Leading Article: A cross to bear

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The Independent Culture
IT'S NOT easy being Pope. All those difficult doctrines to defend, failing health, tricky cardinals, turbulent bishops and windy outdoor Masses.

And then, yesterday, Bono. And Bob Geldof. To be sure, their audience was all in a good cause - world debt - but it nevertheless sharply demonstrates a cross that this Pope has had to bear like none before him. In the Age of Celebrity, the Pope has to meet Them. We can present you with only a selected list here, but, still, just let your imagination range over the meetings of minds that have taken place between the Supreme Pontiff and Diana, Princess of Wales, Shola Ama, Jack Charlton, The Corrs, Dr Josef Venglos and Coronation Street's Vera Duckworth (though, sadly, not all of them at once).

Who, too, can forget his Bologna double act with Bob Dylan? Quite. But, on the whole, we have to say that the Holy Father's take on celebs seems pretty shrewd. He left the stage five minutes after Bob D started; he has refused to see Madonna; he is supposed to have turned down $1m to hear Frank Sinatra's confession; and he has reportedly declined an interview request from Clive Anderson. Good call, Your Holiness; we advise holding out for Des O'Connor.

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