Wednesday, April 20, 2005

News Coverage on the Papal Election

Hugh Hewitt has a nice roundup of the shameful press coverage of the selection of Pope Benedict the XVI. And I'm not even Catholic:

From the Washington Post: "There's less reason to hope, perhaps, that Pope Benedict XVI will rethink policies that we believe have harmful effects, but it's fair to point out that it's not only Catholics who suffer from some of those. Certainly we hope that the pope's admirable profession of "adult faith" does not mean that the church must continue to impede the distribution of condoms in Africa and in other developing countries, where greater use could inhibit the spread of AIDS and prevent thousands of premature deaths."

From the New York Times: "On matters of public policy, however, all of us have reason to be concerned about the opinions of the leader of more than one billion Catholics."

From the Boston Globe: "But the election of Pope Benedict XVI raises concerns among Protestants who felt slighted by Ratzinger during their attempts at ecumenical dialogue. The National Catholic Reporter notes that Ratzinger has discouraged the presence of Islam in Europe. He has been quoted as saying it would be ''a grave error" to admit Turkey, a largely Muslim nation, to the European Union. He also discouraged Asian priests from examining non-Christian religions for commonalities. It is unclear how the new pope will rebuild church attendance in Europe and the United States. No one expected the College of Cardinals to ruminate on priestly celibacy or women priests when choosing a pope. But US Catholics will continue to ponder such topics and connect them to priest shortages and parish closings. In Latin America and Africa, growth areas for the church, many Catholics worry more about poverty than about priests who push the ecclesiastical envelope."

From the Los Angeles Times: "The church is sadly putting off a change in worldview and retaining its Eurocentric focus. By failing to pick a pope from Latin America or elsewhere in the developing world, the church reinforces the impression that it is a colonial enterprise, run in Europe by Europeans who see themselves as uniquely qualified to serve as God's interlocutor.... He is used to working behind the scenes, serving as the pope's doctrinal enforcer. As such, he has been a largely polarizing force in the church, coming down hard on Catholic leaders who sought social justice in Latin America or dissented from the Vatican in their teachings."

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Greater roles for women, a more welcoming posture toward gays and lesbians, and a moderation of views on sexuality, genetic research, euthanasia or contraception to prevent AIDS -- none of these is likely to gain ground under Benedict. As a Vatican official, he also opposed Turkey's entry into the European Union, forbade German Catholics from sharing communion with Lutherans at a joint gathering in 2003, and failed to hasten the prosecution of American priests involved in child abuse...'If he were elected, thousands upon thousands of Catholics in Europe and the United States would roll their eyes and retreat to the margins of the church,' the Rev. Richard P. McBrien, a Notre Dame theologian, had predicted earlier this week."

No editorialist has yet compared Benedict's succession from John Paul II to the Andropov/Chernenko interregnum between Brezhnev and Gorbachev, but given the overwhelming hostility of the American media elite to the announcement of Benedict XVI's election, it will only be a matter of time. Already there is more projection of liberal hopes onto the theologically-rooted papacy. "Benedict XVI will hold to the late pope's theologically conservative line," wheezed the Los Angeles Times, "but he won't do it all that long, giving the church a breather in which to plan its future."

The refusal of even a single day's honeymoon for the new pope from the scribblers of the left tells us a lot about the folks who work on editorial boards, and also a lot about diversity in America's newsrooms. Are there even five traditional, Mass-attending and confession-going writers among the five editorial boards sampled above? Is there even one who would step forward to defend the Church's teaching on human dignity and sexuality? There are tens of millions of American Catholics full of joy at yesterday's news, but do they have any voice within elite MSM at all?


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