Wow. A liberal Jesuit from Argentina. This is shocking.
Let me state for the record: I do not give a rat’s ass who the next Pope is.
I understand why this is important. There are an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics on a planet of six (seven?) billion people; that’s a pretty hefty market share in this religion business (and I do mean business.) But I am not one of them, and I find the media’s obsession with all things Papal a little ridiculous.
I actually feel kind of sorry for the news media. At this point, there’s no news. There’s nothing to cover, so they’re forced to issue “BREAKING NEWS” alerts about black smoke and fill the gaps with well-worn features like “Papal security: How Catholic leader is kept safe.”
Guys, we just went through this whole rigamarole eight years ago; it’s not like we haven’t already covered every piece of Vatican-related trivia in really recent memory, okay? This is an institution which has stood for hundreds and hundreds of years and is famous for its resistance to change. Really, y’all could just recycle 90% of your stories from April 2005, as far as I’m concerned.
I think the most hilarious coverage has to be found on CBS This Morning. Seriously, give it a rest, guys. Right now their home page looks like Vatican TV; every single story is Pope-related. You’d think the selection of the next Pope was the most critical issues facing Americans since the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
(By the way, have you guys noticed it’s the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War? The one the news media helped drag us into because getting that embed assignment would be so fun and super-cool? No? Sorry I asked.)
CBS has sent a massive team to Rome, including morning hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell. They’re on it! Live, as it’s happening! Except, of course, nothing is happening, so we get lame fluff like Rose’s Vespa tour of Rome with Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, or Scott Pelley’s interview with three priests-in-training. I find it completely puzzling that CBS has devoted so many resources to this story, as if it were the Olympics or a royal wedding. Indeed, royal wedding is the best analogy here: there’s something very Kate and
Andrew William about the news coverage. All of that ritual and ceremony, the Old World hierarchies that America was created in opposition to. Yet our cultural gatekeepers keep foisting this stuff on us, as if we’re all so fascinated by these arcane European traditions which have very little relevance to our lives. How very, very odd.
Also, the news media really doesn’t know how to cover religion. Two years ago the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to allow the ordination of gays. I don’t remember anyone at CBS This Morning mentioning the news. The print media buried the story in their religion sections and that was that. But crackpot fundie pastors with congregations numbering in the tens gain national attention for burning Muslim holy books and “God hates fags” picket lines. Now why is that? Why do conservative Catholic Bishops who deny Democrats communion get splashed across the front page, but the Nuns On The Bus are ignored?
I wonder if CBS News plans to cover these pastors who are making a stand against the immoral Ryan Budget? Doubtful: where the American media is concerned, all religion is Republican. Anything that doesn’t fit their narrow frame is ignored.
So I guess we’re in for a few more days/weeks of “breaking news” about the
royal wedding Vatican succession, followed by “breaking news” about the baby bump new Pope. It’s all very silly and irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.