Wednesday 8 September 2010
Julie Burchill: Do visits from ex-Hitler Youth members make me uneasy? Is the Pope Catholic?
The Pope may be able to set Wayne and Coleen back on track, but I'd rather receive moral lectures from Juicy Jeni
How very broad-minded this country is, when we consider that the British taxpayer will shortly be shelling out millions of pounds to protect a former member of the Hitler Youth who believes Anglicans will burn in Hell when the Pope visits this country next week – just after we commemorate the beginning of the Nazi Blitz on this country! Tolerant or WHAT?
It's a timely visit, though, as the three players in the current morality play titillating the nation are all Catholics. There is something of the medieval mummer mime about the set-up; even their names seem purpose-built to describe their role in the proceedings. Wayne, the archetypal spud-faced, low-reading-age prole boy – albeit one with magic feet which have earned him riches beyond the dreams of avarice. (No, Wayne, that's NOT a foreign hottie.) Coleen, the virgin schoolgirl with the Irish meadow dew of her forefathers still fresh on her cheek, on that fateful day she asked Daft Wayne to mend her girly bicycle. (No, Wayne, that's NOT a new sex position.) Not forgetting Juicy Jeni, the Facebook floozy herself. Some years back there was an American self-help book for betrayed wives called The Jennifer Syndrome, warning them that their men were more than likely to run off with girls bearing that name, and you could pretty much put Jeni Thompson on the cover and leave it at that.
Thompson has amazed many people by listing Catholic as her religion on her Facebook profile and declaring that she is a "family" person. But if one is a Catholic, then surely double-speak and duplicity are second nature. A Church which rails against abortion and then spends decades covering up the most appalling degree of child abuse obviously has no problem with holding two opposing ideas at once – and at least the opposition to termination now makes perfect sense, with hindsight. All those unborn children that could have been molested – what a waste!
Coleen's Catholicism is one of the elements which make commentators sure that she will leave – but of course, sorrowing wives learning to live with the legend that men are beasts and women must put up with it – seeking comfort in religion – is one of the backbones of Catholic Church attendance. And her husband has been acting exactly as Catholic men are expected to – choosing one sort of woman to marry, and another sort to have sex with. The first time he visited hookers she was a virgin; the second she was pregnant. Seems pretty prayer book/textbook to me.
Being a Catholic can often make you a worse person rather than a better one – as is true of many religions. I find it funny that reports of Mel Gibson's private life always mention that his ex-wife Robyn, mother of his seven children, encouraged him to recover from alcoholism by rediscovering his Catholic faith – which he promptly repaid her for by slipping it to a Russian chick, telling the police that the Jews started all the world's wars and informing the media that SHE, his wife, was going to Hell because she was a Protestant!
Gibson's equally devout Catholic dad, 91-year-old Hutton (who interestingly believes the Pope to be "gay"), is of course a Holocaust-denier. The behaviour of the Church during the Second World War, and to the Jews generally, was vile – and REALLY makes me wonder if it wouldn't have been possible to pick a Pope who HADN'T been in the Hitler Youth? Closer to home, let alone legions of child-raping holy men, only last week a leading light in the Catholic Church defended its role in moving a priest believed to be involved in three bombings which killed nine people, including Catholics, in the village of Claudy, Co Londonderry, in 1972. The youngest was an eight-year-old girl: "suffer little children", indeed.
A report which concluded that "Father" James Chesney had been moved across the Irish border into impunity from prosecution by a combination of police, British government and Catholic Church to avoid a Protestant backlash against Catholic clergy was greeted with the incredibly inappropriate reaction from one "Father" Tim Bartlett that "too much" focus on the Church's involvement was "dancing on the head of a pin". Too much time at theological school will do that to you, I guess – I prefer the reaction of Merle Eakin, mother of the youngest victim, Kathryn, who said in 2002 shortly after the investigation reopened: "We are just hopeful that they will bring justice and the people who are still alive will be brought to justice."
Being a Catholic means always having to say you're sorry – but also being guaranteed that you'll be forgiven to go on and do all the vile things you've done ad nauseum. The Pope may well be able to set Wayne and Coleen back on track but personally, with his track record, I'd rather receive moral lectures from Juicy Jeni.
Violence: Let's not forget the real victims here
Four out of 10 victims of domestic violence are men, a study by the Parity campaign group, based on Home Office statistics, has claimed. This has led the usual chorus of Iron Johnnies to complain that domestic violence against men is taken less seriously than that against women.
Could this be – just a thought! – because while two women EVERY WEEK are murdered by partners or ex-partners, the rate of men murdered by women who they are or have been in a relationship with is nearer to two a year than two a week, literally. The number is 15 to 20 a year, according to Julie Bindel, the journalist and feminist campaigner with a vast knowledge of domestic violence.
"Where are the mortuaries full of men dead at the hands of their abusive female partners? Where are the refuges to which men are escaping with their children, so terrified for their lives they leave their jobs, homes and lives behind? The definition of domestic violence as applied by this study includes nagging and threats. Women are ending up in hospital and dead because of violent men, not with hurt feelings," she told me.
Of course it's wrong for women to attack men. But until women are killing two men a week who they are or have been shacked up with, excuse me if I save most of my sympathy for the real victims of this vile, cowardly crime.
Weather: Staycationers should storm the Met Office
Another alleged barbecue summer bites the dust – the slush, rather, as we shoulder our way through the mushy leaves and grizzling drizzle. And forget about an Indian summer; the only thing that means in this country is a last-minute dash to Kerala, desperate for some sun after another soggy staycation.
HOW much do we pay those jokers at the Met Office? Can't we get abandoned animals to do it instead, thereby saving money and lives AND seeing something fun after the news? Everyone's heard of cats and dogs who rush about like things possessed when it's going to rain; stick some cute little outfits on them, let them see which way the wind's blowing, wind 'em up and let 'em go!
Mark Steel: What a triumph! We’ve persuaded Starbucks to relocate its European headquarters to Britain. Mine’s an extra shot of tax avoidance
Oscar Pistorius trial: Is it a court of law or a bear pit? Enter the adversarial advocate
The Daily Cartoon
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