The Pope forgives again

Pope Benny is behaving like a man who is desperate to change the subject. In his latest digression he declared himself a fan of The Beatles, lamenting the 40th anniversary of their break-up, and graciously forgiving them for their “drug-taking and blasphemy”. This has failed to impress Ringo, who noted that being forgiven by the Pope puts you in rather dodgy company. I personally won’t believe Benny is sincere until he reverses Yoko Ono’s excommunication for “witchcraft, satanic incantations and lewd exposure of the pudenda”. The Catholic Church will never be a moral voice for the acid-trippers and headbangers until it can distinguish the eccentric from the diabolical.

Meanwhile, the Pope’s ever loyal supporters have been walking on eggshells to avoid embarrassing him. Take the recent papal visit to Malta. The mayor of a small town wanted to tear down a
much-loved phallic symbol lest the High Pontiff should accidentally gaze at this monstrous affront to ecclesiastical dignity. Commonsense prevailed after the creator of the monument told the mayor he was a philistine and an ignoramus.

“Rome, where the Pope lives, is full of columns, but I don’t see anyone complaining and asking for them to be removed!” he thundered.

A very good point indeed. Benny must have seen a veritable forest of oversized dicks in his long career of holy service – why would one more offend him?

If the Pope is determined to pardon child-abusers, he should start with those outside the priesthood guilty of the most venial sins. I was dismayed to hear of yet another schoolmistress getting arrested for
seducing a teenage boy. The most dispiriting aspect of this case was the willingness of her 16-year-old pupil to testify against her in open court. Although the jury sensibly acquitted her of all wrongdoing, prosecutions like this send a terrible message to the young. A generation of schoolboys will have learned that kissing-and-telling and ingratitude are commendable forms of behaviour.

It seems to me that this schoolmistress is a good-natured and obliging young lady who made an unlucky choice. Call me a fanciful ape, but I feel that she and others like her belong in a religious order. They remind me of the pagan goddesses of antiquity who would bestow the ultimate favour on their most loyal devotees. What a happy position the Catholic Church would now be in if it had made these women priests instead of all those nasty paedophiles. Pope Benny, alas, is far too timid and reactionary to consider their ordination, but they could always offer their talents to another church. There are many progressive sects that encourage women to serve God in all positions.

Perhaps they should start by approaching the Mormons, who are rich enough to pay them well and weird enough to appreciate their unorthodox pastoral techniques. Before becoming priestesses, they would have to be trained to distinguish the deserving from the undeserving. Generosity is the finest of virtues, but it loses its heavenly aura if you toss it around indiscriminately.

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