From the Independent:
The authoritarian leader of the world’s Catholics promised to restore the purity of his church. So why is it still plagued by scandal upon scandal? Peter Popham reports.
Of all the countries Pope Benedict XVI is visiting this year – including Malta, Portugal, Cyprus and Spain – Britain, which he visits in September, is the one in the greatest moral difficulty from his perspective: a citadel of wild-eyed relativism, beset by all the ills which the Sixties incubated and which the Catholic Church here, in the Vatican’s view, has done little to combat.
Look at the evidence: we have women vicars, openly gay Cabinet ministers, the minaret of a mosque looming over Regent’s Park. Multi-culturalism has supplanted Christianity as the religion of choice; hardly anyone goes to church any more; a Christian tradition going back 1,500 years is discarded as immigrants belonging to every faith and none pour in. In our adoration of pop stars we have produced a new reign of idolatry. Benedict’s late boss, whose doctrinal conservatism was lightened by a Bohemian theatrical streak, happily sat through a Bob Dylan concert and quoted the singer’s lyrics in his subsequent sermon; on another occasion the current Pope’s predecessor went so far as to try on Bono’s shades. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict’s name before he was Pope), obliged to accompany his boss, shook his head sadly over such lapses. These “stars of the young”, he later wrote, “had a message completely different from that to which the Pope was committed. There was reason to be skeptical – which I was, and in a certain sense still am – to doubt whether it was really right to involve ‘prophets’ of this type.” Pop music, he said in 1986, was “a vehicle of anti-religion”.
[Read more at the Independent]