Protestant Too Much
It being Sunday, this story is particularly resonant - and also demanding of forgiveness. But the news that a junior British civil servant in the Foreign Office prepared an official memo planning for the Pope's autumn visit - a memo distributed widely to politicians and officials, and called a serious brainstorming document - which recommended the Pope variously open an abortion clinic, and start a new brand of condoms - seems willfully disrespectful, even sacrilegious. People who wish to suggest I take a chill pill, and see the humour of the document may miss the point: visiting world leaders shouldn't ever be treated to such official government mockery, no matter how ludicrous their beliefs may be. When their beliefs are a religion practiced by more than 20% of the world, and by a significant minority of one's own nation, even less reason is given for such a Monty Python treatment. Of course, in pubs and private, let the Protestant (and secular) people of Britain mock the Catholic leader. But to have derision generated at the higher levels of government reveals an inconvenient truth: Britain's elite ruling class is now, more or less, godless. Godless, irreverent, and even, it might be said, cynical to the point of boring nihilism.