One newspaper I had avoided reading was The Independent, which, others had warned me, was the most strident in its anti-catholic tone. Today I took courage and was very glad I did so. I was very deeply touched by this article by Joanna Moorhead which pays the warmest tribute to the Catholic Church.
Read it here. You won't agree with everything, but it is moving nonetheless.
Thank you, Ms Moorhead.
And how does Richard Dawkins look now?
Not surprising, on the whole, given reaction elsewhere:
The New York Daily News says how the critics 'really made fools of themselves'.
Richard Ingrams of The Independent thinks that Atheism really needs to replace Dr Dawkins with a new leader that isn't Stephen Fry, either.
The Telegraph was, I suppose, the most likely to turn out to be our friend; there, Jenny McCartney suggests that Dawkins is turning into the new Ian Paisley.
Andrew Brown in the Guardian (a paper which is rarely on our side) has a very good piece about not distorting what the Pope actually had to say, and in particular not twisting his words into a suggestion that atheists are all potential nazis (one scare story that ran a few days ago).
And yet, if you look at the comments on many of these posts, you will see yet again the vile, shrill and hysterical nastiness that has cowed so many of us in recent months. Given the opinion polls taken shortly before the visit, combined with the actual experience of these last few days, I think that we may conclude that these comments are made by a very few sad, mad or (even, but let us hope not) bad individuals who post under several different names and spend a long time hunting out articles favourable to Catholicism just to unleash their venom.
Now, I think, they just look ridiculous, and I shall do my best to ignore them. And pray for them.