Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Papal blessing

Sir: In his excellent article on Pope Francis ('Pope idol', 11 January), Luke Coppen mentions the satirical rumour that the new pontiff had abolished sin. It could never be said, however, even in a spoof, that he has abolished the Devil, whom he has named and shamed on a number of occasions. What Coppen calls 'the cockeyed lionisation of Francis' is surely itself a trick of the Devil: so too the 'older son problem' - the disgruntlement of obedient Catholics at Francis's embrace of sinful prodigal sons and daughters. Virtue is surely its own reward, and no one who has experienced grace hankers after the fleshpots of Egypt.

Piers Paul Read London W12

Straight talking Sir: I have always liked what I know of Matthew Parris, so it is entirely without malice that I venture to link the title of his piece in the issue of 11 January ('It's gay men who contribute most to society') with Mandy Rice-Davies's comment, quoted in William Astor's article in the same issue:

'He would say that, wouldn't he?'

As for the thesis itself, it may or may not be true - but it's worth pointing out that without heterosexuals and their reproductive proclivities, there would be no society at all. . .

Febrin LePadden Surrey

What would Jesus tweet ?

Sir: I was puzzled by James Bartholomew's comment (Diary, 4 January) that Jesus would have lost his dignity had he been reduced to condensing his great thoughts into 140 characters. I put his statement to the test, and counted the characters in three of his quotes from the King James Bible.

- It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (111 characters; Luke 18:25) - Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

(79 characters: Matthew 11:28) - Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.

Love others as well as you love yourself.

(117 characters: Matthew 22:34) These three Twitter compliant statements by Jesus have come down the millennia thanks to their brevity. Less really is more. Ahead of his time rather than behind ours, I think.

Bridget Mayes Dorset Mandy and mores Sir: In the 1960s I made a film about Mandy Rice-Davies ('Notes on a scandal', 11 January) as a special for World in Action.

It was made with her full co-operation, but was never broadcast. This was because Sidney Bernstein, then head of Granada Television, told me that the programme could not be seen by the British public as it carried the wrong message. …

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