What a 4 days it must have been in Britain and the world, if you take the BBC World's word for it. Nothing much else happened in the world. The Pope visited Britain. As you might know, unlike other religious sects, the Catholic church was given a piece of land by the fascist state under Mussolini's dictatorship, and has henceforth called itself a state. So, accordingly, when the Pope visited Britain for 4 days, it's been a state visit. This charade, courtesy of Mussolini, explains why the cost of the state visit was fully paid for by UK tax payers, the tax payers of one of Europe's most secular societies. Surprisingly, our head of state then went out of his way to convert Brits in public speech after speech (pardon me, in mass after mass after mass) to his state. Not really, of course. The Pope busily tried to convert Brits to Catholicism. Begs the question why British taxpayers should pay their hard earned money for giving him that privilege. Imagine Barack Obama, or, heaven forbid, Stephen Harper, would head to the UK on a state visit to tell Brits that they'd join his country (or, more to the point, his political party). People would consider that distinctly inappropriate. Funnily, these diplomatic rules don't apply to the old man in the red Prada shoes.
The Pope managed to attract only a fraction of the crowd his predecessor attracted. This didn't stop him, of course, from insisting that UK policies should follow the teachings of his state - agh, damn, religion this time... what a mess this is with this 'state' visit. He busied himself with hectoring UK policy makers on the inapproriateness of permitting gay folks to live in state recognized civil partnerships. The Catholic church, ooops, 'state' doesn't do human rights, it does Catholicism and God. No news in that, of course. For some reason UK government characters fell over each other insisting that they do faith in public life.
No clever person would want to be found anywhere close to a bloke who's been busy preventing information about pedophile priests the world all over from reaching the police, and who's been busy with ensuring that these criminals don't go to jail where they belong. Not so in Britain, people in power queued to shake the old man's hand. I felt sorry for the Queen, who had pretty little choice on this occasion. The Pope busily apologized for the pedophilia scandal, but since when is this sufficient to avoid criminal prosecution? Let's just say that the British police failed its duties to protect the public entirely on this one. The Pope left Britain unscathed, he was not arrested as the head of an organization that has spent decades protecting child molesters among its employees the world all over.
The Pope left us with a remarkable insight, 'science can't explain our existence'. Even if that was true, of course, neither does 'God', so what's the big deal? He also left us with a remarkable demand, namely that we should leave the cold reality that we live in behind and return to his state, ugh, his ideology.
I must say, I am somewhat reassured after this visit. The decline of this organization - and organizations like it - across the developed world will undoubtedly increase. Only true fundamentalists will join forces with such reactionaries, no matter how colorful their clothes. This emperor is truly pretty naked, his going in drag notwithstanding. In many ways that's a good thing. I never had issues about people holding weird beliefs. What irritates me is that invariably, once they're in large numbers, they try to force everyone else to live by their holy book. That really is annoying. The Pope tried to persuade Brits precisely of that, join my ideology was his message on his 'state' visit. No chance this is going to happen, even with the current 'faith doing' conservative 'liberal' government in that country. Match and win for the enlightenment - may be not in Uganda and Jamaica, but pretty much everywhere in Europe at least. It's a start.