Just a quick run through some of the stories in today's papers. The coverage is generally balanced, even positive. Maybe it is just that my expectations were low.
The Times today reports on the Pope pausing to pucker up to a Polish baby, and then himself being the baby in the room (he was the youngest person in the room when he had an audience with the Queen and the Duke). They also highlighted how the B16 earned bonus points by catching his zucchetto when a "Protestant wind" blew it off, and then made it look like he did it on purpose as he held it to his chest during God Save the Queen. Other by-lines were "Rock concert with evangelism" for 65,000 and "Scots greet a leader from another world." At least they didn't use the dreaded "Third World" turn of phrase.
The Daily Telegraph reported on the gift given by His Holiness to the Queen. A beautiful copy of the Lorsch Gospels, an illuminated manuscript dating from 778-820 (although The Guardian says she accepted it as you would accept a pair of Christmas socks). Good coverage for the Pope telling it like it is: Child sex priests are sick. And in the letters section there is a good one from Mr Chris Sandilands- "How ironic that when a senior member of the Catholic Church says something correct and relevant to the 21st Century he is denounced." Also, Protestors were out with their placards blaming the Pope for the spread of AIDS in Africa (I think they need a biology lesson).
In today's Daily Mail they focussed on the conflict between the Pope and the secularists. On the Pope's side we see the "Danger of a Godless Society" where he "made it clear he would not be cowed by a militant secularist lobby determined to undermine his visit." Further, he urges that the UK "always maintain its respect for those traditional values that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or tolerate" comparing these secularists to Nazis. From the secularists we have Sally Bercow (wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons) saying that the BBC should rather show her parachuting for lesbian rights than cover the papal visit – she has promised not to land on the Pope. The paper also points out there was no red carpet for the Pontiff at the airport, although this was purely due to the wind.
Finally, in The Guardian we have this amusing anecdote: "Where would you like to sit?" [the Queen] said, pointing to the only 3 available chairs in the room, and they all three sat down, perhaps, as spiritual leaders do, averting their eyes from the painting installed by Charles II in the 1680's above the mantelpiece. It shows two buxom nudes climbing into the bath together. This, the Pope may have reflected, is how the British do things.