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April 15, 2007

Comments

chris

"If you think about it, all of these writers are evaluating Benedict on the basis of some conventional wisdom of who he should be and what he should be about, a conventional wisdom that seems to come from two places: 1) 'progressive' commenters, clerics and officials, almost all of whom are anonymous and 2) thin air."

The difference between 1) and 2) is small....and getting smaller.

SWP

He's so very beautiful. I think in so many ways our greatest witness is to fellow Catholics who have not opened their hearts to this Beautiful man. Thank you, Amy, for this post. Viva il papa!

Cathleen

I couldn't agree more, Amy. If the MSM would just READ what Benedict writes! Anything at all--a homily or two! Is that too much to ask?? I defy ANYONE to read that homily above and apply the word "abstruse".

Scott

Call me crazy, but if one would like to judge the popularity of the Pope, perhaps one should consult opinion polls about him. Take for instance the recent Zogby International poll,
www.catholic.org, which found that 86% of American Catholics believed that the Pope was doing a good job of leading the Church. Of course, that might not fit into certain parties' agendas too well.

Neil Leslie

I think Mark Shea has a good rule of thumb here. Deduct 25 IQ points when the MSM discusses religion and 50 when they discuss Catholicism. Should we be surprised when nobody from the MSM "gets" Benedict? I think not. They're all too busy worrying about Anna Nicole Smith and Don Imus.

Kitchen Madonna

I love our German Shepherd! He's great and he's perfect, just perfect to follow John Paul the Great!

elmo

Abstruse? This pope's writings are the essence of lucidity. To me, he is one of the great ones like St. John of Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and the early fathers of the church. I hope that some day this pope's homilies will be collected and published. I read them once and that's it. If they were bound and in print, I could return to them time and again.

SteveM

The MSM are part of the demographic mix of elites that is now 2 generations detached from religious connectivity. The idea of a spiritual or interior life is alien to them. It’s not that Benedict’s theological/philosophical reasoning is different than their own. They generally never reason about a theological or philosophical framework at all. Given that, they can only write about Benedict from a pedestrian context because that’s the only context in which they live. When the MSM reports on Benedict, think the depth of the Seinfeld characters without the laughs.

Antonio

Wow!!
What a great writer you are!!!
Thank you very much for this.

Dan

I agree with SteveM. The reigning culture is incredibly shallow and superficial. It for example has made a religion out of the civil rights movement without understanding what rights are and where they come from. Having denied the unseen, it can make judgments based solely on appearances. We thus get superficial judgments such as "condoms prevent disease, so they are obviously good," etc. Products of this sort of culture genuinely cannot understand the deeper and broader vision of someone like Pope Benedict.

Pope Benedict is a rare gift to be treasured while we have him. He combines incredible erudition with great holiness. I love him every bit as much as I loved JPII, and in some ways even more.

marymargaret

Outstanding post, Amy. You have summarized these articles clearly, and pointed out where they fail in a charitable, yet firm manner. Would that we all could respond in such a way. Unfortunately, I would definitely fall short of your standard--my personal response to this sort of article would be far more ascerbic (nice way to say it would be unprintable), which does less than no good to anyone.

I was one of those fools who listened to the MSM during the conclave, and was not pleased with the election of PBXVI. Never, never again will I believe what those people write of the Catholic faith or of this incredible Holy Father. Unlike them (apparently) I went forth and read some of his books. I was blown away by his erudition, charity, theological insights---well, I could go on and on. May God bless Pope Benedict XVI, and grant him wisdom, good health, and long life as he continues to lead the Church (otherwise known as herding the cats!).

Anthony English

John R. Allen's comment about British Vatican correspondents is 100% right. They're a joke, only Allen doesn't go far enough.

I love the Newsweek comment that some U.S. Catholics find Benedict aloof while Europeans resent his intrusions into their affairs. If only Benedict would intrude into the US and be aloof as regards Europe we would all be happy.

Eufemia Budicin

I work in an Italian press office, and I can assure you that even in Italy, with all the pope's speeches in Italian, there is a lot of misreport (from half of journalists at least). Some of them are just ignorant or they just try to comply with their political party. Some, like Melloni or Eco, are even too brilliant but think that a weak papacy and church would strenghten their intellectual power as it has been since Vatican II. The Church in Italy retains real power,thus it also raises lot of hate and envy, even within catholic milieux. Thank you for everything you do.

Tom Piatak

Benedict XVI, like his predecessor, is a transparently holy man. He also has a clear, lucid writing style. The media hate and fear Benedict because they don't want people to read what he has written.

Michelle

Negative comments about the Pope? Those againt the Church will ALWAYS find something to say. Funny thing is ... I really don't think our Pope really is affected by these comments. They can say all they want, we will keep loving him and thanking God for this great man. I was thinking the other day about JPII, being the anniversary of this death, and could not help but believe that his death, with the whole world watching, was just the opening act for the great preformance of Benedict. Kind of like JPII he was setting the stage. That brought a smile to my face. I will never forget the day he died.

Mary Jane

Thank you, Amy, for reading all those articles. I know as a trained journalist you have a strong constitution, but it would drive me nuts. When I was in Rome recently, I thought about how horrible it must be to be the Pope. Everywhere in the world, at any given moment, someone is saying, "If only the Holy Father would ..." And the Holy Father himself has no other shoulders to throw the burden on. Now I understand we're told to pray for his intentions.

Patricia Gonzalez

Amen to those who comment on the clarity of BXVI's writings -- they are marvellously clear, without "dumbing down" the content. I have grown to love this holy man for his beautiful qualities of mildness, faith, and wonderful teaching approach -- not to mention his love of the piano, and his love of cats! Viva il papa, indeed!

MarkAA

I work in mainstream media, and all but about a dozen journalists I personally know went into journalism as a career for one of two reasons:

1) They couldn't do math
or
2) They wanted to "change the world/help people". This loosely translates to either "helping people fight AGAINST institutions" or desiring to be on the "progressive" side of things.

Excluding the math folks (who are legion!), that leaves not too many MSM journalists who are going to come at writing about the Papacy with a positive or even neutral mindset: The pope is representative of the oldest institution in the Western world and he's on the opposite viewpoint on way too many of the issues "progressives" hold sacred (birth control, free love, abortion, and freedom to read your New York Times all morning instead of going to church).

There's simply *no* way this man, or office, is going to get a fair hearing, let alone a fair reporting, even from a so-called "fair" reporter.

A couple of editors in the newsroom I work in, both former Catholics, routinely refer to the pope in casual conversation, openly, as "that Nazi Pope." I promise you I am not kidding, in 2007, in supposedly politically correct corporate America, this is happening. So my hopes aren't high for a big turnaround. (Then again, the Church utterly thrived when the faithful were underground and persecuted.)

Apologies in advance to any reporters I might have offended in this post; this is just how I see it after 20 years in the biz.

MarkAA

MarkAA

I work in mainstream media, and all but about a dozen journalists I personally know went into journalism as a career for one of two reasons:

1) They couldn't do math
or
2) They wanted to "change the world/help people". This loosely translates to either "helping people fight AGAINST institutions" or desiring to be on the "progressive" side of things.

Excluding the math folks (who are legion!), that leaves not too many MSM journalists who are going to come at writing about the Papacy with a positive or even neutral mindset: The pope is representative of the oldest institution in the Western world and he's on the opposite viewpoint on way too many of the issues "progressives" hold sacred (birth control, free love, abortion, and freedom to read your New York Times all morning instead of going to church).

There's simply *no* way this man, or office, is going to get a fair hearing, let alone a fair reporting, even from a so-called "fair" reporter.

A couple of editors in the newsroom I work in, both former Catholics, routinely refer to the pope in casual conversation, openly, as "that Nazi Pope." I promise you I am not kidding, in 2007, in supposedly politically correct corporate America, this is happening. So my hopes aren't high for a big turnaround. (Then again, the Church utterly thrived when the faithful were underground and persecuted.)

Apologies in advance to any reporters I might have offended in this post; this is just how I see it after 20 years in the biz.

MarkAA

Linda Cacpal

In his last catechesis at the Wednesday Audience, the Holy Father focused on a "legimate" competition amongst Christians - zeal for Christ. I think we ought to include "zeal for His Vicar on earth."

I myself have almost given up hoping to find a fair and insightful article on the Holy Father in which the writer at the very least seems to have read or understood something that Benedict was or wrote. Some have come 'round a bit - Jeff Israely now and then seems to understand (but his latest on Papa is a step backward).

Therefore, I take it upon myself to be a fool for Christ's Vicar and do all I can to display interest in Papa, read all that I can of his homilies, books and articles about him; I share what I've read with the parish groups I'm involved in (RCIA, parent classes and Worship Committee); I share his thoughts with my pastors - emailing them his homilies and sharing books I've read; my RCIA hears about him weekly in a newsletter I write for them and I take the trouble to share websites where they can find solid information.

Someone wrote that Papa doesn't seem to be bothered by all the misreporting. How true - I think I have better things to do than to grouse about it - better to keep my eyes looking forward, encouraging where I can, praying for him and keeping others informed.

He is such a beautiful soul - gracious and humble, funny and courageous - a Pastor.

Auguri, Santo Padre!

Tim

It's common for reporters writing stories that are negative to shrug off complaints with, "don't blame the messenger; I'm just reporting the news." Those commentators who don't like what they hear from Benedict are, paradoxically, blaming the messenger!

Randy

I doubt we should assume all the MSM are just stupid. I doubt that is true. The problem I see is that the pope keeps talking about God. The MSM have no idea ho to handle this. They can't write a story with a lead like "Jesus is risen" or "God pours out His grace through the Eucharist". That would be accurate reporting but it won't make your editor happy. So you look for an angle that does not include God. That is, of course, quite silly. You may as well cover the Yankees and avoid the topic of baseball. Still that is what they do. I understand why. It makes sense in a warped sort of way.

Rose

Thank you, Amy, for articulating what I could not. Impossible to say why I love Pope Benedict: he lives (nay, is immersed, it seems to me)in the light of Christ and that communicates and shares itself with those who listen to him and watch him. Navarro Valles said it quite well too: this is the mystery that every Pope is: "I, but no longer I myself". I remember watching the Pope deliver that homily (the one Navarro Valles quotes) and seeing even Arbp. Marini sharply incline his head in attention. The Pope lives in the light of Christ and we the faithful see it and are attracted to it.

SegoLily

I was transfixxed with Benedict when I first heard him, as Cardinal Ratzinger, preside over the funeral of JPII. His holiness and purity of heart struck me immediately. Since Benedict, I'm able to dwell on so many mysteries of the faith and have developed a much closer relationship with Jesus, my King. In fact, through Benedict, I've come to know and love JPII more than when he walked the earth. My relationship with the saints and Mary and my love of Holy Mother Church have grown since Benedict as well.

Writer

As it happens, I contributed to one of the pieces Amy mentions - I won't say which, except to say the most shoddy one. Almost all of the points Amy raises in the Holy Father's defence were put to the reporter and next to none were taken on board. As so often happens in the MSM, an angle is chosen and only comments are used to fit that angle (usually something sensational or the reporter's own prejudices). It's a scandal, but I'm glad the comments here show that most people see through it. My fear, though, is that the average Joe won't, but I did my best and after the article was published, made clear my disapproval to the editor. I suggest you write to the editors of these publications too - if they want their journals to be taken seriously, they should certainly listen.

dymphna

The idea of the pope traveling to New Orleans to wail over that pathetic city(Folks it was a hurricaine. We have them every Summer, get used to it.) is so ridiculous that I can't take anything the silly article says remotely seriously. I'd say ignore this stuff.

Tom K.

There's some irony in the fact that the most prominent American reporter covering the Vatican (John Allen) actually did try to report the story as it was rather than as he wanted it to be, yet he was writing for an audience (NCR readers) who weren't interested in the story as it was.

Judging by my conversations with my "some of my best friends read NCR" friend, they still aren't.

Cornelius AMDG

The only article that has come close to capturing what the Pope is really trying to say has been (strangely enough) the article a week ago Sunday in the New York Times magazine. I don't know if Amy's already written about it, but the aricle is well worth reading and still available (at least for a little bit longer) here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/08/magazine/08pope.t.html?ex=1333684800&en=da4b064685c7411d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Ed

I read the Ann Rogers article. I found Father Reese's comments (unintentionally ?) humorous in places.

Father Reese, S.J., called Benedict "better than expected."

Hey, Father Reese, that's what Jesus helps each one of us to become.

Glad to see Father Reese is encouraging the bishops to adopt the "have-lunch-with-your-local-Catholic-dissident" approach.

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