This post originally appeared in The Catholic Herald.
It comes to something when I when I find myself agreeing with the Guardian‘s Andrew Brown, and yet here we are. His blog post yesterday drew attention to something many Catholics will be feeling this weekend. “If I were a Catholic,” he writes, “I would be feeling rather p—–d off with the BBC.” Well, quite.
Why on earth the BBC has chosen to focus its coverage on the comparatively tiny number of protesters in Madrid is a mystery. I mean, it’s not as if they’re the most sympathetic types. We need only turn to the esteemed Deutsche Welle to recognise the usual suspects:
5,000 people turned out on Madrid’s streets late Wednesday to protest the pope’s arrival for the six-day youth festival. The demonstrators included members of secularist, feminist, gay and lesbian, alternative Christian and leftist groups.
Over a hundred of these fringe protest groups coalesced, as they so often do, into a confused mêlée of conflicting special interests. They were united, however, in the sheer nastiness with which they expressed their views. To give but one example: As pilgrims sang “Hallelujah”, “Long Live the Pope!” and Benedicto!”, demonstrators responded with shrieks of “Nazis!” and “Paedophiles, watch out children!”
And, inevitably, there were violent thugs in their number who got physical, prompting eleven arrests.
So much for the inclusive tolerance trumpeted by the Left. Here in Madrid was its real face: a sneering, violent mob of self-righteous bullies who thought it appropriate to hurl abuse at children for the crime of having pride in their faith and being excited about by a visit from the Holy Father.
Even the putative grounds for this protest were bogus. Protesters squealed about the outrage of part-funding the Pope’s visit at a time of economic crisis (prompting me to wonder: how many of these goons were luxuriating under the largesse of the state themselves? I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that the museum official bleating to AFP about being “intimidated” by police came from a public museum). Yet the organisers had already said that World Youth Day is likely to cover its own costs.
Examples of the BBC’s skewed attitude abound. This tweet is by no means the only one I’ve seen exasperated by the Today programme, which made little space for the fact that the 5,000 protesters were dwarfed by the incredible 1.5 million people who are expected to attend the various World Youth Day events.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to us by now that the state broadcaster uses any available opportunity to criticise and ridicule the Church, siding with obnoxious minority protest groups at the expense of the majority. But it’s always depressing when it does.