Saturday 10 December 2016

Kevin Myers: Every part of the beatification of John Paul II confounds me

Kevin Myers

Published 05/05/2011 | 05:00

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace arrive for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace arrive for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II

Since we're all sinners, it should have come as no surprise to see Robert Mugabe at the beatification ceremony in the Vatican for Pope John Paul II. Yet it did. How did he actually get there? I know I should know these things, but I don't even know if Zimbabwe has an airline.

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Perhaps he flew in Ryanair's African offshoot, Lionair, on the Harare-Bulawayo route. This doesn't actually take off, but taxis to the end of the runaway and passengers get out and walk the rest of the way. But I suppose that if Mugabe slips into the cockpit just before take-off and bears his big crocodile smile and purrs: "Actually, Mr Pilot, we're flying to Rome today," well then, Rome is what it would be -- yes, even if Michael O'Leary were skipper.

Ah yes, I can hear him already. "Please let me help you with your bags, sire. And would you care for an in-flight lobster or two -- courtesy, naturally, of Ryanair? And may I say what a rare pleasure it is to have you aboard, sire!"

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