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On the extraordinary survival of the figure of the Pope.


Those of us who haven't been raised in a Catholic country or those – like almost all the Catalans I know or have known - who have been so forcibly raised in one against their will that they would now sooner cuddle a water rat than kiss the hand of a cardinal, cannot help but be astonished at the way in which local press and TV presents the Vatican as if it were somehow a normal part of 21st century life. For unbelievers, the news is not that for the first time in 597 years a Pope has abdicated, it's that the Pope is an absolute monarch on a continent where such beings are as rare as the duckbilled platypus; it's that, to choose the next Pope, 70 people wearing little round hats, red velvet shawls and maxi skirts – all of them men - have to jet in from around the world in order to lock themselves up for days on end in a 16th century chapel; it's that these men still claim they represent an institution founded by a member of a two thousand year old Jewish sect founded in its turn by a prophet who may well not even have existed except on paper (and who, by the way, was not accorded divine attributes by the Catholic Church itself until it got its Acts together at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325); it's that this same Church openly condemns natural practices such as homosexuality, from which many of its own leading figures obtain fleshly pleasure (as seen recently on YouTube); it's that it covers up for those of its members whose noxious practises – such as child rape – have caused immeasurable misery to countless victims and their families (four of the conclaved American cardinals, for example, are directly responsible for the occultation of over 16,000 cases of priestly sexual abuse in the US). Why is it, then, that in the supposedly secular and often wilfully cool Catalan media, absolutely none of these not altogether positive aspects of Catholicism are questioned, discussed or debated? Where are all the atheists and iconoclasts that TV3 was full of, the last time I looked? Where, indeed, are the heirs of the famously ubiquitous Catalan menjacapellans (virulent anti-Catholics) of yesteryear? Surely – this being the day and the age that it is - they're not afraid to come out of the cupboard?

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -