Ruth Dudley Edwards: German shepherd softens bark of self-appointed watchdogs
Pope-mania in Britain has triumphed over the rhetoric of aggressive secularism, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards
I'VE always rather liked Cardinal Ratzinger, and indeed rooted for him to be pope, and as Pope Benedict XVI, he has seemed to me to be an intelligent, thoughtful man doing his best in a nest of Vatican careerists, obscurantists and vipers. But it was the sneering, bullying secularists that made me want his visit to Britain to be a big success.
Led by Stephen Fry, Top Sneerer, and Richard Dawkins, Top Bully, their shrill bigotry makes me embarrassed to be an atheist. Their fellow in anti-papal protests, the gay activist Peter Tatchell, wrote and presented on Channel 4 The Trouble with the Pope -- an absurdly biased documentary, which exhibited a startling ignorance of even the basics of Roman Catholicism.
Speaking of bigotry, our little island made its contribution last week. The politicians lined up to meet the Pope in Scotland did not include the Northern Ireland first and deputy first ministers. Peter Robinson wasn't going to be seen with the Pope and Martin McGuinness wasn't going to be seen with the queen. Paisley turned up to protest for old time's sake and to get a bit of attention.