On that afternoon four years ago I recall asking the Parish Priest as he was leaving the house after having anointed my father if he had heard any news from Rome yet. He had not but it was soon to follow. I switched the television on and the scene of St Peter's with the bells ringing confirmed that an announcement was expected. I have to admit to having, when it came, a sense of- almost- anticlimax. The cardinals appeared to have elected the Dean of the Sacred College as if to say they had looked no further than the man who had led them for the past few days. This wasn't like the election of Pope John Paul which had made one exclaim "Wow! What will the Kremlin make of that!" Then one saw some of the "usual suspects", the professional Catholic Commentators, being interviewed and the looks of poorly disguised dismay on their faces. My heart began to warm to the man. These were the very individuals who had been wanting Pope John Paul dead about ten years before he finally went. Perhaps, I thought, not such a bad choice. I was not very well informed in those days having virtually given up the Catholic press. When, the following morning, I switched on the television and saw and heard Pope Benedict preaching to the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel in Latin I jumped for joy. "We have a Catholic pope!" I exclaimed. From that moment to this I have been a fan.
Sadly, it was not long before the enemies of truth began to attack him. Some are surprised by the hostility of the media. I am not. I think it is too easily forgotten that Pope John Paul was given a long "honeymoon" by the media largely because he was regarded as an ally by the West against the "Evil Empire"of the Soviet Union. As the USSR receded into history a cooler attitude became more evident even towards him. Hardly had Pope Benedict been elected than the knives were out. Thankfully we are living in new times . The Internet undermines the power of the traditional media. There is hope!
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