Monday, 20 September 2010

Post-Pope Monday papers (2): the Daily Mail

The voice of conservative middle Britain waits until page 6 to report the Beatification Mass.

In a comment piece, Stephen Glover, thinks "this was a much more successful visit than the Roman Catholic hierarchy had dared to hope", but said it was "much more than that": "the Pope spoke to the soul of our country, affirming eternal moral verities which our own political and religious leaders prefer to avoid". He goes on:

"Pope Benedict's declarations over the past few days have been remarkable and, in modern Britain, unprecedented. They were delivered in the calmest, meekest, least ranting way possible, and yet they carried a great authority that comes, I think, from the Pope's sense of holiness and evident goodness, as well as from the dignity of his office."

He goes on to lament that in the Church of England "there is a sense of defeatism in the face of an incoming tide of secularism, as congregations dwindle and parish churches close". Can they not learn something, he says, from the enthusiastic young people who lined the streets to greet the Pope?

Glover goes on to lambast the "atheist extremists" who protested the visit; they "have nothing to offer by way of hope to the young or anybody else" and showed "mean-spiritedness borderning on lunacy" in their calls.

The Mail's editorial continues Glover's line, saying the Pope in four days has done more to stimulate debate about the role of religion in public life than Archbishops of Canterbury have achieved in many decades. 

On p. 17 Peter McKay was struck by "the gentle, almost uncertain expressions of the Pope and the hard, cynical certainty on the faces of those decrying his visit".