Assisi III Flops
I do not know whether you have the same impression, but I have the distinctive feeling that the Assisi III meeting was a big, big flop.
I had written already about the fact that the secular media has given some notable space to the event, even noticing the dissent within conservative Catholicism. What i would not have expected is how rather massively ignored this event was, basically finding a substantial echo only in those place where this was unavoidable: the Catholic world.
One might legitimately say that in a world constantly looking for headlines, the Euro crisis stole the show and therefore the Assisi gathering went largely ignored. One might also say that a good God helped this to happen so as to avoid, as much as possible, embarrassment and controversy. I for myself would like to make some further points:
1) I always disagreed, and still disagree, with the extraordinary idea that a Pope has to do something just because he is put under pressure to do it. This is purely and simply not the case. The Pope, and no other, decides which gatherings to promote and which ones to ban. It is not only his faculty to do so, but his responsibility.
2) The “peace gathering” currency is rapidly becoming as discredited as anthropogenic global warming. It has now become that kind of abused, common place, worn news that the media will pick up only if there is nothing better to put in the first page, but will be happily ignored if more interesting things happen. To stay here in the UK, the mere fact that not only the Euro crisis, but even a couple of hundred campers near St. Paul could steal the show to the Pope says it all about the utter and total failure of this initiative, the non-necessity of it being done, and the supposed inevitability of the Pope having to – as the Germans say – “put himself at the head of the movement” in order to avoid further damage.
3) One could also say that the initiative was not picked by the media because a couple of non-Christian big wigs decided not to attend. This argument, if believed, says two things: a) that the Pope needs other people to gather interest around his initiatives, and b) that if the initiative dies because some Egyptian cleric doesn’t attend, it would have been annihilated if the Pope himself had not been there; nay: that it would have been ignored if the Pope had forbidden it.
Assisi III was a clear failure. Thank God for that. I hope this will be taken as a lesson and as an inspiration to do things differently in future, with more Catholicism and less banalities.
What has happened in Assisi was nothing else than a failed attempt to please the masses with a handful of trite common places. I am glad to say that it seems not to work anymore.