I hold no brief for the Roman Catholic Church. My general view of it is much the same as the bloke who wrote the script for Godfather III. But I do think Pope Benedict is being very unfairly, if somewhat predictably pilloried for his comments about Islam.
Don't get me wrong. If Benedict was primarily a political figure, a Head of Government or Head of any other State but the Vatican, then I would agree that he was under a duty to be inclusive and non-confrontational in his statements about people who held different religious beliefs. Or no beliefs at all for that matter.
But the role of the Pope is not - or should not be - to be a political leader or Head of State. It is to be the spiritual leader of hundreds of millions of Christians across the world.
And if the leader of the world's biggest Christian denomination cannot speak out against another religious faith which, by its very existence, denies the esssential truths of the Christian gospel, then who on earth can?
I have thought for some time now that we have been headed down a very dangerous road in our society, whereby lampooning Christians and Christianity is virtually de rigeur among the liberal elite but criticising any other faith - and in particular Islam - is almost on a par with racism.
Laws purportedly designed to promote "religious tolerance" are instead promoting a form of religious intolerance, whereby no-one is allowed to say anything about another religion, even if its beliefs are antithetical to one's own.
This will naturally militate against belief systems such as Christianity which make exclusive claims to validity, in favour of a syncretistic, New Age mush that holds that all religions are equally valid - and therefore equally meaningless.
I would not be in the least surprised if, in my lifetime, it became a criminal offence in this country to preach the authentic Christian gospel - that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to God.
At the conclusion of her piece in today's Guardian, Madeleine Bunting bewails the fact that the Catholic Church is in danger of "failing the great challenge of how we forge new ways of accommodating difference in a crowded, mobile world," speculating that Pope Benedict has "another direction altogether in mind."
Too right he has, Madeleine. He is trying to take a stand against the relativism that is poisoning Western Culture and threatening to snuff out our religious freedoms. And about time too.