New Pope

Pope_Francis_in_March_2013Now the dust has settled, time to reflect. First, the BBC. I was listening on Radio 5 Live whose coverage was baleful. There was a time when the election of the Pope was reported as that and the pantomime around it – the Conclave, etc. – was largely ignored. Now it is an event in its own right.

BBC Radio 5 Live had the fawning Shelagh Fogarty in St Peter’s Square talking to some “academic” theologan who clearly believed that the Holy Spirit had the casting vote in the “election”. Mingling with the faithful was Dominic Laurie, 5-Live’s business and economics correspondent (though a freelancer), asking inane questions and getting obvious answers. What was he doing there? Well, seemingly in his youth he taught English in Rome for a year prior to becoming a journalist. Suitably qualified.

Of course the funniest moment – despite the briefings and so-called expertise on hand – was the failure of both the radio and the TV to identify exactly which cardinal had been elected. The TV and radio correspondents had different thoughts until the confusion was sorted after an AP wire. Such ineptness.

Then there is the nonsense about the Church more generally. Why does the BBC pay such homage to a corrupt and abusive institution? For the same reason it pays homage to the British Monarchy? It defeats me. The manipulation of the media by the Vatican is not subtle. The spinning going on is quite extraordinary. Here we have a new pope who is a simple man, who lived in a flat alone and cooked his own food. Goodness me, he also used public transport. And he wears a wooden cross (though not in the above photograph). Now we learn that he called his own newsagent in Buenes Aires to cancel his daily newspaper as, seemingly, he will not be going back. These are fripperies. He heads up the Catholic Church – a vile corporation – with a mission to exploit, misuse resources, lie/cover-up, subjugate women, etc. The BBC – of all news gathers – should not legitimise it.Musei_vaticani,_cappella_sistina,_retro_02

The fact that the Church was ever able to afford to build and maintain the Vatican and is the home of those great works of art; for example, the Sistine Chapel (right), says it all.

Now I know there are some good people in the Church. The monks who have persistently put their own lives at risk in Brazil hiding those who oppose the land grabs of the loggers, are a case in point. Equally, many hospitals and schools in South America and Africa are run by the Catholic Church to compensate for the failure of states to provide basic services. I commend the people behind these enterprises. But Iwould argue that education and health services in the 21st Century are the responsbilility and preserve of states, not churches.

Pictures: Pope Francis presidencia.gov.ar

Sistine Chapel: Sailko (Wikipedia)

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