The Daily Mail has a quizzical story. Here it is with my emphases and comments.
Here is a good lesson of what happens when journalists really know not what they do.
We have drifted into a desert of godlessness (and a happy Easter to all): Pope gives Good Friday address [In what follows, try to keep track of who actually said what...]
By Simon Caldwell
Last updated at 3:22 PM on 10th April 2009
Good Friday address: Pope Benedict will warn that religious sentiments are increasingly being held up to ridicule in the West
Pope Benedict XVI will tonight attack the rise of aggressive secularism in western societies, warning them that they risked drifting into a ‘desert of godlessness’. [Great idea! But... wait... did he?]
The Bavarian-born Pontiff will use his Good Friday meditations [ummm... Pope Benedict didn't write them.] to compare deliberate attempts to purge religion from public life to the mockery of Jesus Christ by the mob as he was led out to be crucified. [That's not what I heard Pope Benedict say at the Via Crucis.]
He [remember, it is supposed to be Pope Benedict...] will say said that ‘religious sentiments’ were increasingly ranked among the ‘unwelcome leftovers of antiquity’ and held up to scorn and ridicule. [Even in the Church, ad intra, we can make this observation, though the tide is turning.]
‘We are shocked to see to what levels of brutality human beings can sink,’ he [who?] will tell the congregation as he meditates on the stations of the cross at an evening ceremony at the Coliseum, Rome.
‘Jesus is humiliated in new ways even today – when things that are most holy and profound in the faith are being trivialised, the sense of the sacred is allowed to erode,‘ he will say. [It all sounds great so far. But... did Pope Benedict say or write any of this?]
‘Everything in public life risks being desacralised – persons, places, pledges, prayers, practices, words, sacred writings, religious formulae, symbols, ceremonies. Our life together is being increasingly secularised.
‘Religious life grows diffident. Thus we see the most momentous matters placed among trifles, and trivialities glorified.
‘Values and norms that held societies together and drew people to higher ideals are laughed at and thrown overboard. Jesus continues to be ridiculed.’
The Pope, who turns 82 later this month, will pray that Christians would respond to the problem by growing in faith. [I bet the Pontiff did pray along with this... but wait... there's more!]
‘May we never question or mock serious things in life like a cynic,’ he will say.
‘Allow us not to drift into the desert of godlessness. Enable us to perceive you in the gentle breeze, see you in street corners, love you in the unborn child.’ [Pretty good stuff!]
On the station that marks the passage in the Gospel where Jesus met the women of Jerusalemon [A suburb of South Bend... er um.. no wait... um... no, that's a typo. The journalist got the name of the city JERUSALEM wrong. How does that happen?] the way to be crucified, the Pope will also condemn the oppression of women, saying there were ‘many societies in the world where women fail to receive a fair deal’. [O Lord, please let the English translation not say that.]
Pope Benedict XVI dries a priest’s foot during the feet washing ceremony on Holy Thursday at the Basilica of St. John Laterane [Pronounced "Lateraine", which is a church in beautiful downtown Jerusalemon...]
‘Christ must be weeping for them,’ the Pope will claim. [He will?]
He will add: ‘There are societies too that are thoughtless about their future. Christ must be weeping for their children.
‘Wherever there is unconcern for the future, through the overuse of resources, the degradation of the environment, the oppression of women, the neglect of family values, the ignoring of ethical norms, the abandonment of religious traditions, Jesus must be telling people: "Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves".’
The Stations of the Cross are traditionally performed by the Pope [with a whole travelling troop from The Vaticane!] at the amphitheatre where thousands of early Christians died as martyrs during persecutions ordered by the Roman emperors. [Nooooo... historically not so, but let that pass for now.]
During the ceremony, the Pope will stop at each of the 14 stations – which represent the sequence of events between Jesus’s ‘agony’ in the Gardenof Gethsemane [pronounced Gethsa-main, I think.] to his crucifixion and burial – where he will read out a meditation. [So, far this will be the only this he said.]
The Good Friday meditations generally reflect on the evil in the world on the day that the Church commemorates the suffering and death of Christ.
On Easter Sunday, the Pope’s Urbi et Orbi (to the City and to the World) message is of a completely different tone, reflecting his hope and joy in the risen and triumphant saviour. [Okay, the writer posted this at 3:22 PM London time, which means he probably violated the embargo. Let's push at another embargo also!]
[Now watch this!]
The Good Friday meditations for this year were written for Pope Benedict by Thomas Menamparampil, the Archbishop of Guwahati, India. [Sooo... along along it wasn't the Pope... okaaaaay... got it.]
Many reflect on the problems faced by the Church in the Middle East and Asia, where persecution in Iraq, for instance, has forced half of the Christian population to flee the country, and in India where anti-Christian riots in the state of Orissa last autumn led to thousands of families seeking sanctuary in refugee camps. [Something which would definitely sharpen the senses of the one writing the meditations. But I am struck by the blunt way the writer accurately states that Christians were persecuted out of Iraq, and Christians are being abused in India. He didn't waffle on that.]
The comments on secularism refer pointedly, however, to the rise of an intolerant form of secularism in the West, which seeks to purge traditionally Christian societies of their religious character. [Pretty clear.]
In Britain this has led to legal battles between employers and Christians suspended or sacked for expressing their religious convictions or simply wearing religious jewellery such as crucifixes. [More blunt clarity.]
Publicly-funded church schools, adoption agencies and even hospital chaplains have come under attack while the Government has given taxpayers’ money to groups that promote atheism. [Thud. For all the howlers here, at the very end the writer hit a googly for a sixer!]