HH: We're going to come back and talk about the U.S. Senate in a moment. I want to start with Benedict XVI. Rarely have I seen mainstream media turn and bare their teeth as quickly as they have towards Benedict, Mark Steyn. Why? And what does it tell us about media?
MS: Well, I think they were rooting for Ellen Degeneres or Rupert Everett. And the fact that the new Pope is, in fact, a Catholic, seems to have come as a great surprise to them. And, you know, each to their own. But if, for example, social conservatives were to complain that the new editor of the New York Times wasn't Rush Limbaugh or you or William F. Buckley, that would sound equally ridiculous. The fact is, institutions are allowed to act in what they see is their own interest. And this, in fact, is just rather childish, this reaction to the Pope. They're sort of, they seem genuinely bewildered that the Cardinals of the Catholic Church think differently on these issues, from Andrew Sullivan and the New York Times.
HH: It is remarkable. Here's a tremendous intellect. The man speaks ten languages, authored forty books, is generally regarded as a very gentle, though very serious thinker, and the world's media is aflame with discontent, probably because he's not for turning.
MS: No. And I think interestingly as well, the difference between him and most western politicians, for example, is that he has given some thought as to how he wants what he believes in to survive, in a very difficult century which we face. For example, he's concluded in Europe, there's no point listening to the New York Times and Andrew Sullivan, because secularism is weak. And that even though he is 78, you know, if he lives to 90-95, by the end of his life, it will be clear to all but the most obtuse, Belgian, Dutch, French, German and Italian politicians, that secularism as it's practiced in Europe, has been a disaster. It's left them with this birthrate that's made them almost extinct, and which will be presenting tremendous conflicts. And he thinks the real challenge is to make Christianity resonate with the people who are going to be in the majority in Asia and Africa and other parts of the world, and not to listen to this sort of pathetic, feeble, parochial minority represented in the western media.
HH: I reviewed all of the elite newspaper's editorials today, and every one of them brought up the fact that he had opposed Turkey's admission to the EU as a reason for grave concern. Is it a reason for grave concern, Mark Steyn?
MS: No, I don't think so. I think he understands, for example, that Islam is the fastest growing religion in Canada, America, Britain and Europe because it's not like the Frank Griswold Episcopal Church. It doesn't say hey, man, whatever your bag is, we're cool with that. If you want a gay church, you want a lesbian church, you want an abortionist church, we'll go along with that. It's precisely because Islam is a demanding religion that it has an appeal. And no one needs a religion that merely licenses your appetites. And this is what the guys like Frank Griswold and the Episcopal Church don't seem to realize. You know, the churches that are complaining about this fellow, are the churches that the New York Times want the Catholic Churches to be like. These are the churches in decline, and frankly, I think a lot of these critics have made themselves look actually rather ridiculous in being unable to see it like this. If you want a gay, abortionist church, found one of your own. There's nothing in Catholic theology of the last 2,000 years to suggest that they'd be cool with that.
Good stuff, all of it. Check it out.