February 15 | comments icon 4 COMMENTS     print icon print


Pity those who take a pop at Pope

Resignation coverage has been overbearingly arrogant and in 21st century Scotland only one view is allowed, says Kevin McKenna

PREDICTABLY, press coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation has been uninformed and gratuitously nasty. Not content with conferring the dubious appellation ‘conservative’ upon the Pontiff, some have even said he is an ‘arch-conservative.’ How can he possible come back from that? I write this on day one of the media’s reaction. Before the end of the week I am sure he will have been blamed for the horsemeat crisis, the North Korean missile imbroglio and the match-fixing scandal in European football.

For not only is Pope Benedict ‘arch-conservative’ he is also ‘out of touch,’ ‘homophobic,’ ‘sexist’ and ‘authoritarian.’ Indeed, given the vile and anti-social nature of these misdemeanours it is astonishing that he has not yet been dragged to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity. Despite clear evidence that suggests otherwise, Pope Benedict is held responsible for not doing enough to prevent child sex abuse.

Did I mention that he is ‘anti-abortion’ too? There can be no greater crime in western society than being ‘anti-abortion.’ If there was a secular equivalent to Dante’s Inferno then the Pope would be condemned to the seventh circle of liberal hell. He would be joined there by people who criticise same-sex marriage or who think that stem-cell research is simply a very profitable human spare parts industry.

It is difficult not to laugh out loud at some of what passes for serious comment about Pope Benedict’s Papacy. This is especially so when it is said that what the Church needs is someone much younger who will be more ‘liberal’ and ‘listen to the people.’ It infers that the conclave to elect the Pope is just hoaching with progressive radicals who are itching to change two centuries of Church teaching on abortion and homosexual marriage. Presumably they also want to legalise cannabis and advocate communes and free love. It is the only way to go if we want to get more people into church, don’t you know.

The press coverage has also been marked by overbearing arrogance. It simply assumes that if you are anti-abortion or reject same-sex marriage that you are a hopeless and pernicious reactionary who ought to be sent to a correction facility. In 21st century Scotland only one view of these issues is allowed.

A book that is to be published next month will tell us though, that Pope Benedict is in good company. The Pope’s Jews is a reappraisal of Pius XII actions during World War II in relation to Jewish people. Pope Pius has been dubbed ‘Hitler’s Pope’ for allegedly failing to condemn Hitler and his Final Solution. This calumny has been all too eagerly promulgated ever since by the agents of international humanism and atheism in spite of written and oral testimony from Jewish leaders that Pope Pius had been quietly responsible for saving countless Jewish people from the clutches of evil. To have antagonised Hitler too much would simply have invited unwanted scrutiny of Vatican City and risked the welfare of its Jewish refugees.

The Pope’s Jews lists the countless stratagems by which Pope Pius outwitted the Nazis and effectively turned the Vatican into a city of refuge for Jews from Italy and beyond. The author, Gordon Thomas, was given access to thousands of previously unpublished documents and hours of witness testimonies which prove that while the rest of Europe was falling before the Nazi war machine the Vatican stood alone fortified by the Holy Spirit and the faith and ingenuity of Pius and his wily Irish assistant, Mgr Hugh O’ Flaherty. Safe houses for Jewish refugees were established all over the Vatican and in Church properties throughout Europe and thousands of false Baptismal certificates were issued on the Pontiff’s orders. In 1944 Jerusalem’s chief rabbi praised Pope Pius for his actions. The people of Israel, said the Rabbi, would never forget what he was ‘doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters at the most tragic hour.’

The author was asked why the Church had not previously made its documents available, especially when the Pope Pius slander was it its worst. His reply is revealing and shines a little light into the way that the Church maintains its responsibility to proclaim the truth. “The Church thinks across centuries. If there’s a dispute for 50 years, so what.”

It is, of course, too early to assess Pope Benedict’s Papacy. Like all Popes, his principal mission is simply to proclaim the revealed truth about Jesus Christ and the salvific mission of God’s church. And so it matters not a jot if the entire population of the world rejects his teachings. Pope Benedict did not fail in that part of his task. His deep humility and quiet wisdom meanwhile were exactly what was needed to pilot the Church through the child sex abuse tempest. Perhaps his eight-year Papacy was just enough to ensure that Pope John Paul II’s legacy would be firmly embedded in the Church’s culture and governance throughout the world.

God bless the Pope.

— Kevin McKenna is former deputy editor of the Herald and former executive editor of the Daily Mail in Scotland. He is currently a columnist for the Guardian

Comments - 4 Responses

  1. G Wright says:

    Whatever Kevin McKenna says in the SCO, you can bet he will say the exact opposite in the strongly Guardian newspaper.

    Recently, he wrote in the SCO that Catholics are entitled to defend marriage without being called bigots or other names. Around the same time, he had an article in the Guardian, saying the Catholic view on same-sex ‘marriage’ was ‘wrong’ and ‘morally abhorrent.’

    No-one should buy the SCO for as long as McKenna continues to be associated with it.

  2. Michael says:

    A refreshing article, which highlights the very sad reality that having a Roman Catholic viewpoint in Scotland is something that makes you perceived as being so far against the grain that you should keep it to yourself. I am male, 33, married for 3 and a half years (together for many more), and we have a beautiful 2 and a half year old son. I chose early to live a relatively non-complicated life, which for me meant finding a life partner with the intention to have a family when we could provide for it. My parents and siblings did the same and we all have the RC upbringing we had to thank for that. To many that approach to life may sound normal and sensible, so it is nigh on insulting to think that we have become a minority as a result of having views that do not pander to the ‘more fashionable’ pro-abortion, pro-divorce, pro-gay marriage, etc, majority. If I am the last man standing my views will not change on the fundamental reason we are here and have continued to be here….pro-creation. Advocating doing so in a loving, settled relationship between a man and a woman, united in marriage should not be seen as offensive, or out-dated. It is a path I choose to Eternal life, so have no qualms in defending it’s merits over the aforementioned.

    Child abuse is such a raw and disgraceful issue it is never going to be dealt with in one lifetime, let alone one Papacy, so again, I enjoyed reading this article for highlighting that the “dirty job of cleaning up the mess” that someone had to do, was done rather well, considering the emotional sensitivities around it, by His Holiness.

    God bless the Pope.

    • Jo says:

      “Child abuse is such a raw and disgraceful issue it is never going to be dealt with in one lifetime, let alone one Papacy, so again, I enjoyed reading this article for highlighting that the “dirty job of cleaning up the mess” that someone had to do, was done rather well, considering the emotional sensitivities around it, by His Holiness.”

      You say that like the job is done. And that thing you call a “dirty job” involved innocent children who were abused by priests who, in turn, were protected by the Catholic Church.

      The job is not done and especially not in Scotland where we learned, only last weekend, of twenty cases brought to the attention of our Bishops with accompanying advice that a full independent investigation should be carried out. The Bishops “declined” to take the advice. Every catholic should agonise over the “emotional sensitivities” surrounding that particular decision. We are talking about a very serious criminal offence yet our Bishops were protecting the offender and failing to help the victims who were children. Those offences have assisted in destroying the reputation of every serving catholic priest and the reputation of the Church itself.

      I also think your views on lasting marriage give the impression that this achievement on your part is absolutely all down to your commitment and that others whose marriages failed are themselves guilty of personally failing. That is a sweeping judgement to make of many catholics who were innocent parties in the collapse of their own marriages. I am glad you have not experienced such a thing and I hope you never do. I would not wish it on anyone.

  3. john mclaughlin says:

    Fantastic piece of writing.

Leave a Reply

latest opinions

Faith and forgiveness in the Democratic Republic of Congo

April 17th, 2020 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Reporter Ryan McDougall explains why we shouldn't forgot about SCIAF's...

The virtue of patience will see us all through

March 30th, 2020 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

James Bundy finds lessons from the saints for the present...

Rich lessons to be learned from an unsought sabbatical

March 30th, 2020 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Fr Ronald Rolheiser explains why we must show love to...

We must remember the victory of Easter

March 30th, 2020 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Fr Jim Clarke says it is important that we remember...

Social media

Latest edition


exclusively in the paper

  • Unite in prayer against the virus, Paisley bishop pleads
  • Papal award recognises 60 years of Faithful service
  • Catholic high school leads trend with positive outcomes for pupils
  • New memorials celebrate Croy’s proud mining heritage
  • Top Catholic university rolls out programme in Scotland

Previous editions

Previous editions of the Scottish Catholic Observer newspaper are only available to subscribed Members. To download previous editions of the paper, please subscribe.

note: registered members only.

Read the SCO