exact date in 1945 on which the Pope deserted from the Wehrmacht. For heaven’s sake, he had just turned eighteen, and had lived under the Nazi terror since he was six.

Mr G would now like to reveal exclusively that the Pope’s favourite hobby is clubbing baby seals (sorry, bad taste, but really...)

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