Saturday, 18 September 2010

The authenticity of faith

We really should have known. If Stephen Fry and Peter Tatchell were the answer, then we're asking the wrong question. Just listen to the shrill braying of current media luvvies being buried by the deep authenticity of ordinary people, who gather impressively in their hundreds of thousands to celebrate their faith before the Bishop of Rome.

How easily a surging tide of belief deafens our political class. Once again the people speak - straddling pavements 10 deep, noisily determined in chant, banner and humoured determination to meet the living embodiment of their much maligned and widely ridiculed faith.

And in their authenticity, they naturally dictate the terms of media coverage. Funny how - now that he is here - the shallow waters of personalised bigotry give way to fundamental moral dilemma's. Have you ever seen a foreign head of state stand in the houses of Parliament, before our last four Prime Ministers and talk of 'the inadequacy of pragmatic, short-term solutions to complex social and ethical problems'? Nor will you again.

There are some amusing anomalies. The inappropriateness of the Duke of Edinburgh greeting the Pope with a military guard of honour complete with rifles presented for inspection. And the totally unmagical Popemobile looking strangely like a portaloo shoved on the back of a cheap saloon car with glass walls.

And the vast majority of us? Why do we find such faith so impressive? Precisely because we have none.