Nick Hilton

The Spectator podcast: The plot against the Pope

The Spectator podcast: The plot against the Pope
Text settings

On this week’s episode, we take the Pope to task over his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, ask whether Canada has got the right answers on drugs policy, and lament the death of spontaneity.

First, Pope Francis has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks after a controversial intervention with the ancient Order of Malta and a decree which has been interpreted by some as a liberalising of the Church’s views on remarriage after divorce. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, a new precedent has been set and Damian Thompson argues, in this week’s magazine, that the knives are out amongst Cardinals who hope to see Francis going the same way. He writes that:

"The word ‘Catholic’ means universal — yet now local tension between the liberal and conservative strands of the faith is intensifying, and is being made worse by the Pope himself. Many priests have absolutely no intention of giving communion to couples in irregular marriages. So the couples are left wondering who is right: their priest or their Pope? The conditions for a schism are there, for those with an eye to see them."

He was joined on the podcast by Dan Hitchens, Deputy Editor of the Catholic Herald, who said:

"I think there's only been one Bishop who's brought out a statement explicitly addressing communion for the remarried, and he says the traditional teaching is still in place and nothing has changed. But, apart from that. there's a sense of tension and also a sense that you won't get all the Bishops coming together and issuing a statement, or, if they do, it will be so anodyne and open to multiple interpretations."

Next, floppy-haired dreamboat Justin Trudeau has often been accused of being more style than substance, but the substance abuse we’re talking about this week is cannabis, which is on the road to legalisation in Canada. Danny Kruger was there recently to find out more, which he reported back on for the magazine, and he joined the show along with Steve Moore, director of Volteface, a drugs policy think tank, and Peter Hitchens, a fierce critic of cannabis legalisation.

Listen here for a taste of their explosive debate:

For more of that, listen to their whole discussion on the podcast!

And finally, do you ever find yourself making plans for the summer, or even next year, and wonder what’s happened to the spontaneity of life? Well, that’s how Jenny Coad found herself feeling and she sat down with us to despair for our diaries and advocate for a bit more slumping on the sofa. She wrote that:

My diary tends to be filled weeks in advance and there is little room for unexpected pleasures without a shamefaced untangling of best-laid plans. Most of us are masters at unpicking things that sounded like a nice idea at the time. The builder is in. The children are poorly. I’m stuck at work.

All of which makes me wonder if we are over-organising our lives for no good reason at all. Being busy for the sake of it. Whatever happened to spontaneity? Even free time has become a thing we cling to, written in bold, desperate caps: KEEP FREE.