Have you seen that Prince Charles and Lady Camilla are to visit the Pope of Rome? It is inspiring to see the courageous heir to the British throne take such a forward step in inter-faith relations.
I am not personally a religious person, but I admire people like Prince Charles, who have a strong faith combined with a real concern for the environment. He’s the future head of the Church of England, and like most Anglicans he is strongly into other religions. He understands Islam, Buddhism and practices acupuncture and reiki. He is also very interested in the existence of leprechauns.
These are the sort of inspiring leaders the world needs, and with any luck he will be able to convince the Pope of Rome to move forward with the times a bit more. Along with global climate change they will doubtless have a few private words about the Pope’s disastrous comments on condom use in Africa. Prince Charles, who has long had an interest in the development of Africa for a long time may be able to gently persuade this Pope, who has so far resisted all diplomatic efforts to get him to change his mind. Then, perhaps the Catholic Church will stop condemning millions to death in Africa and who knows, the Church itself will start to grow, rather than dwindling to an ineffectual group of old white people.
Some critics of the visit have commented that the Pope should refuse to meet Lady Camilla. These puritanical backward Catholics say that she is divorced from a Catholic man, and without a Vatican divorce decree (called an annulment) she should never have married Prince Charles. First of all, they should know that the Church of England was founded by a monarch who was divorced and re-married. There should therefore be no problems. This question was settled long ago and it was decided that divorce and re-marriage in England is permitted. The second answer to the purse lipped old grouches is that Lady Camilla will be wearing a special outfit to meet the Pope. She will wear a long black dress and black head covering called a flotilla to show that she is a sinful woman.
Rather than criticizing Prince Charles’ visit to the Pope people should be more compassionate. After the tragic death of his beautiful young wife the man was a single parent. He’s done a terrific job of bringing up his two sons in what must have been very difficult circumstances. Their lives were divided between boarding school, a palace in London and five different country residences. The poor boys probably didn’t know if they were coming or going!
When Prince Charles finally married again, these same negative people criticized him again. It couldn’t have been easy for him and his sons to have a new lady of the house. When Camilla stepped on to the royal stage people painted her as the ugly stepmother in the fairy tale. These heartless people said she was a scheming old battle axe who broke up a marriage, and that must have been hard for Charles and the boys. It is true that Lady Mantilla is no match for Lady Di in the cover girl stakes, but she is doubtless a kindly and well meaning person who likes horses and does an awful lot for charity.
I say we should be open minded and optimistic about this visit. Who knows what might come of it? Perhaps the Catholic Church will move closer to reunification with the Church of England. Part of the reunion deal could be that the Pope would accept the courageous move of the Anglican Church to have women priests. That would be a first step towards equality of women in the Catholic Church.
This visit should remind everyone that God is found within each one of us. No one has a monopoly on the Almighty. God is like a great mountain and all the different religions are just different paths up the same mountain. Prince Charles and Lady Camilla are examples of that and it is good that they are visiting with the Pope of Rome.
Todd Unctuous is forty two