I am not a great one for conspiracy theories having lived just long enough to appreciate that much of the time the world runs on cock-up and cover-up. Nevertheless it is difficult not to suspect some decided effort to undermine Pope Benedict - a deliberate attempt to misconstrue him. His lifting of the excommunication of the four SSPX bishops has been characterised as having a "hideous holocaust-denying element" by no less a person than Archbishop Kelly of Liverpool. When Pope Benedict issued the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" there was an outcry about the Good Friday prayer for the Jews which was completely absurd. The Motu Proprio concerned the use of the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal in which the prayer had already been rewritten to exclude terms which might give offence. Not satisfied the critics continued to fuss. Nor were they satisfied when Pope Benedict went a step further and rewrote the prayer. Before that there was the talk given in Germany which exercised the Moslems. One wonders how they got to hear of its contents although the fact that they got upset once they had was hardly surprising given their addiction to indignation.
I recall people, even Catholics, who thought that Pope PaulVI only ever talked about sexual matters. Convincing them otherwise was difficult bordering on futile. Then in the latter years of Pope John Paul I encountered people who criticised him as out of touch and oppressive. In each case the individuals concerned appeared to have swallowed opinions whole from the media. This is bad enough when lay people are so gullible but worrying when a bishop seems to think that way. All of a sudden Plato seems a prophet. We are men in a dark cave forced to watch the flickering shadows on the screen for so long that now we account them reality.
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