Friday, September 17, 2010

Damian Thompson on the Pope and the Queen
I didn’t see the point of blogging a picture: it’s only a state visit. But here are some choice quotations.
Pope meets the Queen – who, unlike the Archbishop of Canterbury, is a real Protestant.
Dr Williams may really think he’s close to us because of his views on the sacraments or on the prayers of the saints, and/or the liturgical practice he does or at least accepts. Well and good, and true as far as it goes. But because he believes in a fallible church changeable by vote, he’s not one of us.

The Queen’s honest about not being Catholic.
Paradoxically, however, the Queen may share as much ground with the Pope as with her own Archbishop. The supreme governor of the Church of England and the supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church are both octogenarians dismayed by modern immorality. Neither of them thinks that gay unions are compatible with Biblical teaching, as Dr Williams appears to. (You never know quite where you are with +Rowan.) And, although the Queen has never expressed a view on the subject, she is not thought to be a great champion of women priests.

Today’s meeting undoubtedly reflects a clash of historical traditions and formal theology. But it is also an encounter between two devout, old-fashioned, conservative Christians – and, in that respect, a meeting of minds.

Benedict shows the utmost courtesy but never, ever attempts to obscure reality with platitudes.
An old friend once told me that’s a mark of real class vs affected class. They don’t really bullsh*t you because they have nothing to fear — losing a job for example — by speaking that way. So no euphemisms, no cornball-elegant PC big words from corporatespeak (‘thinking an extra syllable makes you sound like Jeeves’ as David Mitchell says, or as Matt Groening’s writers put it, no ‘buzzwords dumb people use to sound important’, the stuff I love to rip out of news copy before it sees the light of day).

As much as I joke like a Jacobite about Betty Hanover and Phil the Non-Greek, I don’t dislike the woman: she’s all about trying to live up to her obligations.

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