This is going to get ugly, don't watch

Ok. This is going to be ugly, don't watch...

Pope Benedict XVI has apparently driven Carla Bruni, First Lady of France, out of the Catholic Church on account of his opposition to the use of condoms in Africa.

"I was born Catholic," said Bruni, "I was baptised, but in my life I feel profoundly secular. I find that the controversy coming from the Pope's message - albeit distorted by the media - is very damaging."

Even from a secular viewpoint, if we did not have the wise words of Carla Bruni to guide us we might have lent credence to the Catholic abstinence campaign in Uganda which reduced the 18 per cent HIV infection rate among adults in 1992 to 5 per cent in 2007. Without Bruni, we might be tempted to listen to uninformed commentators such as the director of the AIDS Prevention Center at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies who said: "The best evidence we have supports the Pope's comments."

So, can the Catholic Church survive such a defection? The loss of Madame la Guillotine, or whatever the ceremonial designation of the First Lady of France may be in the post-Bourbon era of republican buffoonery, will surely be felt hard in Rome. There will be lights burning late in the Vatican Secretariat of State, as the most astute minds in the Papal diplomatic corps try to devise means of mitigating the effects of this blow.

Carla Bruni in a prayerful moment...

Madame Sarkozy, there is an afterlife. Dum excusare credis, accusas, per extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

Dieu le Roy!

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