Easy Choices


For obvious reasons, I could not follow yesterday’ s ceremony live. Therefore, both yesterday evening and for solid forty minutes this morning I looked for sensible information about what happened yesterday: how the liturgical aspect was organised was obviously a major concern, but the most pressing matter to me was to examine how this new and innovative Pontiff dealt with the rather uncommon occasion of speaking in front of the representatives of so many governments, from soft dictatorships of relativism like the US to brutal dictatorships of violence like Zimbabwe. Surely, I thought, a Pope who wants to set a new precedent of courageous apostolate will profit from this occasion for a passionate defence of the unborn life, and a severe reminder marriage is a divine institution?

Well, this might or might not have been the case, but if it has the press (and I mean the Catholic outlets, taken from Catholic aggregators) were, in their worry of not being enough enthusiastic, not been paying attention.

What I found instead was an obsessive reporting of utterly harmless subjects, and an orgy of easy emotionalism fit for the audience of a kindergarten.

The Pope has, then, apparently, encouraged his audience to preserve Creation. A typical tofu-statement, anodyne to the point of meaning perfectly absolutely nothing and therefore being easily accepted by perfectly absolutely everyone. From Neonazis to Old Stalinists, from Palin to Biden, and from Berlusconi to Merkel, everyone can be in agreement with such a statement, and I wonder if “good morning” could not be seen as rather more controversial.

We are here, therefore, firmly in non-news territory; which has not prevented this astonishingly profound encouragement to be echoed by the press with such sugary tones as to let you think something historical has happened, and they’ll ask you to take part in a merry-go-round next.

Then there is the second non-news of the day: protect the poor, the weak, etc.

Not “the unborn”, mind. The weak, the poor. An obvious departure from the papacies of the past, relentlessly inviting the faithful to kick their backside. This is another serving of V II tofu, allowing the Bidens and Pelosis of the world to fly back home and tell everyone how engaged they are in furthering the Holy Father’s agenda. Even Mugabe will be able to make excellent use of it, and I actually wonder if Adolf Hitler himself would not have sat in his place nodding approvingly, and thinking his people have the best hospitals, youth clubs, swimming pools, maternity legal discipline, social security, and social activities of all kind.

Thirdly, and most Oprah-like in a world rapidly sinking into unknown depths of idiocy, the embracing of the poor man in the wheelchair for the benefit – wanted or not – of worldwide audiences; an act, obviously, not to be censored at all in itself, but given such messianic importance as to let one seriously wonder. As per yesterday, compassion for disabled peoplewill have to be televised globally, because otherwise no one would know it exist. Gone are the days when a gentle Pope avoided every gesture which might have been seen as easy fodder for the emoting mob. Gone are the days when papal homilies where, if often ignored, dense of significance and intellectually stimulating. What the media represent today is an Oprah in white, literally feeding the chicken with the most astonishing platitudes and looking at the noisy excitement in the worldwide henhouse.

Forget abortion, marriage, moral relativism, militant atheism, sodomy! Just talk about “creation”! Better still, stop the car and embrace a disabled man! The entire planet will be delighted! The picture emerging here is of a Tofu papacy for the intellectually challenged, dishing banalities in the best tradition of JP II, and one can only wonder whether Pope Francis will resume the latter’s habit of “kissing the ground”: another perfectly meaningless, but oh so good looking gesture the present Pontiff might think of adopting.



Unless, of course, the Pope did say the unpleasant things, did defend marriage, did defend the Catholic view about homosexuality, and the worldwide Catholic press and blogging world simply chose to ignore it, because if you earn in proportion of your page views or the newspapers you sell the tofu waffle will go down much better and sell much more.

This orgy of emotionalism is also evidenced by another rather shocking piece of information: several journalists apparently hyped the event so much as to say around one million people were there. The Vatican had to correct, saying 150,000 to 200,000 is a more likely take. The collective media interest in making of this Papacy a worldwide media event of perfectly harmless, and therefore easy to sell content could not have been revealed more blatantly.

Therefore, one of the two is happening: either we are going towards another Oprah-Papacy, or the press and media outlets are so obsessively trying to make of this Pope an Oprah in white that the real message is covered by the emotional screaming of the journalists and bloggers conveniently excited like teenage girls when the pop star arrives at the hotel.

In future, I’ll try to find reliable sources for the text themselves of the Papal speeches – further complicated from the fact he tends to improvise -, then I begin to notice in the usual reporting channels an emphasis on emotionalism and feel-good attitude.

The best blogs will also, in time, report with some depth about yesterday; still, to get later in the office because on the news aggregators one only found waffle for 40 solid minutes is more than a bit frustrating.

In the meantime, I suggest the Dalai Lama starts embracing children in wheelchairs fast, or he has already lost the popularity race.


Posted on March 20, 2013, in Catholicism. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Living here in the far reaches of “Mountain Time Zone” with sinking heart I awoke to the headlines blaring “Holy Father Implores Care for the Environment!” A feeling of unreality gripped me. No, it cannot be! Is that all he has to say to the world as he takes center stage?.

    With homosexual marriage on the agendas of three continents, abortion to the tune of 330 million in China since 1973, contraception dangled in front of the Phillipino people, hundreds of thousands of embryos languishing in deep freezes worldwide, Westerners renting wombs in India, etc… I get word that the Holy Father is calling us to care for the environment!

    One man from Spain in St. Peter’s square was interviewed about his reaction to the what the pope had to say and he said it was “boring”.

  2. Mundabor, we have a pussy for a pope when we should have a roaring lion. And I just found out he’s pro-sodomite as well! See http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/marielena/130320 for proof of this statement.

    • I hope you are wrong. I haven’t read the article, but at the moment even the devil would say the Pope agreed with him in writing.

      I’ll read the link when I feel strong enough.. 😉


  3. I did watch the Mass live, and I was much more disappointed by liturgical choices than his sermon. While not particularly stimulating, it was a contemplative homily that linked the feast of St. Joseph to the idea of the “protector” which I think is an image our Pope might refer to again in the future, when he moves from fairly safe topics like protecting the poor and creation to protecting tradition, protecting marriage, or the unborn.

    I am still waiting to hear if he does not genuflect because of a physical inability to do so, or out of irreverence for the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, and if he does not chant along with the Credo because he cannot with one lung, or because he does not know the Latin. These issues worry me much more than a “soft” public sermon at the beginning of his papacy.

    • Thanks Joseph,

      I think the non-genuflecting has age reasons. He is less mobile than he looks at first. During the mass closing the Conclave he almost tripped and fell flat on the ground. As to the credo, the missing lung certainly does not help but he might have a horrible singing (or chanting) voice, in which case I’d say better no chant…


    • That’s a relief then. I do hope that he can pull of singing/chanting once in a while. Especially with Easter coming up… I love the beauty of hearing the Pope singing the Regina Coeli. I suppose we’ll see; keep up the great work with this blog!

    • Many thanks, Joseph!

      Ah, if it comes to Popes singing I did not find Pope Benedict a very talented singer, either… 😉


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