The Guardian must have scared itself with its “turbulent priest” editorial on Saturday – it has now taken it back.

The one on Saturday was not wholly admiring of the pope’s performance.

[H]e believes that there is only one one spiritual source – again his – from which all our values derive. He is attacking not only the Reformation, the separation of church and state, but the very basis on which a secular society is built.

But today, well, on further consideration, when confronted with an actual pope, the only thing to do is grovel.

Despite Benedict XVI’s unbending and in some senses cruel conservatism, the Guardian supported his visit, recognising that there was diplomatic business to do and, perhaps, a chance of reconciliation.

What diplomatic business? Vatican city is not a real state, so what diplomatic business can there be to do? And why would reconciliation be a good thing? Given the recognition of the unbending and in some senses cruel conservatism, why reconcile? Few people want reconciliation with Nazis or fans of apartheid or Fred Phelps; why should the Guardian want reconciliation with the reactionary top priest of a reactionary church?

The Guardian doesn’t say, perhaps because it is in too much of a hurry to say fuck those motherfucking atheists (that’s not me, I’m channeling Tim Minchin).

If the pope has not done much reconciling, then neither have his militant opponents. The thousands who traipsed through London chanting “he belongs in jail” may not see any connection between themselves and the anti-papist mobs of the past, but there is a failure to afford sincere faith the respect it is due.

What respect? What respect is the due of sincere faith? And does the Guardian really mean respect? Since it’s incompatible with protest, the meaning is apparently more like universal unquestioning obedience. Yes, the protesters failed to afford sincere faith that. Whew!

(And what on earth does the Graun mean “traipsing”? Automatic contempt for the very act of protesting now?)

Apparently the Grun takes exception to “he belongs in jail.” But it is at least arguable, and is being argued, that he has (as the head of his organization) committed a crime against humanity. It’s not simply self-evident that he is in no sense a criminal.

But hey – he is a religious leader. It Is Forbidden to say harsh things about religious leaders, at least according to the Tory papers and all the others too.

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