Friday, September 17, 2010

There was a strange hush around my end of town yesterday.
Most of the roads had been closed off for the visit of the Pope, which left the place strangely and rather beautifully peaceful.
At least until the helicopters started buzzing overhead.

I was still feeling very ill with the flu, and so didn't quite have the strength to drag myself out of bed to walk down to the end of my road to see him arrive at or leave Holyrood.

I don't find him an attractive man, or very much of a draw; and I so loathe so many of his opinions I had no desire to see him.

But then this morning, when me and my dear partner were making love - I was obviously feeling better! - I couldn't help but think afterwards how much deep joy and delight there is in giving and receiving profound pleasure, pleasure in company with the one you love.
And that is sacred, as my play says: and the sin is not in "indulging" that pleasure but in denying it.

In that sense the Pope and all those suffering men who surround him are doing themselves the profoundest damage.

And spreading that damage around the world.

What a tragic historical mistake, what a wrong turning European culture took. Starting with Plato, and the absurd separation of soul from body; and those damaged men in the desert, understandably retreating from the world in terrible times, but with so dangerous an ideal of asceticism to spread about the world.

And there's the Pope, the heir and leader of that dreadful tradition: here in Britain and saying things.... that I find myself agreeing with.

When he points at the connection between the current financial crisis and terrifying moral vacuum at the heart of capitalism.

When he talks of the importance of the spiritual dimension in human life.

How tragic that at the same time he should be so appallingly misguided.


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