As Popes go, young Francis isn't off to a bad start. He seems likeable, and he's inclusive, going so far as to throw the Pearly gates open to Godless heathens such as myself (The answers still no thanks, by the way). I'm aware he's copped a bit of criticism for the suggestion that if you insult his mother he's likely to punch you, but I can forgive him that. And there's a definite bonus point for the simple fact that he's not evil, which couldn't be said for his predecessor Benedict (Is it me or was he the spitting image of the Emperor from Star Wars? - Hey, you never see them together in a room at the same time, right?)
All this said, you can't be a Pope without dropping the occasional howler, but let's focus on the positives for now. And so what if a picture of him with a Brazilian transvestite eventually turns up on the Internet. Some of them are very convincing, and a man cannot live on Nuns alone. You may note that I'm not in my most serious mindset at present, and I'm kind of glad. Those who've followed this blog through the 400 previous posts (Surely indicative of masochism?) will note that for the first couple of years I used it as a cathartic tool to vent my spleen having myself escaped the clutches of formal religion. I was angry, I was blunt, and with the benefit of hindsight I may have trodden with a little more restraint. But hey, it is what it is, and I was a wounded animal. Time healed and I came to realise that religion and I will never play nice together, and my coping strategy became one of active avoidance. In the last year I'd rarely touched upon it, and in conjunction with other positives I'd found a place of peace and acceptance.
And then last week Paris happened, and it really stirred the pot for me. I found all the old hostilities stirring, and I found myself reverting to patterns of behaviour that I thought I'd jettisoned. Joy and I were chatting this through in the car last night, and it occurs to me that for my own wellbeing I just have to steer clear of the entire thing. My past means I'll always be deeply suspicious of religion, and I continue to disdain the lies and the pomposity of people who claim to know things they cannot possibly know. But when all is said and done I want to focus on this world, this life, and making the journey unique and creative and stimulating. From time to time my tongue will get the better of me and my impulse controls will fail, and I may vent my spleen after another religiously inspired atrocity. But it will be a blip, a temporary relapse, a moment I hope will pass, beyond which I can revert to the business of being aloof, obnoxious, and generally disinterested in all but a few people. The ones that have something interesting to say, or with a perspective on the world that I find intriguing. There aren't many. I'm never going to try to impress you, because for one thing I'm not actually that impressive, and for another such an endeavour is invariably subject to the law of diminishing returns. I'll just be me. Sometimes interesting. Frequently a twat. But always, and boy do I mean this; always what you see on the tin.