As the papal trip moves from theory to fact, and the mental clock begins to strike: it is about to happen. Up to now, all has been the anticipation and anxiety of speculation. The media have tried every possible way of dramatizing a man biting a dog. This has been less like reporting reality and more like confessing fantasies and, in that sense, the more neurotic voices in a confused culture have been doing a lot of primal scream therapy.
When the Pope and the Queen stand together, it will be an image of the last generation that did not mock the concept of heroic faith, hope, and love. They are the same age and lived through the Second World War which shattered the narcissist’s mirror. The self-absorbed and self-indulged baby-boomers of the media seem deeply to resent that, but their self-reflection now has lots of cracks and this will become evident in Holyrood Palace when we watch a man and a woman who have seen more of life than most people who have ever lived.
Right now we are in that crepuscule time of day when Newman’s “busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over” and the truth starts to kick in. The largely manufactured hysteria of the last months and weeks is now squeezing into a final few hours, and the prospect is certain: if Satan has been this angry, something very good and holy is about to happen.