The sacred versus the profane

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?

READ MORE: Irish citizens prepare to vote on abortion laws

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.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

SA activist seeks asylum in Ireland

Former Khayelitsha resident Bulelani Mfaco is leading a campaign for the protection of refugee rights in that country

What Gaia theory can tell us about the outbreak of novel coronavirus

Automatic-control mechanisms are part of the intelligent self-regulation that occurs in nature. Thus, the outbreak of Covid-19 could very well be Gaia’s automatic reaction to restore homeostatic equilibrium

Safeguarding women’s rights during the Covid-19 shutdown

Women will be disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, particularly considering their contribution as caregivers, in both professional and domestic settings

South Africa must have a stake in artificial intelligence technology

The country needs an institute that will be a conduit for AI knowledge to industry, society and government

Floods in Ireland: A postcard from the edge of the climate crisis

It seems that politicians aren’t paying attention to the floods, fires and droughts spinning our world out of control

The Pope’s message of unity and reconciliation

The Pope’s primary message to each country responded to their unique circumstances
Advertising

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

Khaya Sithole: Tsakani Maluleke’s example – and challenge

Shattering the glass ceiling is not enough, the new auditor general must make ‘live’ audits the norm here in SA

State’s wage freeze sparks apoplexy

Public sector unions have cried foul over the government’s plan to freeze wages for three years and have vowed to fight back.

‘Veteran’s stripes’ vs ‘kind and fair’

This weekend the Democratic Alliance will choose between two starkly different visions for its future

The high road is in harm reduction

While the restriction of movement curtailed the health services for people who use drugs in some parts of the world, it propelled other countries into finding innovative ways to continue services, a new report reveals
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday