However I rather enjoyed reading this little section:
In fact, something that has struck me about the Protest The Pope Coalition is the disconnect between the amount of sympathetic media coverage it’s been given and the uniformly derisory turnouts at its events. The last picket of Westminster Cathedral attracted fewer than thirty people – even Peter Tatchell only claimed fifty – and they seemed to be heavily made up of professional protesters like Peter. To understand that, you have to consider the Coalition itself, which is the usual anti-religious lash-up of OutRage!, the National ‘Secular’ Society and the Worker-Communist Party of Iran plus a few waifs and strays. When this constellation are organising anti-Islam rallies, it’s normally the WPI who provide the warm bodies, but the Iranian exiles don’t really give a stuff about the Pope either way, and Maryam Namazie seems to have concluded that her time is better spent broadcasting Hekmatist propaganda to the freedom-loving peoples of the world.Someone pointed out the Protest the Pope petition appeared to have a large number of signatures but actually had less supporters Raoul Moat Facebook page. The great problem we have is that wretched Eccleston Square have allowed the preparations for the visit to have become the story, rather than the visit itself. There really has been a lot of ball fumbling, I want a referees's enquiry afterwards.
If you then factor in the rather elderly and inactive membership of the NSS, and then realise how small OutRage! actually is (hence its reliance on headline-grabbing stunts), you come to the conclusion that there really isn’t a coalition at all. It is no wonder that their public meeting next Thursday, to be addressed by Tatchell, Terry Sanderson and that Italian wackaloon who wants Berlusconi to annex Vatican City, is not being held in the Albert Hall but in a library in Richmond. What the coalition does have is Peter Tatchell, with his tremendous media profile, the enormous respect he’s held in, and his unparallelled ability to sit in a TV studio energetically talking rubbish to anchors who know even less on the subject than he does.
Why haven't we prepared better? We could have had a exhibition or two at Westminster Cathedral, arranged to have Ian Kerr giving a lecturing on Newman, someone else on Benedict's teaching. we could have had a whole series, we could have got few "red hats" over, we could have had a few concerts, including a debut of MacMillan's music. As far as know there hasn't even been a prayer vigil arranged in any of our Cathedrals and I haven't even heard a croak out of Uncle Jack Valero's Catholic Voices; the Voices are silent!
This could have been a great festival of Catholic culture, culminating in the visit, where the Catholic Church in England Wales created a series stories leading up to the visit. It is a terrible indictment of the lack of imagination in the nation's Catholic Church. The trouble is that our very structures, our obsession with committees, destroys broad thinking, as with the Papal visit, so with evangelisation, so with the whole process of communicating the faith.