Well, here beginneth my first ever attempt at a blog.
As our perennially-popular pontiff wends his self-satisfied way back home, swapping the shores of a Third-World nation for a Third-Century city-state, the satellite channel More4 appears to be taking advantage of the sudden lull in the saturation coverage of Ratzinger and presenting a more acceptable face of the Roman Catholic Church – in the shape of the wonderful evergreen classic Father Ted; specifically the episode called “The Passion of St. Tibulus.” For anyone unfamiliar with that episode, the title refers to a controversial film which the (unseen) Pope has condemned as blasphemous; and so, when it arrives on Ted’s home turf of Craggy Island, it falls to him and his cohort to deal with it.
The image of Fathers Ted and Dougal protesting outside the cinema daring to show the banned film, placards warning passersby with the slogans I borrowed for this post’s title, represents a softer, gentler, rather bemused and befuddled type of parish priesthood that perhaps still exists in the world, if only in the public imagination.
It’s a rose-tinted pink ‘n’ fluffy attitude which is encouraged if not actively propagated by an organisation desperate for a distraction. Any distraction. “Look at all that evil and wickedness over there,” says Ratzinger. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. And certainly don’t ask what he’s doing behind there.” It allows the organisation to sweep embarrassing and uncomfortable accusations underneath gold-threaded silken robes, whilst its stance on contraception and abortion condemn the poorest people on the planet to a lifetime of starvation (large families that they are unable properly to feed), unrelenting poverty, misery and disease.
It’s all a far cry from quaint, loveable old Craggy Island.
If there really must be a continuation of the papacy, I nominate Father Ted Crilly.