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Whether you’re Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Anglican, or more importantly Catholic, it seems that the one thing everyone has been talking about (and by that I mean the media) is Pope Benedict’s visit to our humble island. Now, as an Anglican country (since Henry VIII wanted to divorce one of his many wives) I simply cannot understand why we make such a big deal about a papal visit.
Before the Pope even arrived there was controversy — a senior (they’re all ‘senior’ in the Church though) cardinal was quoted as describing arriving at Heathrow as landing in a “Third World country”. Now, as a Northerner, I cannot understand why he would describe landing at Heathrow as being on a par with landing in the Third World. He should try flying Ryanair to Morocco. Or even better, flying to Leeds-Bradford. Actually, any flight with Ryanair would be on a par with what Cardinal Kasper (neither friendly nor a ghost) described as the “Third World”. The interview he gave continued to describe England as being marked by a “new and aggressive kind of atheism”, as opposed to the aggressive forms of Christianity we find in the Middle Ages. I can’t help but find myself likening this to a situation involving school bullying – the school bully is happy to dish out teasing and aggression towards other children, but when others turn against him, he cries and doesn’t like it one bit.
So after our friend Cardinal Kasper pulled out, Popey arrived, in his private plane (which the tax-payer paid for) greeted by Prince Phillip. Why did the Queen think it was a good idea to send gaffe-prone Phillip to greet the leader of one of the world’s leading religions? Surprisingly it passed gaffe-free, and Popey proceeded to meet Queenie for the exchanging of gifts – at which point both parties chose to feign interest in the other’s gift – followed by a rather awkward silence in which Queenie motioned at some family photos. It was at this point that I grew tired of watching the BBC’s endless live coverage, and chose to assassinate the Pope. Yes, it was such a poignant coincidence that during the real Pope’s visit to Britain, I was playing Assassin’s Creed 2 (a game I recommend to all) and managed to complete my final mission, which was to assassinate the Pope. How I chuckled at the appropriateness of what I had just done.
In all honesty, I found myself bored by the whole debacle. The BBC kept me up-to-date with what Popey was up to — comparing ‘aggressive atheism’ with Nazism (appropriately enough), apologising without saying sorry to victims of abuse by priests, and saying we should be protecting our children in schools (coincidentally forgetting to mention that we should be protecting them in the Church) . And not to forget the obligatory masses and services.
But, what was the cost? Well, the media told us that it would cost £12million for this visit, paid for by the British tax-payers. If I paid tax (oh, the joys of being a student) then I would be utterly outraged — as a non-Catholic, why should I pay for the head of the Catholic Church to come for his jollies in my country? Moreover, why should I pay £12million for it?! The Catholic Church is one of the richest institution in the world today, worth well over £10billion, yet they can’t even shell out money to pay for the Pope’s security, Popemobile petrol, stages? I find this appalling. I mean, who invited him anyway? Anyway, rant aside; I am still awaiting news of my application to visit the Vatican, all expenses paid with a total cost of about €12million. Let’s hope it’s successful.