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It’s has become almost a cliché of papal visits. At first, headlines report that the Pope will get a frosty reception because of widespread opposition to the faith.
BY Father Owen KearnsPublisher
become almost a cliché of papal visits. At
first, headlines report that the Pope will get a frosty reception because of
widespread opposition to the faith. Then the Pope comes and attracts enormous
cheering crowds. Seeing that the people clearly love the Pope and that he
clearly loves them, media commentators start speaking of the “surprisingly
enthusiastic reception” the Pope has received, when no one was surprised but
One reason this always happens is
that the media applies a political formula to papal visits that just does not
fit. Many reporters do not understand expressions of faith and are made
uncomfortable by religious fervor. So they identify the issues they can cover,
Issues loom large to reporters, and
so Catholic groups that are identified with particular issues loom large, as
well. But Catholic groups that target small political issues often turn out to
be fringe organizations in the Church.
The media focuses on these groups
and so focuses on what programs the Church is supporting or failing to support.
And they miss the whole point.
In the case of Pope Benedict XVI’s
visit to Brazil, they will find a few programs. But mostly, they will be
disappointed. The Holy Father’s message is that without God, programs are
hollow, fruitless and ultimately disappointing.
And by God, he means, “not a God who
is merely imagined or hypothetical, but God with a human face; he is
God-with-us, the God who loves even to the Cross.”
This Christ-centered vision of the
Pope is why the media will always miss the point — because they don’t see the
central importance of Christ in history.
And it is also, incidentally, the
very reason for the Register.
As Pope Benedict told the
bishops of Brazil, “we must not limit ourselves solely to homilies, lectures,
Bible courses or theology courses, but we must have recourse also to the
communications media: press, radio and television, websites, forums and many
other methods for effectively communicating the message of Christ to a large
number of people.”