Rosamund Urwin, a Catholic journalist on the London Evening Standard, has written a powerful piece challenging the vicious anti-Catholicism around the Holy Father’s visit, seeing it as a resurgence of the old hatred towards Catholics.
“Pope-bashing is the true national sport,” a devout Roman Catholic once told me. “After all, the English have had nearly five centuries to perfect it.” That 21st-century Britain is not so different from England in 1533 became apparent to me at university. During Freshers’ Week, a Protestant gleefully announced that our “smells, bells and superstitions” guaranteed me fast-track entry to hell. A few days later, an atheist declared us Catholics a group of “kiddy-fiddlers celebrating cannibalism”.
‘The problem isn’t the attacks against Catholicism, but their delivery and motivation. Dawkins and his ilk make no attempt to engage or debate: they simply seem to enjoy castigating and poking fun. When they criticise the views of the Church, it smacks of “liberal authoritarianism”: if you don’t share their “enlightened” opinions, expect to be ridiculed, your beliefs swiftly dismissed.’