On the blogs we tend to quote articles from the broadsheets. In fact, the Guardian has a circulation of just over 300,000 while the Sun has a circulation of 3 million - the largest of our newspapers. It is not a paper that I think should be in any Catholic home since one of its flagship features is "Page 3", a daily picture of a woman showing off her breasts. Nevertheless, anyone interested in popular opinion needs to take note of the line taken by the Sun. Notoriously, the paper can make or break politicians at election time.
It is therefore encouraging to see the coverage of the Papal Visit in the Sun today. The summary article has a characteristic headline "Her Maj has tea as Pope sticks to Pop" noting the Holy Father's preference for Fanta which I mentioned a couple of years ago, winning some really bizarre media coverage.
That's just the hook, though. The article goes on to speak warmly of the visit, dutifully mentioning the various controversies but putting them in context. The summary of the speech at Holyrood House is as follows:
After his meeting with the Queen the Pope went outside and made a speech praising Britain.That's not a bad short account. The article goes on to note that the Pope praised Britain's fight against Hitler and spoke of his being "forced" to join the Hitler youth.
He said: "Your forefathers' respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity, come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good."
But the Pope said a growth of "aggressive secularism" and "atheist extremism" risked destroying our values of honesty, respect and fair-mindedness.
On another hot button issue, the Sun is impeccably even-handed:
Others protested about paedophile priests. The Pope had pre-empted some of the criticism on the flight to Edinburgh, expressing his sadness at the church's failings on the sexual abuse of children.The account of the Bellahouston Mass is warm and upbeat, with some great photos.
Don't get me wrong. I am not suggesting that anyone go out and buy the Sun. However many ordinary people in England take their lead from the coverage there and I think we have been well served by this article and others in the paper. It will serve to dilute the spleen of the Metropolitan elite who have been relentlessly trying to dish dirt.