Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"How to Understand Pope Benedict" (in under 1000 words)

I have not previously been aware of the religious news site Religious Intelligence, but it seems a good source of info (such as the fact that the Pope has accepted the request of Fr Gerhard Maria Wagner not be elevated to the episcopate in the view of his comments on Hurricane Katrina).

Cathnews promoted this short entry by Paul Richardson on the site, entitled "Pope Benedict and the Archbishop of Canterbury", and I am glad they did. It is only incidentally about Rowan Williams, and actually focuses on Pope Benedict XVI - and I must say, for a very short article, it is a good introduction to "How to Understand Pope Benedict".

Especially:

He gets it exactly right in this paragraph:
Benedict has no sympathy for Holocaust denial, but it is not an excommunicable offence and the olive branch to the traditionalists is aimed a healing a division in the Catholic Church opened up by Vatican II. Whether it succeeds depends on whether the traditionalists accept the teaching of the Council.


And this one:
As a new collection of essays, Blind Spot: Why Journalists Don’t Get Religion makes clear, time and again the media go wrong because they insist on interpreting religious stories in their own secular terms. Typical was the British press coverage of the Pope’s Christmas address to the Curia which included some remarkable reflections on his trip to Australia and a discussion of environmental issues but was reported to British readers as an attack on homosexuality. There was reference to ‘gender theory’ but homosexuality itself was not actually mentioned.
That might be a good collection of essays to check out.

He is also surely right on Benedict and interreligious dialogue:
This is a pope who has said ‘inter-religious dialogue, in the strict sense of the term, is not possible’, though by this he does not seem to rule out all dialogue whatsoever (just that aimed at securing theological agreement) or practical co-operation.
I think that explains Benedict's concern well. He is not against talking about theological issues to help us understand one another and ourselves better, but "dialogue" in the specific sense of a discussion oriented toward achieving agreement is surely not what the Catholic Church has in mind with regard to our conversations with other religions. Nor, it must be admitted, do Jews and Muslims and Buddhists etc have any such desire either.

Richardson makes a comment that should be heard loud and clear by the writers of the afore-blogged petition re Vatican II:
On one issue Catholics should put their minds at rest. Benedict is not seeking to reverse Vatican II. Much debate has focussed on what he meant by speaking of a ‘hermeneutic of reform’ rather than a ‘hermeneutic of rupture’ in interpreting the Council.

What he appears to mean is that while the Council changed the way the church responded to developments in modern culture their was no change in underlying principles. It is worth remembering that at the time of the Council, no less a figure that Henri de Lubac pointed to Fr Ratzinger as the best guide to what was actually going on.
Finally, I must express my full agreement with this comment:
Part of the trouble with Pope Benedict is that he thinks in centuries. His mind is less on the immediate reactions his policies will provoke than where they will leave the church in the distant future.
That is, on the one hand, "the trouble" with Benedict, but on the other hand, thank God it is so. If the Church, like our democratic states, were run by leaders who governed only for fixed terms of office and whose re-election depended upon the popularity of their policies, we would get the same result in the Church that we have in our states: ie. governments who cannot see beyond the next election, and whose policies are not formulated in terms of "centuries" but in terms of the next morning's newspaper headlines.

None of us want that. Long live the Pope (especially THIS Pope)!

22 Comments:

At Wednesday, February 18, 2009 12:25:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Long live B16!

Epapsyro: brand of indigestion tablets

 
At Wednesday, February 18, 2009 1:55:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

... time and again the media go wrong because they insist on interpreting religious stories in their own secular terms

I'll give you a scoop David: The media interpret stories in 'secular terms' because ... wait for it ... the media is secular!

How else would they interpret any stories??

Part of the trouble with Pope Benedict is that he thinks in centuries.

This comes across as lame as it did the first time I heard it.

Repeating it in relation to the recent SPXX issue is just plain embarrassing.

The Pope and/or his media minders stuffed up, why not just admit it and move on instead of trying to come up with these torturous justifications?

sectione: the Italian bit

 
At Wednesday, February 18, 2009 3:46:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

de Lubac indeed.

He was forbidden to publish as a Catholic by the Catholic Church in 1946.

One of the many unCatholic heterodox theologians whose "new theology" is now normative Catholicism per Vatican II.

It is this pack of heretics who are out of communion with the Catholic Church, as is the 40 some year old church they created with the same name.

 
At Wednesday, February 18, 2009 3:58:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I 'm a proddy Tony and i do not think the pope stuffed up,i think it is the media still tying themselves in knots.A colleague of mine use to work for a major NGO and after the tsunami this NGO was made to look poor by certain media outlets. How? By doctoring and editing her interview with them to a/make them look good and b/ sell the story.
seems like you are contrary a bit tony.Not in the media are you??

 
At Wednesday, February 18, 2009 6:42:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

The fact that Pope Benedict "thinks in centuries" is perhaps something we can really be thankful for. In the centuries to come, the question will be "What direction did this Pope steer the Barque (or is that Barge) of Peter?" We look back on Popes of the past, and we remember the really big things they did:

John XXIII: 2nd Vatican Council.
Paul VI: Humanae Vitae.
John Paul I: Smile.
John Paul II: New Evangelisation.

Benedict?

Well, maybe oneday they will say: Brought healing to the Church.

Maybe.

Anyway, that needs a bloke who can think in centuries, not in sound bites.

(don't forget to play the word verification game - I am enjoying it immensely - soon I will publish a list with my favourites).

 
At Wednesday, February 18, 2009 7:04:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

PE,

de Lubac, while not my favourite theologian (I speak as a Thomist and a believer in separate realms of natural and supernatural), was no heretic; Dr Tracey Rowland, my sometime employer, lecturer and still friend, is very keen on him, while Dr Fr Bernard, O.P., another friend, wrote his doctorate against him! His views are part of the Catholic (I might add, the conservative Catholic) acceptable spectrum.

******

As to the wordgame:

"unfor" - that which you do NOT to gain something, as in "He went to church for the sacrament, unfor the sermon".

Also: euphemistic slang for an unfortunate (that is, poor, drug-addled, crippled or deformed) person.

And UNFOR - the United Nations Force Orange-Red, which promotes the installation of traffic lights in benighted parts of the Third World.

 
At Wednesday, February 18, 2009 10:32:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

Again David, I'm sure that PB16 will do things that will have ramifications for many years.

But 'he thinks in centuries' in the context of this issue is lame. It maybe, as you say, that in the long term moves towards unity (with the right at least) will 'ripen' slowly, but it doesn't mean he's not capable of stuffing up in the short term.

The long terms is for highsight and we're not there yet.

bandizzl: a proprietory compound for young people to take before going to see their favourite band to enhance the experience.

 
At Thursday, February 19, 2009 9:39:00 am , Anonymous Tom said...

Tony said

This comes across as lame as it did the first time I heard it.

Repeating it in relation to the recent SPXX issue is just plain embarrassing.

The Pope and/or his media minders stuffed up, why not just admit it and move on instead of trying to come up with these torturous justifications?

Really Tony, REALLY?

In relation to that issue, the Pope did not stuff up, but precisely as David said they interpret these things in the wrong light, or with the wrong direction. It has to do with the way the Church is viewed as an institution, specifically a political institution. A lot of people think that the church is a little like a presidential government, with the Pope at the top, and going down with the various layers of government below (it is not correct). This has a few consequences for the secular media.

a) When the Pope does something it is viewed primarily as Political act.
For them to accept that the church is a spiritual institution and that Benedict is acting for something other than some kind of power struggle seems to the media absurd. So, the SSPX issue is not a question of Benedict having 'stuffed up', it's a question of the media completey mis-interpreting it. My guess is they were looking at it, asking "why should he allow this group back in, when he supposedly has TOTAL authority and they've said such terrible things. either, a) he needs the support, or b) he has some sympathy for what they think," discarding the first as something the Pope would never need, they latch onto the second. Never once thinking that the Pope is in this instance only interested in restoring to unity what was broken.

b) The bizzare notion that the Pope can do whatever he likes.
People don't seem to realise that the Pope is bound by tradition and doesn't wield nearly as much power as people think. My friends who think that unmarried priests or the use of contraception are a foolishness for the modern church suggest that "all the Pope has to do is change his mind and that is it, people will be free to be Catholic as they choose." In truth this is the real foolishness, because to be Catholic 'as you choose' is not to be Catholic at all. Besides which, the Pope can no more change the position of the Church on these things any more than you or I can. Centuries of tradition and previous Popes bind the current Pope (as they do every current Pope). The Pope DOES have authority to teach ex-cathedra, but this is EXTREMELY rare at any rate, and once again he cannot simply stand up and declare ex-cathedra that what has been central to Catholic teaching for 1000, or 2000 years is suddenly out the window. This is the beauty of the Catholic church and part of the richness of her Holy Communion with the Holy Father. For this, as a Catholic I respect what the Holy Father has to say, even when he doesn't speak ex-cathedra. And so to read his encyclicals or his apostolic letters views expressed will for me, be important. Simply because the author is the Pope, and because I know he has authority to teach as the Vicar of Christ, and the Bishop of Rome.

This is why there wasn't a stuff up Tony. Its to do with what i like to call an ontology of power, and is the modern worlds biggest inheritence from Marx. Traditional (teleological) ontology says that our completion is in our being good. This new world order with its foundation on power suggests that our completion is in our having power over someone else. All relationships are to be defined in terms of power; that power which is submitted too, that which is refused, and that which is exercised. So the Pope's actions are viewed as such, an exercise of his political power in a political institution. Not as a spiritual institution, which is why the media can almost never get it right. They fail to understand that the Pope acts in a completely different way to any other leader in the world. If Kevin Rudd said 'As an Australian Citizen you have to pay |xyz| tax now' i have to pay it, as in, if i do not pay it, i will be imprisoned, or whatever punishment is ascribed. If the Church says, 'as a catholic you must do |xyz| now', and i don't, it doesn't change my temporal circumstance. I am always, and forever, truly free. The church wields no authority over me, it has authority over me, but never have i felt it on my back. This is the difference, to be Catholic is to be free, really.

 
At Thursday, February 19, 2009 12:37:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

I never thought I would say this but Tom thank you for your clear and concise explanation of what it means for you to be a Catholic in a post Christian Australia. perhaps i may become one,given that my church is talking about members being accountable to each other,and I thought 'is that not what confession is about?"

statum: as soon as possible

 
At Thursday, February 19, 2009 2:10:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

Really Tony, REALLY?

Yes Tom, YES!

In relation to that issue, the Pope did not stuff up, but precisely as David said they interpret these things in the wrong light, or with the wrong direction. It has to do with the way the Church is viewed as an institution, specifically a political institution. A lot of people think that the church is a little like a presidential government, with the Pope at the top, and going down with the various layers of government below (it is not correct). This has a few consequences for the secular media.

No, it has consequences for the way the church deals witht he media.

a) When the Pope does something it is viewed primarily as Political act.

In relation to this issues (and many others) there is a political dimension.

For them to accept that the church is a spiritual institution and that Benedict is acting for something other than some kind of power struggle seems to the media absurd.

Accepting, if ony for the sake of argument, that that is so, the church has to keep that in mind in the way it deals with the media and beware of how things are percieved.

So, the SSPX issue is not a question of Benedict having 'stuffed up', it's a question of the media completey mis-interpreting it.

Blaming the messenger is no longer good enough with large, experienced organisations.

My guess is they were looking at it, asking "why should he allow this group back in, when he supposedly has TOTAL authority and they've said such terrible things. either, a) he needs the support, or b) he has some sympathy for what they think," discarding the first as something the Pope would never need, they latch onto the second. Never once thinking that the Pope is in this instance only interested in restoring to unity what was broken.

Even the worst examples of distorted media treatments of this issue have made some sort of mention that this is an attempt to restore unity -- 'Never once' is a gross exaggeration IMO.

b) The bizzare notion that the Pope can do whatever he likes.
People don't seem to realise that the Pope is bound by tradition and doesn't wield nearly as much power as people think.


In relation to this issue he had many choices. He could have consulted more, he chose not to. He could have been more sensitive -- given his own history -- of the likely reactions to this move and taken some steps to fix them first. The link between the SPXX and anti-semitism is not news even if +Robinson reflected an extreme view. It's been on the public record, justified or not, for years.

My friends who think that unmarried priests or the use of contraception are a foolishness for the modern church suggest that "all the Pope has to do is change his mind and that is it, people will be free to be Catholic as they choose." In truth this is the real foolishness, because to be Catholic 'as you choose' is not to be Catholic at all. Besides which, the Pope can no more change the position of the Church on these things any more than you or I can.

Nonsense! Pope John 23 set up a commission to look into contraception. Why set up a commission if you're not open to the possibility of change?

There are priests married in the church -- priests from other rites and former Anglicans -- it is a choice and a tradition that can be changed.

Centuries of tradition and previous Popes bind the current Pope (as they do every current Pope). The Pope DOES have authority to teach ex-cathedra, but this is EXTREMELY rare at any rate, and once again he cannot simply stand up and declare ex-cathedra that what has been central to Catholic teaching for 1000, or 2000 years is suddenly out the window.

No he can't. But tradition by it's nature is growing and changing otherwise it's called 'preservation'.


This is the beauty of the Catholic church and part of the richness of her Holy Communion with the Holy Father. For this, as a Catholic I respect what the Holy Father has to say, even when he doesn't speak ex-cathedra. And so to read his encyclicals or his apostolic letters views expressed will for me, be important. Simply because the author is the Pope, and because I know he has authority to teach as the Vicar of Christ, and the Bishop of Rome.

So do I. But he is a man too. He's been pretty much caught in the 'Vatican bubble' too for the best part of his adult life. He's capable of making mistakes.

This is why there wasn't a stuff up Tony. Its to do with what i like to call an ontology of power, and is the modern worlds biggest inheritence from Marx. Traditional (teleological) ontology says that our completion is in our being good. This new world order with its foundation on power suggests that our completion is in our having power over someone else. All relationships are to be defined in terms of power; that power which is submitted too, that which is refused, and that which is exercised. So the Pope's actions are viewed as such, an exercise of his political power in a political institution. Not as a spiritual institution, which is why the media can almost never get it right. They fail to understand that the Pope acts in a completely different way to any other leader in the world. If Kevin Rudd said 'As an Australian Citizen you have to pay |xyz| tax now' i have to pay it, as in, if i do not pay it, i will be imprisoned, or whatever punishment is ascribed. If the Church says, 'as a catholic you must do |xyz| now', and i don't, it doesn't change my temporal circumstance. I am always, and forever, truly free. The church wields no authority over me, it has authority over me, but never have i felt it on my back. This is the difference, to be Catholic is to be free, really.

Assuming all that is true, again for argument's sake, the Pope can still stuff up in terms of the political dimension of his leadership, which exists despite his being the head of a spiritual institution.

evism: characteristic of those (evists) who seek to live forever.

 
At Thursday, February 19, 2009 2:59:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

" The fact that Pope Benedict "thinks in centuries" is perhaps something we can really be thankful for. "

Fact is, it is an opinion.. at best.
It is becoming quite comical reading some of the recent posts which claim (or imply) 'knowledge' of what the Pope is thinking, why, and for what purpose. 'Grabs' are being elicited to promote, even 'prove' a POV. Assumption simply comfirms assumption.. not The Truth.
Why not simply hear what he has to say? ( and apply the usual Test?)


ampes MUTUAL friends

 
At Thursday, February 19, 2009 5:36:00 pm , Anonymous Tom said...

Tony, the gist of this seems to be the church has to take into account that the media will mis-report things.

I mean, in all honesty, how do you go from the Pope extending an olive branch to SSPX, to the Pope supporting or being insensitive to the issue of Holocaust Denial?

SSPX is not a communion based on, or even institutionally sympathetic to Holocaust Denial. The only exception is that, by chance, one of the senior members of this group has expressed such opinions in a secondary sense (that is to say, he was not talking about what SSPX teaches, but about what his personal views are).

That's a pretty freakin big bow to draw, going from an Olive branch to SSPX, to being 'insensitive' about Holocaust Denial. The Pope's own history has no bearing on this issue; unless you want the whole world to be so 'culturally sensitive' that the only time anyone of German descent talks to anyone about or makes reference to the Holocaust he's very careful to issue a press release at the same time unequivocally condemning it.

It's pretty far fetched, and if the media is going to blow things out of proportion like this anyway (by appealing to emotionalism instead of rational and calm debate) then it doesn't matter what the Pope does. He'd still have faced the same mess, since once again the issue is a hostile media, not his actions.

By the sounds of it, even if he had released some kind of clarifying comment about his personal stance on holocaust denial, i'm sure commentators around the world who (lets face it) just don't like the Church, then they would have said he's being inconsistent and should punish or fully ex-communicate SSPX.

So, to be clear; i'm not trying to suggest the Pope can't make mistakes. I'm saying in this instance, he didn't. The Church can deal with the media whatever way it likes but in the end, unless the media is prepared to be honest, concretely and sincere in its attempts to understand any given situation and present a balanced and two-sided (at least!) argument, then it's unimportant how PR savvy the Vatican gets. Hostile media is hostile media. And the media is pretty darn hostile.

 
At Thursday, February 19, 2009 6:56:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

I mean, in all honesty, how do you go from the Pope extending an olive branch to SSPX, to the Pope supporting or being insensitive to the issue of Holocaust Denial?

Pretty easily. Recently the Pope met Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the US. Now even the most casual observer will know that there is a political dimension to that meeting. PB16 was quite clear about making sure that in his communications about that meeting he made it clear that he told Ms Pelosi, in less than subtle terms, about her obligation to preserve life. In other words he was sensitive to the implications of such a meeting and, in doing so, headed off any criticism that such a meeting endorsed her views about 'life' issues.

Was he doing this because he was thinking in 'centuries'? I don't think so! He did it with a firm eye on the hear and now. Could he have done something similar with SPXX? I think so.

SSPX is not a communion based on, or even institutionally sympathetic to Holocaust Denial. The only exception is that, by chance, one of the senior members of this group has expressed such opinions in a secondary sense (that is to say, he was not talking about what SSPX teaches, but about what his personal views are).

Again, the links between anti-Semitism and the SPXX have been around since day one. The SPXX unashamedly rejects the kind of ecumenical progress made in VatII and is also hostile to Islam, other Christian denominations and other religions. +Robinson may now be conveniently rejected by his episcopal collegues, but his 'out there' views about the Jews and many other topics haven't earned him a censure in the past.

That's a pretty freakin big bow to draw, going from an Olive branch to SSPX, to being 'insensitive' about Holocaust Denial. The Pope's own history has no bearing on this issue; unless you want the whole world to be so 'culturally sensitive' that the only time anyone of German descent talks to anyone about or makes reference to the Holocaust he's very careful to issue a press release at the same time unequivocally condemning it.

Speaking of long bows. Anti-Semitism is a hot topic in Europe. The church has made some great reconcilatory gestures towards its own history of anti-semitism since VatII. It's always on the agenda!

It's pretty far fetched, and if the media is going to blow things out of proportion like this anyway (by appealing to emotionalism instead of rational and calm debate) then it doesn't matter what the Pope does. He'd still have faced the same mess, since once again the issue is a hostile media, not his actions.

See I just don't buy the 'hostile media' premise of your argument. I can assure you that I'm not niave about how quickly it can turn from benefactor to attack dog, but I also think that managing communications is not a futile exercise.

By the sounds of it, even if he had released some kind of clarifying comment about his personal stance on holocaust denial, i'm sure commentators around the world who (lets face it) just don't like the Church, then they would have said he's being inconsistent and should punish or fully ex-communicate SSPX.

I don't think you can be 'sure' when you are speculating.

So, to be clear; i'm not trying to suggest the Pope can't make mistakes. I'm saying in this instance, he didn't. The Church can deal with the media whatever way it likes but in the end, unless the media is prepared to be honest, concretely and sincere in its attempts to understand any given situation and present a balanced and two-sided (at least!) argument, then it's unimportant how PR savvy the Vatican gets. Hostile media is hostile media. And the media is pretty darn hostile.

As another commentator said on this blog (Pere I think), if you start with that attitude you immediately disempower yourself from doing anything about it. In a world where media is (yes, for better and worse) so pervasive, that's not good enough IMO.

doper: 'The doper dropped me a Mickey Finn'

 
At Thursday, February 19, 2009 10:34:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

Tony good points alhough I think you are a bit of a devil's advocate . I believe that as Christians we need to be as St Paul says " as wise as servants" when it comes to the media. having a friend who's sister is high profile media celebrity,I know that it is all about just selling the story,not about the cost to persons who are the subjects of stories

PC: Post cibos-after meals ,the prayer we should offer for having eaten

 
At Friday, February 20, 2009 8:35:00 am , Blogger Vicci said...

".. as wise as servants" ??

Paul said that ??

(or were you a huge Upstairs Downstairs fan? )



adantraw: de-punctuated instruction in Outback Survival cookbook

 
At Friday, February 20, 2009 11:02:00 am , Blogger Tony said...

Tony good points although I think you are a bit of a devil's advocate.

If I were to admit to that, I'd be admitting to an honorable profession!

I believe that as Christians we need to be as St Paul says " as wise as servants" when it comes to the media ...

I think that's as good a metaphor for what I'm trying to say as any. At least it's not a 'waver hands in the air because the media's so hostile there's no point' attitude.

Again, the recent visit of Nancy Pellosi is an example of how the Pope and the Vatican are sensitive to appearances. It's just a pity that the radar wasn't working on the SPXX issue.

I'd have to say in general too, that I think the attitude of some towards the Pope is dangerously close to a kind of idolatry.

No doubt he's a clever and very spiritual man, but he's also got an ego and, like the rest of us, some blind spots.

redge: crimson rage that takes you to the precipice of sanity

 
At Friday, February 20, 2009 11:47:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

Given the latter comments about the Pope Tony i take it that you are Catholic?
Which reminds me of two men talking and one said that he had taken vows of "poverty and chastity" ,the other said " You are a priest?" " No I am married".

soapistic: The attitude of one who views Neighbours

 
At Friday, February 20, 2009 12:34:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Reminds me of a joke told by an alumni act at freshman orientation when I went to a Benedictine university:

All these priests want to marry, well we say let 'em, then they'll find out what poverty, chastity and obedience are REALLY all about!

(That was in 1968 btw!)

 
At Friday, February 20, 2009 3:47:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Tony: No doubt [Pope Benedict]'s a clever and very spiritual man, but he's also got an ego and, like the rest of us, some blind spots.

Matthias: Given the latter comments about the Pope Tony i take it that you are Catholic?


Of course he's a Catholic. Only non-Catholics think the Pope is a living saint, and can never be mistaken about anything. Catholics know differently.

[Fracksts: Minor injuries sustained in a fight between siblings over Who Said It First.]

 
At Friday, February 20, 2009 5:25:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Matthias said:

Given the latter comments about the Pope Tony i take it that you are Catholic?

ROTFL! Of course Tony is Catholic! That's why he has that outrageous accent!

I find it ironic that Matthias (and some other visitors to this blog from among our separated brethren) often sounds more Catholic than Tony (and some other Catholics I could name but won't).

 
At Saturday, February 21, 2009 12:44:00 am , Anonymous Tom said...

Alright, it seems to me that the axis of this is whether or not the media is truly hostile.

If the media is truly hostile, then my point about there not being much the Vatican could have done anyway remains valid.

If the media is truly, well, certainly not generous, but lets say even-handed, then what you've said is correct. Better PR would have prevented the problem in the first place.

If it is by inference, or a comment I can't seem to find now, I have this impression that you do not think the media is truly hostile to the Church. There is some equivocation, but more or less you get what you expect, and if you play your cards right, you'll get a good rap?

At least, this seems to be generally what you've expressed. However, I don't think that this holds up as a reasonable standard though; this definition itself would put the media in the hostile camp. I think this because of one particular point. Even though there are political ramifications for the things the Pope does and says (for example the Pope speaking against abortion might cause some sway among Catholic voters in elections to vote along abortion lines) his purpose is not political. His actions have political consequences as a secondary thing. For the Pope, the Vatican and the Church at large, I imagine it matters very little whether John Howard or Kevin Rudd won the 2007 election in Australia. While various pontiffs and bishops may have had various opinions about which party they would have preferred, in the end the political consequence of the election was not what was important. So they are judged for the political implications of what they're doing when the political implications are completely secondary to what they're doing. What was, and IS important is the preservation of the Church and the care for the sons and daughters of God.

So, with the SSPX for the Holy Father I don't imagine he gave much credence to the line of thought that by extending an olive branch to them he was supporting holocaust denial. The SSPX may believe some funny things, they may have all sorts of whack-jobs in their communion. That's a seperate issue; the Pope is looking to the Unity of the Church. This is his role.

Any journalist that wanted to report fairly on any issue would have investigated what was being done AND why it was being done before reporting anything. Certainly before reporting that someone supports holocaust denial or is somehow insensitive to the experience of a whole people, especially the Hebrew people who are the older brothers, in a way, of the Catholic Church.

It would have taken very little research to see that this particular bishop who was expressing these things at the time was NOT expression the opinions of the group as a whole, but his own personal opinion. You said..

"Again, the links between anti-Semitism and the SPXX have been around since day one."

So, because the Pope extended an olive branch (not a full welcoming back into the church mind you, just something to get dialogue going) to a group that is ostensibly not anti-semitic, but has had links to anti-semitism, the Pope should reasonably and fairly be charged with an insensitivity to anti-semitism.

So, my point is - the Media played on a hot topic, stirred up all kinds of trouble for the Holy Father that was unjustified when any serious look at the information was pursued. If you think this is the media not being hostile to the Church, i'd be curious to see what you think a hostile media looks like.

And that's why I don't think they stuffed up.

 
At Saturday, February 21, 2009 12:49:00 am , Anonymous Tom said...

dammit, this is the problem with not having a blogspot account. i can't edit my previous posts. After the third last paragraph (beginning because the pope extended an olive branch) i meant to write something to the effect of 'this is rediculous'.

 

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