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The Editorial

The Pope and the General Election?

The recent death of Pope John Paul II received an astonishing amount of media coverage. ‘What a fantastic publicity machine’, one person commented to me. ‘For the amount of air time given to it all you would almost think that Britain had become a Catholic country again’, said someone else.

John Benton

However, what we saw in this coverage of the papal departure is probably a mixture of two things. First, it is true in our spiritually arid society that people are sheep without a shepherd looking for some kind of figurehead. Actually they do not need a pope, but the Lord Jesus. Secondly, it is down to society’s current appetite for celebrity and everything to do with those who are famous. It does not even matter what people are famous for. Nothing could be more out of tune with the way most people in Britain think than the Pope’s opposition to contraception and to abortion. But nevertheless he was famous, he had been on TV a lot with his world tours, he wore a striking costume and he had been around for a long time, so he had become part of the celebrity club. Hence he was given the full treatment.