Thursday 18 January 2018

Anne Harris: The wolf of despair and a beatific smile

Pope must tackle major issues facing church and not get bogged down in Vatican politics, writes

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Anne Harris

I come from a long line of women who were in love with a pope. For my grandmother it was Pope Pius XII. In her last years she, who had been a beauty, even grew to look like him the way lovers do: forbidding, austere and frightening to small children.

My mother (who had eight children) fell for a different type. For her it was Pope John XXIII. She went all gooey when his name was mentioned. And why wouldn't she? The architect of Vatican Two and the man who officially ended anti-semitism in the Vatican came from humble stock. He instigated a report on birth control and seemed to hold the idea that sexual love between consenting adults – conjugal love – was a gift from God that didn't have to lead to procreation.

They soon put paid to that notion and that's where I opted out. The church's position on women priests sealed that door from the outside.

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