Thursday, 14 February 2013

We knew not what we did

Image courtesy of the western media.
 The best article I've read on Pope Benedict's papacy is from The Spectator and I'd like to take its point a step further than it does.

The article is clear that it is not concerned with whether his papacy succeeded or failed, it is concerned with the media's reaction to him. Before I launch into my tirade, I'll just pause to remeber that the most famous of history's popes to have abdicated, Pope St Peter Celestine V got a shoddy treatment at the hands of the media too in his portrayal as the figure in the vestibule of Danté's Inferno. However, I think that today's media is far less understanding even that Danté and in that it is indicative of the society is serves and promotes. It strikes me that we in the world today are poorly equipped for interaction with ideas on anything more than a superficial level and how that impacts on our understanding of other people. The age of the soundbite is superceding that of the rational reasoned debate. For me the article highlights this broader issue with the example of how the world, particularly the western world, has treated the Holy Father. The conflict between him and the media is in fact between the age of reason, which he exemplified, understood and promoted, and that of the preformed opinion of an age where we have our selfserving social obsessions which dominate our interactions with other people to the extent that we not only no longer know what other people have said but we don't care, except when they impinge on these obsessions. The joy of having this Pope is that he was not this cold hearted, solely rationalising, conservative automaton the media portray him as, but a man formed by love who lives his life through the paradigm of his prayer life. That someone can at once have that characteristic and be a man of reason is a concept the media will never get to grips with. At the risk of ending in irony: we will need a pope that will teach us the Catholic faith and so the Church has no use for a soundbite pope.

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