Pope's speech dubbed 'wily and cunning' but 'playing it safe'

Pope Benedict XVI's controversial visit to the UK began yesterday with a speech that has been dubbed 'wily and cunning' in its use of rhetoric.

'Wily and cunning': Pope's speech
'Wily and cunning': Pope's speech
The Pope’s address in the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh yesterday saw him praise the role of religion in the UK, while condemning ‘atheist extremism’.

‘As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society,’ said the Pope.

Former Government speechwriter Simon Lancaster said that the speech followed in a long tradition: ‘Many of his predecessors were also wily and cunning practitioners of rhetoric.'

‘Ironically, the Pope is beating the press with a rhetorical weapon they are more used to wielding themselves. He uses his semi-alliterative pair to lock together "atheism" and "extremism", so they become inseparable in the public mind, as the tabloids achieved with other alliterative pairs such as Brussels Bureaucrats, Dangerous Dogs and even Mad Muslims,’ said Lancaster, founder of Bespoke Speeches.

Lancaster, who has recently authored Speechwriting – The Expert Guide, added that it was no accident that he used the word extremism ‘with its clear connotations with islamic extremism, and all the brutishness and savagery that implies’.

The Pope’s visit is being accompanied by a number of protests, including those who oppose the cost to the UK taxpayer of the visit, victims of child abuse from priests and human rights campaigners.

While the Pope did not make any reference to the child abuse scandal in his address, he did comment on paedophilia to the media separately, where he described it as an ‘illness’ whose sufferers had lost their free will.

‘It is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly mission was possible,’ he said, adding that the Church was 'at a moment of penitence, humility and renewed sincerity’.

Portland PR partner George Pascoe-Watson said: 'This was a speech intended to achieve nothing other than playing safe. He failed to mention the child abuse scandal which has scarred so many peoples' lives. Yet he chose to take a swipe at atheists, who he bracketed with the Nazis.

'It is odd he was prepared to be controversial in one way but steered clear of dealing with such an outrage as paedophilia.'


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

WPP sees PR revenue recovery thwarted by strong pound

WPP sees PR revenue recovery thwarted by strong pound

Burson-Marsteller parent company WPP has reported a 4.1 per cent drop in PR and public affairs revenue despite organic growth continuing across the regions in the final quarter of 2013.

Max Clifford trial jury finishes sixth day of deliberations

Max Clifford trial jury finishes sixth day of deliberations

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford on 11 charges of indecent assault has been sent home and will reconvene tomorrow morning for a seventh day of deliberations.

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Fishburn's management have defended their reinvention of the 23-year-old agency amid industry mutterings, fed by a series of director-level departures, about the direction in which it is going.

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

EasyJet aimed to break the world record for the highest ever theatrical performance for Shakespeare's 450th birthday yesterday with the Reduced Shakespeare Company performing on a flight from Gatwick to Verona.