Pope Benedict XVI has launched today News.va, the all-new portal of the Vatican created to integrate various Vatican communication activities. A link has been already provided for your convenience under Links (Catholic).
By clicking you’ll find easy access to news from the Osservatore Romano (this is very impressive: it is now 7pm in the UK and there is a beautiful .pdf version of Tomorrow’s “Osservatore” that you can read online, for free), from the news agency Fides, from the Press Office of the Vatican and from other media and information sources. You can even click and listen directly to the Vatican radio, in several languages.
Even a layman like me notices that this is not something patched together in an approximate way. Wherever you click, the format remains the same, the information seamlessly integrated in the site whilst at the same time giving you the possibility to access the relevant media (to listen to the radio, to read the newspaper, to go to the “Osservatore Romano”‘s site instead of reading from the news.va platform).
You can share everything at your heart’s content of course, and in a sign of the times the Pope has sent the news of the start of the service with a tweet (another sign of the times being that he has done so from an iPad; Steve Jobs sends his greetings and if I were him, the relevant image would go in the ads planetwide… ).
It all works fine, and makes a good impression to this layman. It is easy to use and very convenient in the possibilities it opens. For example, I had never thought of listening to the Vatican Radio on the internet; but now it is only a couple of clicks away, in my language of choice.
If Pope Benedict wanted to give himself some nice toy for his sixtieth anniversary of ordination, I must say he has chosen a beautiful and perfectly useful one.
Ad multos annos!
When the most reputable Catholic weekly magazine reports about the growing worries of the Catholic world concerning a possible roll back of Summorum Pontificum, it is clear that we are not in front of the paranoia of some small group of traditionalists but of a serious concern spread among a multitude of serious (meaning: orthodox and churchgoing as opposed to “liberal” and “non-judgmental”) Catholics.
Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to define the Catholic Herald “traditionalist” in any way, it is clear that this fairly conservative magazine considers the appeal of Rorate Caeli and Messa in Latino highly relevant for conservative Catholics the world over. Tellingly, not only Rorate Caeli but the Catholic Herald also publish a link to an online petition. I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is that serious Catholics participate to these initiatives in great numbers. The petition is the same for both internet pages, so you don’t need to send it twice.
I repeat below the list of addresses posted yesterday, in case you’d want to back up your petition with a personal email.
Pope Benedict: a) firstname.lastname@example.org or b) email@example.com
Cardinal Levada, CDF: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congregation for the Clergy: email@example.com
Congregation for the Evangelisation of People: firstname.lastname@example.org
Osservatore Romano: email@example.com
Beautiful blog post from the “Reluctant Sinner”.
Its author clearly does not put into question the orthodoxy of the Holy Father; nor does he believe that the Pontiff wanted to start a debate or change things in matters of contraception in any way. But he clearly points out to the fact that the words of “clarification” from the Pontiff (as reported by the never-so-very-safe Lombardi) add fuel to the controversy rather than putting an end to it.
The simple fact is that whilst even the new “explanations” as reported by Father Lombardi do not change anything in the Catholic teaching (or in the Pope’s thinking, come to that) about the matter, this bad habit of reporting single phrases without a context is not doing anyone (particularly the Holy Father, let alone the many confused Catholics) any favour.
The words were carelessly chosen first in the choice of the homosexual/condom scenario to explain that even an evil man can gradually, slowly develop first signs of moral awakening. Yes he can, but if the concept is expressed in this way it will be misunderstood. Then came the extraordinary initiative of the Osservatore Romano to break ranks and publish excerpts of the interview without context or comment, which made things much worse anyway and unleashed the mastiffs of the secular press. Thirdly came the “explanation”, which – whilst not unorthodox in the least – is still such that the untrained secular journalist could, perhaps even in good faith, think that the Holy Father really meant that the female prostitute is justified in using the condom.
It is now, I respectfully dare say, necessary that a carefully worded statement is issued – not by Lombardi but by the Pope himself – clearly saying what is what. This should be done not in order to explain to well-instructed Catholics what they already know, but in order to put some order among the ranks of the not-so-well informed Catholics (the vast majority, nowadays) who could easily be misled from what they think and read that he would have said.
The problem is, in its root, of Vatican making. No doubt about that.
Time to clear the mess once and for all, I think.
This repeats what I have already written about the “Osservatore Romano”. With rather more incisive words.
Interestingly, Voris also says that the blunder might not be due to teenager-like desire of being a modern/hip/cool, but that it might have been the result of a desire to weaken the Faith. Basically, either utter incompetence or utter bad faith.
One must not agree but, seen the precedents with the Beatles and Homer Simpson, the suspicion is not unjustified.
Strong stuff on the whole. Well Done, Mr. Voris!
I have already written here about the strange tendencies now seemingly dominating within the Osservatore Romano with the less than opportune observations about the Blues Brothers (not so bad), Homer Simpson being a Catholic (much worse) and similar failed attempts at being modern, humorous and “hip”. Those who have read Iota Unum already know that the Osservatore is not new to making a mess of things, but the recent trend seems to have the new quality of wanting to make a mess of things.
It would now seem – from the blog “In the Light of the Law” – that the Osservatore Romano has made another wilful and premeditated blunder in that it has published the excerpt of the book on his own, in violation of an agreement among various media outlet to launch the book on the same day all over the world and providing not only the excerpt but a number of people ready to comment about the same.
Now, the author of the blog I have linked to maintains that the mess has basically originated from the Osservatore Romano publishing the excerpt without any commentary. I disagree on this as if the wording had been better in the first place, no media storm would have resulted. Still, it is clear that if the excerpt had been published on the same day as several commentaries (hopefully, from people who know what they write) about what the themes of the book are (and with some guidance as to some aspects of catholic teaching which might be obscure to many) the possibility of misunderstanding would have been greatly reduced and the anti-Catholic press wouldn’t have had a field day.
If what reported in the blog is true, it would appear that the teenager-like cheek of the OR is worsening to a full fifteen-years-old open rebellion phase. Someone at the OR loves being a protagonist much, much more than he should. This would not be appropriate for any newspaper, but is particularly grave in the case of this one.
I have the impression that I am not the only one wishing that normal service may be resumed as soon as possible.
We live in times where collective stupidity and vulgarity is very much en vogue and there is no level of entertainment considered too stupid or embarrassing. The entire cultural climate is slowly going down, flattening itself to the minimum common denominator of the uneducated, peeping, gossiping masses. Consider our TV programmes becoming increasingly more stupid, our newspapers becoming increasing more coloured (and leaving your finger an even bigger mess than they used to) and shouted, our politicians treating us as increasingly more stupid (witness the huge amount of adv telling us not to kill ourselves on a bike, or to drink and drive) and the life of what is in the meantime a huge army of “celebrities” being inspected and given to the hungry masses in the most embarrassing detail.
One of the most notable examples of this trend toward the superficial, the vulgar and the outright stupid is the Osservatore Romano, the once serious (if not necessarily orthodox) Vatican publication now clearly intent on becoming the most ridiculed newspaper on the planet. The paper does so brilliantly, with journalists regularly making asses of themselves and causing worldwide laughter in the process.
It all started (unless I am missing something) with the Osservatore’s “absolution” of the Beatles, whereby we were informed that the Beatles (and well, particularly Lennon and by reflection the female who has become the epitome of everything that is wrong with the human race) were blasphemous drug users but hey, it’s all fine because where would music be without them…. Touching and profound, don’t you find?
Then we had the “Blues Brothers” article, where the religious content of the movie and his defence of Catholicism was put in evidence. This was, if you ask me, far less stupid* than the previous observations about Lennon & Co, but it still betrayed an utterly inappropriate need of being “hip” and to talk about things that have nothing to do with the actual job of the newspaper.
The summit (at least for now) was reached when the same newspaper, not content with the degree of ridicule already earned, went out with the rather astonishing observation that Homer Simpson be a Catholic. The reasons would be that he sleeps at his Protestant church’s sermons and a couple of other pieces of nonsense too idiotic to repeat. I distinctly remember that when I was in kindergarten discussions were far more logic and profound than this one and it truly seems that the Osservatore Romano will not stop until their reputation for moronic stunts has reached the furthest corners of the planet; which will be very soon.
In the meantime, the producers of the “Simpsons” have felt the necessity to speak. “If Catholics are as stupid as that newspaper”, they must have thought, “we’ll need to release some form of official dementi”. Please note the astonishment of the poor chap at Homer Simpson being defined as Catholic.
The impression that comes from all these stories is that at the Vatican someone is seriously confusing proper journalistic work with puberty problems. One has the distinct impression that Beavis and Butthead have now become, respectively, news writer and editor by a well-known and once reputable newspaper. The problem is that whilst Beavis and Butthead may be fun on MTV, they are not on the Osservatore Romano.
* I admit growing up in the admiration of that movie. I still think it is one of the greatest movies ever made. And I find the “Penguin” one of the most lovable creatures ever devised by the silver screen.