Now that the Pope’s wall-to-wall tour of the Middle East has been and gone, we might dimly remember the controversies. One after another, individuals got hot under the collar about a range of issues that seem to make little sense.
First came the predictable: the Menorah that supposedly is stashed under Pope Francis’ bed. Bibi was apparently quick off the mark to make an offer for it that the people’s Pope couldn’t refuse.
But this age-old controversy lost the interest of people who became weary about tales of Visigoths who carried away the Temple artifacts. A new controversy needed to be thought up, and so it was. A plot for Il Papa, at the head of a battalion of papal nuncios to go in and clear Kever David – he has been a nightclub bouncer after all. (There’s also the fact this location can only be described as the tomb of King David if one believes that the Bible is wrong. I believe it’s Haredim who are most up in arms about this. Are they having doubts?)
After denials from both the Vatican and the Israeli government, the Kever David calamity was averted. Or more accurately, it was never actually going to happen – but the story was far was over.
He arrived, and he did it. He climbed out of his car, walked to the side of the road, and leaned on a wall. And the world went wild. Some activists started claiming that Pope Francis supported Palestinians, recognised the state of Palestine and that his was a personal attempt to tear down the wall. We’re waiting now for the press release declaring Pope Francis to himself be a Palestinian, so frenzied was the veneration inspired by this act.
Of course, Israelis and Zionists everywhere were in horror – so Bibi decided that the only option was to one-up our neighbours from across the fence. So when Francisco made his way into Israel, we were waiting with a wall of our own.
First up, Benjamin Netanyahu ensured that he would get payback – in a press release accompanying an awkwardly overcrowded picture that read something like “they only have that wall, because we have this wall”. Good job Bibi.
Bibi proved that when his balls are to the wall, he can really turn things around, but the story had only just begun. It wasn’t just our esteemed Prime Minister who was keen to get Pontifex to as many examples of quality masonry as possible – it appears that the Pope himself was just as keen:
It appears that the Pope’s mural interest has been blown out of all proportion. Perhaps what made the Holy Father so keen on the edifices was his widely-publicised and flattering depiction on a wall recently.
Later stops on pontifical tours are sure to see Francis brought into contact with as many walls as possible. Although the Israelis and Palestinians are undoubtedly the most keen to show Francis their own walls, Scottish Catholics are geared up for a trip to Hadrian’s wall (which may also soon be a “separation barrier”), and the pontiff is reportedly very keen on visiting China, for obvious reasons.
Pope Francis is also reported to be extremely fond of the Game of Thrones franchise – although he looks down on war, incestuous relationships and paganism, he is said to find the Night’s Watch extremely relateable: an all-male group, sworn to celibacy with a mission to protect all of mankind and – best of all, they live entirely on a wall.
So the message to everyone who got worried about Vatican flags flying in the Jerusalem streets, or whether the Pope would bring back a suitcase full of Temple silverware is this: Don’t get upset about the Pope stopping on the way to Bethlehem, he was just following his passion for what he loves – wall and peace.