|Pope Bashers Are Throwback to 1605
By George Galloway
September 20, 2010
As Bridget Jones might have said, he's not my favourite Pope or anything, but the malignant undertone to much of the coverage of the Pope Benedict visit fair takes you back.
To hundreds of years of British hosti lity to the Catholic Church, exemplified by the burning of the Guy and guys like him since around the time of the Gunpowder Plot.
When Guy Fawkes began plotting his treason, being a Catholic in Britain was a bit like being a Jew in Occupied Europe during the war.
Not as bad as but there were many similarities.
Catholic "recusants", refuseniks, were on the run, going to Mass in the woods, martyrs were hanging from trees - after having their fingernails pulled out first to force them to betray the whereabouts of others.
The Church of England, founded on the libido of Henry VIII, was determined to root out the Mother Church.
When my grandson Sean was christened in the chapel in Westminster Hall, it was the first Catholic baptism in Parliament since Oliver Cromwell turned that very chapel into a stable for his horses.
When Michael Martin became Speaker of the House of Commons, he was the first of his faith to hold that position in hundreds of years.
That's why the right-wing English press called him Mick, a name he has never been known by. And why they called him "Gorbals", though he has no connection with south of the river Clyde.
Even now a Catholic cannot be Lord Chancellor, and no Catholic may marry into the Royal family without converting first.
You can be a drunkard, a trollop, an adulterer and be welcomed into the House of Fun and Royal Games, but it's a knockout if you look to Rome.
Helen Liddell, Dr John Reid and Tom Clarke MP were all given a half-day's holiday from St Pat's school in Coatbridge in 1967 to celebrate the first Catholic ever landing a job in a bank in the Lanarkshire town. I could go on, but Record readers are wearily familiar with the litany.
Benedict is slated because he is against the practice - as opposed to the state of mind - of homosexuality.
Stupid, really, because gays were born homosexual and can no more choose their orientation than the colour of their eyes.
Presumably God made them homosexual for mysterious reasons as yet unrevealed. But ALL religions are against homosexuality.
He's slated for "covering up" sexual malpractice in the priesthood, though there is not a jot of evidence that he ever did anything not common practice in most societies and agencies at the time when faced with such "unspeakable crimes". In any case, child sex abuse happens in many places, and many churches too. I was myself sexually abused in the Army Cadet Force, by a non-denominational school janitor while he dressed up like Captain Mainwaring.
Others have been abused, in Boys' Brigades, Boy Scouts, football teams, clubs of all sorts.
As a kid, me and a neighbouring boy had to leg it off the bus from Arbroath after an obscene suggestion by the "kindly" elderly RSPCA volunteer who'd taken us all on a day trip to that Riviera of the north-east.
He's attacked over the Church's teaching on abortion, even though ALL religions are against abortion because it's the wilful killing of unborn children.
He's even denounced for his childhood membership of the Hitler Youth, even though membership was compulsory for all boys in Germany at the time of his membership and the concentration camps would have been his fate if he had refused - as a 12-year-old.
There is something ugly about what the Pope called the aggressive atheism of modern Britain.
And from the No Pope Here catcalls of the bigots, to the ritzier columnists of the liberal chatterati, we've seen its Bridget Jones big pants over the last week.
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