Monday, 20 September 2010

Post-Pope Monday papers (5): the Daily Telegraph

The newspaper of the Conservative establishment is the only one of the five papers reviewed to put the Pope on the front page, consistent with the paper's enthusiasm for the visit.

The front page carries a huge picture of the smiling, waving Pope under the headline "Pope's fond farewell to Britain" and inside dedicates three pages to the visit. A brilliantly written and witty sketch of Cofton Park by Christopher Howse is followed by reports by the paper's religious correspondent, Martin Beckford.

On p. 23 Peter Stanford's essay examines what has been changed by the papal visit. British Catholics, he says, "are certainly in better heart", not least because of the Pope's strong words on abuse. Stanford is impressed that "Benedict seemed much more concerned with rekindling the Church's dialogue with civil society than with making converts", and thinks that the aggressive secularists "may no longer find they enjoy such an exaggerated platform". He also thinks Anglo-Catholics pondering whether to cross the Tiber will be more encouraged to do so:

One of the worries of potential Anglican converts -- admittedly more real in Newman's age than our own -- is that they are putting themselves somehow outside the mainstream by becoming Catholics. One of the biggest achievements of Benedict's trip, though, was to show Roman Catholicism very much as a valuable and valued presence at the heart of this multicultural, mult-faith nation."
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wittily describes his brief meeting with the Pope at Heathrow Airport. "I felt," he said, "like a woad-painted savage suddenly confronted by an effulgent vision from Rome, and called upon to explain the religious back-sliding of the tribe". He also deals with the considerable dilemma of whether the Popemobile should have paid the congestion charge.