Friday, 17 September 2010

Barely anyone cares about the Pope and for that we should be grateful.

With all the blanket coverage of the Pope’s visit to Britain it’s very easy to forget that the real story is how few people actually care.  In fact those who do care can be name-checked relatively quickly and easily.

Some school children were persuaded to care by a morning out of the classroom.  They lined the streets of Edinburgh in order to scream and wave Scottish Saltires as the pontiff’s entourage swept by.

Devoted Catholics care.  Yesterday they mustered in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, having travelled from across these islands and beyond.  Despite congregating in a venue with a much larger capacity, they numbered fewer than 70,000.

Ian Paisley cares.  He gathered with a handful of fellow enthusiasts from the ’reformed church’ to record his opposition to the papal visit.  It’s fair to say that even he cares less these days though. Fellow Presbyterians have been subject to more vituperative protests by Lord Bannside in the past.    

The ‘New Atheists’ care.  Like ‘anti fascist’ demonstrators they feed off the forces they claim to oppose.  If it ever became apparent that no-one was listening to the Pope, how could they drum up interest in their books or sell their tedious newspaper columns?

People with a personal grievance against the Catholic Church care.  Spurned divorcees, homosexuals and abuse victims, they rail against the faith which they believe has turned upon them.  Their anger is understandable.

For the rest of us, comprising the vast, vast majority of British people, we couldn’t give a hoot.  The pontiff’s arrival is no more interesting than the visit of the next head of state.  Less so, in fact.  

Even Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, presiding over a society supposedly crippled with religious division, don’t care.  One didn’t want to meet the Pope and the other didn’t want to meet the Queen.  They agreed to stay at home and ignored proceedings in Scotland with a minimum of fuss.

So that’s it.  The commonest responses to the papal visit are apathy and boredom.  Even those who should care are putting on a fairly unconvincing show.

It’s all to the good.  I’d rather live in a society which doesn’t care about the Pope than one which cares too much.


Keith Ruffles said...

I feel obliged to disagree with you on this one, Chekov - the Pope's edicts and particularly conservative interpretation of Catholic dogma have profoundly bad consequences for many people around the world and especially those in less developed countries. Indifference will do nothing to change that.

CW said...

If you're so indifferent to it all, Chekov, then why did you even bother blogging about it?

I'm no fan of Joe Ratzinger myself, but I welcome his visit as it opens up healthy debate on the Catholic church's more controversial positions (ordination of women, divorce, contraception, assisted suicide, etc), it's brought attention to all the abuse scandals which for so long were ignored and has created historical precedents which can only be good for the UK as a whole.

CW said...

PS - As for:
"The commonest responses to the papal visit are apathy and boredom."
You could say exactly the same thing about the UUP leadership contest - which even less people care about!

yourcousin said...

For someone who is an advocate of the Cameron government don't you think that your "We don't do the Pope" is a little Blairesque?

Anonymous said...

Those with any sense of history care and are fascinated by Pope Benedict's visit, the sights and the ceremony.

Seeing him presented to a woman Canon in golden robes at Westminster Abbey was delicious.

Watching Blair and Brown side by side, one permatanned, was most enjoyable also Major (and his wife - haven't spotted her in a long time) and Mrs Thatcher.

Listening to our (Newry) man at the Vatican, who seems most of the time to be acting as the Holy See's ambassador to the UK, was another pleasure.

Also I had not realised Westminster Cathedral's interior was so magnificent - light and arabesque rather than Victorian gothic.

I am surprised OFMDFM got off so lightly from the commentators for their joint boycott. I have not seen McGuinness as furious as when cross-questioned on his absence.

Yet the poor old Moderator got rubbished by all the SF pedants and BBC liberals for declining to be presented. He was actually being Presbyterian rather than a peace processista.

The bile poured out before Benedict's visit from the uber-secularists was almost as unpleasant as the gush appearing now he has arrived.

CW said...

Spotted this flag belonging to a pilgrim on the London tube returning from the papal vigil in Hyde Park:

Just think of all the confusion it would cause in Northern Ireland if someone was seen waving it...

Ulster Liberal said...

In my opinion it was more worthwhile for the FM and DFM to be at the NYSE, a notable company that's going to create many high level jobs and provide a major boost to the Ni economy, regardless of either's theological views on the Pope.

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