The latest Benedict Roundup presents another infuriating glimpse into the news media. I said in my last post that I love to roam in CatholicLand! because here I can hear the news from Rome without some twit's opinion interfering with actual news reports. I thought I may have been a little harsh, but now I want to shred their hard drives.

First, David Gibson offers this blatant error: "The reality is that during these two years, even as he has preached the boundless grace of Christian charity, Benedict has also made it clear that divine love does not allow for compromise on matters of truth as the pope sees it..."

What he meant to say was, "...matters of truth as the Church teaches it..."

After all, the Church's teachings were not written by Benedict; they are preserved by him in their integrity. The Church's teachings do not allow for compromise on matters of Truth as expressed by the Divine Lover. Gibson must have failed Catholicism 101. Oh that's right-- he never took that course to get his degree-- so why is he covering news from the Vatican?

Then CCC reminds us how poorly misinformed the press really are about the Pope's appeal to the youth of the world: "it seems odd that journalists attending papal youth rallies that attract tens of thousands of cheering young people regularly quote only disgruntled teenagers in their reports. If the pope is a bore and young people find his message irrelevant, why do so many of them flock to hear it?"

Indeed. How could any journalist, when faced with throngs of cheering people under 30 possibly come to the conclusion that the Pope lacks appeal with people under 30? Either they're in denial or they have their heads up their posteriors. So, they do teach contortionism in schools but they don't teach religion. Huh.

And then John Allen actually expects us to swallow this thesis: "On the one hand, Benedict is an exceptionally lucid communicator. He's a gifted logician, so his conclusions flow naturally from his premises. Moreover, he's able to synthesize complex ideas in easy-to-understand formula, so you don't need a degree in theology to get his point. Yet Benedict can also be remarkably tone-deaf to how his pronouncements may sound to people who don't share his intellectual and cultural premises." Allen continues, "Yet a pope is, inevitably, Catholicism's chief ambassador to the outside world, including people not predisposed to give the church the benefit of the doubt. That implies a special responsibility to weigh one's words carefully, not just for their inner logic, but also for their potential cultural and political repercussions. It's not enough to insist that the world take the church on its own terms -- one has to meet it halfway."

So if we follow Allen's reasoning, the Pope's lucid communications are being met with opposition not because people are closed-minded and have failed to listen well, but because the Pope hasn't phrased it it a manner that strokes their egoes. Rather than actually instigate critical inquiry, the Pope should lie to people. Rather than demonstrate the very cogent discourse he expects, the Pope should treat people like insecure toddlers. Rather than invite people to ascend to the Truth where all is sweet harmony, the Pope should compromise his beliefs and simultaneously the integrity of the teachings given by Jesus Christ Himself. Now where have I heard that before? John Allen must have gone to the same school as David Gibson- you know, the one where they teach contortionism instead of journalism.

People do not get angry at the Pope because of a lack of charity on his part; people get angry at the Pope because of a lack of humility on their own part. The Truth hurts. No will ever deliver that pain more gently and effectively than His Holiness Pope Benedict. Why? Precisely for the very methods that Allen criticises. If Benedict says something that people misunderstand, and it infuriates them to the point that they dismiss it as his own opinion, they will have begun to encounter their own belief system and its inadequacies. The more they enter in to that encounter, the more liberated by Truth they will become. It can be a very healthy process if done with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Or it can be a very vexing process. But the responsibility to listen for Truth does not fall on Benedict's shoulders; his job is to preach it. John, the Pope totally comprehends how his pronouncements may sound to people who don't share his intellectual and cultural premises. They're the ones who are tone-deaf, John. Benedict is the maestro.

You don't teach someone to sing by joining them off-key; you maintain the pitch and eventually they find their way to striking the right chord. John Allen would have Catholics modulate to be in conformity to the world's discord. Jesus told us to be perfect, to get out from under the bushel, to magnify the Lord. Let's join with the Pope: let's be resplendent! Let's be perfectly on-pitch! Let's be Cooperatores Veritas~

No comments:

Blog Archive