THE FIFTH COLUMN
If you have just tuned in, welcome. We’re live at a bout for the ages as the World takes on the Catholic Church once more and, my God, is the Church taking it on the chin this time.
Turn up the volume! The World has just laid into the church with proof of sexual abuse. Sickening blow. Hammer blow.
The Church retreats, recovers, dances, bobs, weaves and here it comes arms in the air with a Hail Mary — too predictable. The World sticks another one into the Church’s ribs.
Pope Francis in the far corner — not much he can do.
The World leans against the ropes now, propels forward, strikes, misses, strikes again and lands it! Same-sex marriage on the side of the head.
The Church steps forward, grabs hold of the World for a time-out. The fighters are locked in an embrace — still now. Pious. The Church lifts its hand, places it on the World’s head in an attempt to bless it — wrong move! The World breaks free, retreats, gathers itself.
There was some merit in that manoeuvre from the Church, it has to be said, but it lacked sincerity.
The World advances, jabs and cuts loose. A one-two combinations. A paedophile priest on the jaw; two abusive nuns in the solar plexus. Raining down now.
The Church blocks, folds in half and stumbles; hangs on to the ropes for dear life but is saved by the bell. End of round one.
Showtime now, folks. Yes, there he is: a stunning middle-aged, slightly overweight white man walking around the ring — shirtless, holding his oversized placard aloft for all to see. “Round two,” it says. Magnificent. More progress. Isn’t that nice to see?
The fighters are back. Circling each other now, each fighter coming in for the obligatory mock charge. The Church steps forward and strikes — a left hook right on the World’s forehead. A mighty hit. Membership numbers hurting the World on that occasion. It slumps to one knee — and stays there. Pandemonium now as Pope Francis punches the air. Priests jump to their feet. Is that chamber music over the PA?
The Church takes a knee also — a surprising twist. The Church appears to be praying, but wrong move again. The World jumps up, leaves the Church kneeling in the centre of the ring with the best of intentions but clearly lacking morals.
Halfway down, the Church makes for a soft target. The World capitalises, steps in with the killer blow — abortion legalised in Ireland, of all places! The Church, rendered punch-drunk now, appears not to know where it is. Sways, looks up to the heavens and slams on to the canvas.
Priests filing out of the building now; nuns in tow. Incredible scenes. Pope Francis, clearly disappointed, bends to pick up a towel, flicks it into the ring, and that does it, I think. The bout is over.