Madeleine McCann: On The Road
“A butterfly gave hope to brave Kate McCann yesterday – as it landed softly on her hair before an emotional audience with the Pope.” This gives the Sun its front page headline: “BUTTERFLY OF HOPE.”
And the Sun says the red admiral butterfly landed on the yellow ribbon tied to Kate’s hair.
A sign. Not a sign that a yellow ribbon high off the ground looks, to a butterfly, not unlike a yellow flower. This is a sign of hope, that in some way this insect, Vanessa atalanta, personifies Madeleine’s spirit.
Says Kate: “It was strange, but lovely, like a symbol of hope.”
With emotions running high, chances are Kate McCann will seek out hope and solace wherever she can get it, whether in an audience with the Pope, in a TV appeal or through a butterfly.
But where is Madeleine McCann? What happened to her? It’s the mystery that the Sun has no word on. Instead readers get news of a butterfly. And hear Kate McCann tell the Pope: “We need to find Madeleine.”
The Pope takes her hands in his. The Pope whispers something. “I know that. Yes,” replies Kate. She hands the Pope a picture of her missing daughter. The Pope blesses the image with the sign of the cross.
The Sun tells us: “The GP had been clutching Maddie’s favourite pink stuffed toy, Cuddle Cat, as the Pontiff offered words of comfort.”
Important indeed to know what Kate McCann does for a living. It saves the Pope asking “So what do you do?” as he walks among the faithful at an open air audience in St Peter’s Square.
But the Pope makes no special mention of Madeleine McCann. He addresses the crowd and, as the Mail reports, says a “special blessing for children everywhere”.
An English-speaking priest steps forward. A crowd of 35,000 people look on. He declares: “In a special way, his blessing goes to your children and your loved ones.”
This is said to one and all. But the Mail knows. As it says: “Those words must have cut deeper into the McCanns than anyone else in the square.”
How does the Mail know this? Might it be that others in the square are suffering? Others are seeking hope through the Pope? Others want a butterfly to land on them?
But this is for the “Leicestershire GP”, says the Mail. “The now familiar green and yellow ribbon in her hair fluttered softly in the breeze.”
We are watching the parents. They are doing all they can. But this is turning into the Madeleine McCann roadshow. We are experiencing the private grief made public spectacle.
We are looking at the McCanns. But how long before we grow weary of the public display? We want a happy ending. But how long until we stop caring..?