I've been away this week and largely out of touch with the news. When I went away there were attempts to smear Pope Benedict over abuse cases in Germany. I return to hear attempts to blacken him over a priest in America. I read Archbishop Nichols's piece in The Times which is a decent and vigorous defence of the holy father but was subsequently shocked at hearing Bishop Conry of Arundel and Brighton describe the Vatican as "paranoid" in an interview on the 6pm news on Radio 4.
It appears that criticisms about this bishop are not unfounded. On a previous occasion I interpreted a statement of his as an example of foot in mouth syndrome- we can all make mistakes and utter the wrong words when under pressure. Now, however, it really does appear that he is either bad or barmy. I am appalled that a bishop should show such open disloyalty to the holy father and I feel sorry for the Catholics of Arundel and Brighton. In the context of the abuse of young people the text about it being better that he scandalising "little ones" be cast into the depths with a millstone about his neck is frequently aired. It seems as if this bishop is no less a cause of scandal. With such friends what need the Pope or the Church of enemies?
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