Well, would you believe it? Ratzinger’s decided that his presence at La Sapienza would be ‘inopportune’. It’s hardly the first time his
cowardice desire to avoid conflict has overruled his spiritual, and political, responsibilities. Less than a month ago, he chose not to receive the Dalai Lama for reasons that had very little to do with religious divergence and everything to do with Realpolitik. Who can blame him? It’s what you’d expect from the leader of a tinpot state the size of a football field. Still, since when has ‘inopportune’ been part of the papal lexicon? If Jesus had been more ‘opportune’, just think, he might have avoided the cross and ended up dressed in gem-encrusted frocks and leopard-skin pillbox hats – or something very similar – like his most recent representative. He might have been able to issue diktats on just about everything from stem cell research to civic administration. He might have, but he wasn’t. Never mind. The new man doesn’t do self-sacrifice, or risk, or exposure to conflict, or open discussion. He’s an expert, after all. He’s the pope of fucking everything.
Oh yes. Italian state television devoted over half (16 minutes!) of its news programme (TG1) to this story. As if that weren’t enough, it twisted the facts to suggest that the pope had in some way been prevented from appearing at the event. He chose not to come. Repeat. He chose not to come. How many times does this need saying? He chose not to come.