Saturday, August 7, 2010


I haven’t blogged for over a week. The more discerning amongst you will know a blessing when you see it. It’s not that I haven’t been working – far from it. However paid work is a different animal from writing this column in the summer heat.

So today I bring you two together. The first relates to Michelle Obama – and just in case there are two I refer to the wife of the US President. She passed me today on the road from San Pedro de Alcántara to Ronda. If I’d reached out my hand I would have touched her or I would have done if she hadn’t sped past in a bullet proof car. Her security man had his head so far out his car’s window he nearly bashed it against mine.

They were gone in a second. They travelled at speed along a road that passes through beautiful mountains – but did she see any of it? I doubt it! Eventually she would have arrived in the historic town of Ronda – a true treat – but I happen to believe the journey is all part of the experience.

I then felt sorry for her locked in a bomb proof vehicle, driving at speed, sirens wailing, mindless security men bobbing here and there, always the fear of an attack – where’s the fun in that? If I was her I would have stayed in her luxury hotel and chilled out.

I was also going to write today about the news that the Catholic Church in England is going to charge the faithful and others who wish to see the Pope at the various ceremonies he’s holding an entry fee. Then I got side tracked by Roald Dahl.

There’s an article in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph Arts section about how he lost his faith. It followed the death of his daughter Olivia and a meeting with his ex-headmaster, Geoffrey Fisher who was then the retired Archbishop of Canterbury. Apparently they met to discuss his grief and Fisher expressed the belief that whilst Olivia was in Paradise her beloved dog Rowley would never join her there.

In a later conversation Dahl told his other children: “I wanted to ask him (Fisher) how he could be so absolutely sure that other creatures did not get the same special treatment as us, but the look of disapproval that had settled around his mouth stopped me. I sat there wondering if this great and famous churchman really knew what he was talking about and whether he knew anything at all about God or heaven, and if he didn’t, then who in the world did?”

Well of course the answer is nobody does. The Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, you and me may have faith – but we don’t know for sure and won’t till we die. We don’t know whether there is a God, whether it is our God and whether he, she or it is an animal lover. That is why I argue that atheists are people of faith too because they may be convinced there is no God but like Geoffrey Fisher they have to have faith in that belief because they too will not know for sure till they kick the bucket.


PROSPERO said...

The answer to your, mine and many people's religious quandaries may well be contained in a wonderful book by Juan Eslava Galán 'El Catolicismo Explicado a las Ovejas' (Catholicism explained to the sheep). I can't findit in English, though...
As for Ms Obama, no quandary there. Did you know her popularity rating in the US is higher than her husband's? Maybe she could be persuaded to stay a little longer: her short visit has created a mini-industry that has been a boon to local tourism industries - a part of which, dear Sancho, I am sad to see you join.

Mary said...

Who does the Pope think he is - Madonna?

Sancho said...

On Obama's visit to Ronda the press highlighted how the town was getting a spring (summer) clean. Amongst these works was the cleaning of fountains in obscure quarters of the town. This is something I have never understood. Why should a loo be painted because the HM Queen, an Obama or other VIP might pop in? Surely what is deemed good enough for us should be good enough for them too!