In the days of my youth, before I turned my mind to higher things, I read most of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. In one of its five volumes (I know) there is a minor character called Bowerick Wowbagger, also referred to as Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged.   As a result of an accident with a  particle accelerator and a pair of rubber bands, he had become immortal and in consequence found that time began to hang too heavy on his hands. To drive off ennui, he conceives a hobby to occupy himself:

He would insult the Universe. That is, he would insult everybody in it. Individually, personally, one by one, and (this was the thing he really decided to grit his teeth over) in alphabetical order

I had long forgotten Wowbagger and his dream, but they came back to my mind not long after the start of the present pontificate. It is true that the part about alphabetical order is missing but apart from that the similarity is striking.  Pope Francis made impressive progress this week in the project of insulting everyone in the universe when he attacked both Americans (“it is an honour to be criticised by them”) and Cardinal Mueller (“he is like a child”).  Pedants might complain that it is cheating to insult a continent at a time, but I think it shows a breadth of vision which can only be admired.