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Monday, 4 Apr 2005 (Only #Current Affairs)

It's a sad time for Roman Catholics. We should be rejoicing for John Paul's life and leadership, and proud of the way he conducted himself to the end. As someone on the Radio commented, he could have hidden himself away in his last weeks, but he didn't. He let his weakness be known and that highlighted his faith and the meaning of his faith.

But we're sad too.

Apparently John Paul was a "controversial" pope. I think this meant that he stuck to the teaching of the Church and proclaimed her message without flinching and that some groups disagreed with him.

I think that the words "uncompromising" and "authentic" better describe his leadership style. Yes, I'm a fan.

I heard Shirley Wiliams issuing her opinions of his papacy on the Home Service at the weekend. She acknowledged that the Church is a more unified entity after his rule than when he started in the job. (A good thing, all agree.) She then went on to suggest that the Church would now need to grapple with the issues of birth control, the celibate priesthood and I think some other items that I cannot remember now... but essentially those fairly radical and central areas that are at odds with the liberal and pluralistic interests in society.

By "grapple with" I think Shirley Williams meant "change its position on". I could be wrong. But I doubt it. I think her argument was half-baked because (i) the Church *has* been grapppling with these issues and many others of a social, moral and political kind; and (ii) I believe the reason for the Church's increased unity is down in no small way precisely to JP2's strong leadership - which included his "hard-line" and "conservative" position.

One of the duties of the Church is to tell the world what she holds to be the Truth about God and Mankind, including moral teaching. If people in vast numbers choose to live their lives differently, I do not think this means that the Truth changes, or that the message should automatically change to engender more popularity or support. I know this is where the Anglican Church is at - i.e. unity at almost any cost, and you have there a group that is so unified in its diversity that you don't know what it stands for, if anything. Maybe Shirley Williams is an Anglican. But I'm not.

Friday, 1 Apr 2005 (Only #Current Affairs)

From the Daily mail today:-

The Prince of Wales has shown a rare flash of anger in another PR blunder for the royal family. The Prince said "I hate doing this" and "Bloody people" as he faced the press on a skiing holiday a week before his wedding.

Actually I think the "rare" refers to the public airing of Prince Charles' feelings. My gut feeling is that he has not much except disdain for commoners and he manages by and large to hide it. That he hates the press is almost a necessary given.

Perhaps The House of Windsor is making a commemorative set of mis-steps concerning the forthcoming welding of Charles and Camilla. Collect the whole set!

Charles muttered the comments, which were picked up by microphones, as he posed for pictures with sons William and Harry in Klosters, Switzerland.

How long has he been in this job? Not long enough to do it professionally.
The Prince, who is to marry Camilla Parker Bowles on April 8, looked uncomfortable as he was asked about the forthcoming nuptials.

After being questioned about how he was feeling before the big day, he said: "I'm very glad you have heard of it."

To my mind this is a fine example of (i) a typically ungenerous spirit on the part of this member of the Royal Family - a trait he shares with Princess Anne - and (ii) a typically really rubbish sense of irony or sarcasm. If you're going to be sarcastic, make it good at least.

But then he muttered: "Bloody people."

Keep digging, old chum. You may eventually get to Australia. They love you down under. Beacon