I have only just discovered Pope Francis’s remarks (thank you Mark Steyn) in the immediate aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre: “Insult my mum and I will punch you.” Although this is fairly old news, it seems to me to be bizarre enough, coming from such a source at such a time, to warrant some further observations.
When I was at boarding school someone did insult my mother, and I did punch him, quite surprising myself. The sound of him sobbing over his broken teeth, and the cheers of the other boys, who had a sense of justice on that occasion at least, was music to my ears.
Of course it was dreadfully un-Christian and I suppose, many years later, that I am in a state of what the Catholics call imperfect contrition over it (sorry I’m not sorry). But then, I’m not the Pope.
However, there is a much more serious dimension to this. Here we are not talking about schoolboys in a bad and neglectful school where immature violence was common, but grown-up murderers who have declared war on Western civilization in the name of a blind, anti-rational, and of course anti-Christian fanaticism.