Magazine article The Spectator

Making a Stand

Magazine article The Spectator

Making a Stand

Article excerpt

New York

Happiness is a German pope succeeding the greatest pope ever, a Pole. Not everyone agrees with me. Blogger Andrew Sullivan, a Brit expatriate and gay-rights advocate, called it a 'full-scale assault' on liberal Catholics. If he is a typical liberal Catholic, he has just doubled my joy at Benedict XVI's election. Fifty years ago, secular liberals predicted that education and science would do away with the opium of the people. They were as wrong about the power of faith as they've been wrong about everything else. An hysterical Irish-American, Maureen Dowd, writing in the Big Bagel Times, described the new pope as a hatchet-faced bully, a Cardinal No, a Vatican Darth Vader. Dowd should be excused. She was traumatised early on when Gabby Hayes (the dirty old mumbling drunk of old cowboy films) turned her advances down, as did, later on, the smooth Adolph Menjou, not to mention Boris Karloff. Good old Tina Brown, another Brit trying to pass herself off as a woman of importance over here, never disappoints. The new pope reminded her of Ratso Rizzo, the character played by Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy. How trendy and superficial. How vulgar and typical of the celebrity-obsessed Brown. Whom would she have preferred? Harvey Weinstein? I wouldn't bet against it.

It took the wonderful Anne Applebaum, a serious writer, unlike the shallow and jumped-up buffoons mentioned above, to pinpoint why the election of Cardinal Ratzinger is a very good thing. The cardinals showed that, despite Europe's terminal secular disease, they have not given up on the continent in which the papacy was born. I, for one, am delighted. A conservative pope is what the sick continent needs, not some trendy cardinal from America or the Far East. We are in a spiritual decline and Rome has decided to make a stand. Gay marriage, drugs, free-speech rights for Man-Boy Love Association, late abortion on demand, light sentences for violent criminals, compassion for brutal murderers, punishment for any official allowing the Ten Commandments in a court room, no public displays of the baby Jesus at Christmas, free pornography on the internet - it has got to stop somewhere, and the stopping begins in Rome. Hooray for Benedict XVI. Down with the secular scum of Brussels for their decision to eject God from their proposed constitution.

Incidentally, my young son, who is painting in Rome from the Palazzo Corsini and in hot pursuit of Roman sweetie-pies, attended both the funeral and inauguration and came away inspired and invigorated. …

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