The Holy Father has returned to Rome, safe, well, happy, very much alive. I was so fearful before he came, and now feel a little silly. Should I? Looking back to just a week ago, there was non-stop criticism on the airwaves. Most of it was of the level of a Discovery Channel documentary - you know the ones: "because of the tenuous relationship between this vague rumour and that crazy loon THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH". But it was unrelenting. The door was thrown open and they all walked through into our heads. And it got me down. I have to say, it's hard raise your head in a society where you're being told 24/7 the person you admire, and pray for is a neo-nazi woman-hating homophobe baby eater. The British media went crazy on it. The Irish media went crazy on it too, only a few days later. Nobody told us there was all that organisation happening, that schoolchildren were writing poems and drawing pictures to give to the Pope, that families were buying rail tickets and packing picnic baskets, that choirs were practising, practising, practising, seminarians polishing, polishing, polishing, and millions of people praying, praying, praying. I suppose that's not a good news story - 'CATHOLICS DO EXACTLY AS THEY SHOULD' - but it sure feels good to me.
So I'm sorry, iron faced woman who wants to be a priest of a religion she neither loves nor respects, and I'm sorry, gay activist and semi-official public blame apportioner who wants the pope to resign even though of what the pope does and what the pope is gay activist public blame apportioner does not have the slightest clue, and I'm truly sorry, sexual abuse survivor, because you're so, so, so in danger of developing what has been called 'the vanity of victimhood', and now it's time for you to stop surviving on a diet of apologies and settlements and resignations and start living. I'm even sorry for you, charming television personality and successful author atheist. You unfailingly target the Catholic church as your opponent, which is a sort of compliment, I suppose, as if other religions don't really propose or defend a concept of God, and your pride in the disinterestedness of your logic is so irrational it smacks of Robespierre and Co. I'm sorry for you all because you have no love in your hearts. But I'm happy you are all alive because any person can change, and any hard heart can soften, and some day you may be happy to let Catholics be Catholics. Some day, soon I hope, you may feel the way I feel now.
I know, I did'n't have enough faith, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I am, as always, surprised and overjoyed by the grace of God.