I have spent some time considering whether to comment on the Pope’s visit to the UK in general , and to Edinburgh specifically.
I could rant all day about the fact that the city is about to be disrupted to such an extent that the TRAMbles which we usually have to cope with is like a family picnic. I could talk about how there is no other head of state (including our own), religious figure or celebrity who would get away with closing so many streets, cancelling so many public transport services, and generally putting the majority of people in the town to so much inconvenience. But everyone is talking about that.
I could point out that I am, generally, a "live and let live" type of person who is very happy if a person has found a god and chooses to live their life according to one or other doctrine. Many of my nicest and closest friends are very religious people, and I try not to upset them too often with my heathen ways. I could, having said that, discuss how I often have to bite my tongue when it comes to the issue of the Roman Catholic church. As an outsider there are far too many contradictions, too many blind spots, and far too much double-think involved for any (as I see it) right thinking person in the 21st century. But each to their own.
I could simply point out that there is an enormous amount of hoo-ha about the whole thing, way beyond its actual importance. I could opine that a very small minority are actively against the visit, a bigger minority are (literally) in raptures of delight and anticipation, but that the majority of us really don’t give a crap and just want to get to work on time. I could argue vehemently that the taxpayer is having to pay outrageous sums of money to fund something that is being billed as a State Visit, when it is nothing of the sort. Yes, Benedict XVI will be meeting the Queen for a spot of elevenses, but 95% of his visit is to be spent parading in front of the converted, and leading religious observances with the very same people. That’s not a State Visit, any more than a Jerry Falwell rally, a Church of Scotland Assembly, or a latter day Jihad. But let’s not go there.
So I had decided not to blog on the subject at all.
Until I come home to the news that senior Papal aide Cardinal Walter Kasper has today described the UK as "a Third World country" marked by "a new and aggressive atheism". He then goes on to explain that he had not intended "any kind of slight" in saying so.
Well, fuck off.
Is that aggressively atheistic enough for you? Why do I have to listen to you and your anachronistic, racist, bigoted, sexist, homophobic (etc, etc, etc) boss spoil my perfectly nice day and my perfectly nice country?
You, Cardinal Kasper, need to shut the hell up. You need to wake up and look at the world. You need to stop perpetuating your self-serving, elitist crap, lose the gold-threaded robes and, frankly, get out there and actually do some good for people. Sell the silver and buy people a decent meal. Open up the cathedral doors and give a roof to the homeless. Figure out what your God and his Son were actually talking about.
And then – still – fuck off.
And I don’t mean any kind of slight in saying that.