Bad Journalism: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
One never ceases to be amazed at how incompetent journalists are, and how ready to invent “trends” and “epochal changes” existing only in their desperate need to have an article ready by the deadline.
This time, the German FAZ has the honour of a special mention. From the fact that one Pope has resigned they deduct that Pope Benedict’s gesture has now changed the Papacy forever. They see a time-Papacy now, and they reason that if one Pope resigns, then a loud cry will rise for his successors to do the same whenever they are criticised; as if we were talking here of a Bundespraesident (they tend to resign a lot lately, I am told).
What these people do not understand is that a Pope is a bit different from any other Head of State or Government; that he is expected to resign only in the presence of very valid and grave reasons, so much so that the practice was always extremely rare. They also do not know (because of sheer ignorance of history, and things Catholic) that the resignation of a Pope is contemplated far more often than it is effectively put in place.
Pius XII signed a letter of resignation, to be made public if the Germans had taken him prisoner; the same Pope thought of resigning when it became clear to him his illness was getting in the way of his office, and probably renounced to the idea when it became clear he did not have many years anyway. John Paul II was rumoured to have signed a similar letter, to be taken out of the drawer if his illness had become too incapacitating for him to understand it is the time to resign; and Pope Benedict himself had never made a mystery of the fact that with him the JP II’s situation would have not been allowed to occur.
What happened on the 11 February is therefore, if out of the ordinary in the usual course of things, not really extraordinary. Rather, it is like Chelsea taking two goals in three or four minutes. Very rare indeed, but it’s all in a football game.
The elementary logic of all this is more than a journalist can muster; epochal changes must be evoked, the Papacy must receive a new face, history must now have taken a new and unexpected turn. What shallowness, and what absence of proper historical perspective.
As if there was anything on the hearth that a FAZ journalist has seen, and the Church hasn’t.
Posted on February 14, 2013, in Catholicism and tagged Conservative Catholic, conservative catholicism, FAZ, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Pope Benedict's resignation. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.