I recently spent a week in London, specifically the week in which the Pope visited.
I did everything in my power to avoid this visit, but unfortunately it glared at me from a great height whichever way I turned. Want to get a tube? Sorry, this station is closed due to the Pope’s visit. Want a free London Evening Standard? Oh yes, the Pope is on the cover – not to mention the endless jokes about ‘PayPal’/’Papal’.
This aside, it was impossible to fully ignore the mass coverage of this event. What most interested me was how much importance David Cameron bestowed upon this visit – so much as to say that the Pope was in some way related to his conception of the ‘Big Society’, something which I personally find difficult to understand.
…I don’t have any qualms about it…
I have never understood this desire to relate the idea of religion to morals, as the two are most definitely mutually exclusive. One can be incredibly moral without necessarily being religious, and, sadly, one can also be incredibly religious without necessarily being particularly moral.
Nevertheless, upon my return home, I happened upon two young gentlemen who had spent the day in London protesting the Pope’s visit. Personally, I don’t have any qualms about it. Whilst I understand the naysayers – ‘it’s a waste of our taxes’ etc., I similarly understand the need for Catholics to have a figurehead, and it’s always nice when Grandpa comes to stay, isn’t it?
…any connection between the Pope and Hitler…
Of course, his visit was blighted by the recent furore over the Catholic Church’s history of paedophilia. Being a little behind in technological advances, the Pope didn’t quite understand the gravity of the public relations backlash that followed, to the extent that he made some rather questionable comments.
On the other hand, I don’t believe that one man alone should be lambasted for what was, admittedly, the work of the few rather than many, and has been correctly assimilated by the Pope as abhorrent. I will neglect to make any connection between the Pope and Hitler, as has been done by so many others – for an enlightened 21st century cosmopolitan society it is fairly irrelevant. Thus, what is important about the Pope is his firm declaration of his assurance that this will not continue.
…It just disappoints me that it takes religion to rally people together…
Now is the time for Catholicism to hoist itself into the 21st century, and update its views on women, homosexuality and a number of other contentious issues. As the Pope has become fervently aware, people in the 21st century talk back with vigour. Social networking sites such as Twitter have made this ever the more important, with whole dialogues going on between people, celebrities and other public figures as to the rights and wrongs of the Pope’s visit.
All in all, it was actually nice to see a section of the country come together in support of one cause, even if it was religion. It just disappoints me that it takes religion to rally people together. We need something in the vein of Live Aid, not the X Factor, to really make Britain sit up and listen – it’s way overdue.