Monday, 20 September 2010

Post-Pope Monday papers (4) The Independent

In the lead-up to the papal trip, the Independent carved out a niche for itself as the voice of the secularist objections to the state nature of the visit, and  -- as readers of the Monitor will recall -- offered itself as a platform for some lurid atheist attacks on the Church.

Like the other papers, it gives over two pages to the reporting (on pages 8 and 9), with a report from its religious correspondent, Jerome Taylor, and Comment by Catherine Pepinster, the Tablet's editor. She says the visit served to unify Catholics and humanise the Pope, and sees in his remarks on clerical sex abuse a shift in Vatican language to describing abuse as a crime as well as a sin. She also thinks gay Catholics would be left wondering how the Pope sees them.

In an editorial, The Independent concedes that "this highly contested visit passed off better, even much better, than might have been expected", saluting the organising skills of the British state and the "the orderly protests that gave the critics a voice". But "it was thanks, in much larger part, to what the Pope said and how he said it", the newspaper says, noting that "there were times, too, when the Pope's words indisputably struck a chord". The editorial concludes, remarkably -- given this paper's previous editorials -- that "he may have left Britain just a little more broad-minded than he found it."