Media and the Pope

 {We re—publish Andrew Sumereau's article on the media and the Pope.]

The relief seems somewhat tempered, doesn't it though? As the Pope goes through one physical crisis after another, the mainstream media goes on high alert, with breathless excitement and anticipation, only to be let down by the Pontiff's annoying durability. One doesn't need to be clairvoyant to sense the overall disappointment among them.

Pope John Paul II has been a remarkable man for many reasons, not the least of which, surely, has been his relationship with the media over his pontificate. Handsome, intelligent, athletic, the younger version of John Paul II cast a spell over the world with his adept politics, his jet—set traveling schedule, and his heroic recovery from an attempted assassination. With his vital contribution to the downfall of the Soviet empire, he was elevated from religious leader to a realpolitik geo—political genius to the still admiring media punditry.

But then he got old. He got religious. He got moral, hectoring the West about sin, about social justice, about the culture of death. He doesn't even look good, bent over with infirmity. To the New York Times and their brethren he has become a problem, a crusty, sick old priest with old—fashioned, outmoded, non—progressive ideas.

To the delusional modern mind, the idea of progress makes certain developments seem inevitable. If only the right Pope comes along, a nicer Pope, a less judgmental Pope, then the Church will stop impeding the natural right to pleasure, all the antiquated arguments of right and wrong will disappear, and a new day will dawn when sins can become sacraments.

So if the stubborn problem won't go away naturally, why not adopt the modern fixation of just bending the rules? A neat clean bureaucratic euthanasia of sorts must be considered and debated. Retire the Pope.

No sooner does the announcement of a recovering Pope arrive, than a flotilla of unsolicited articles and stories appears, worrying about the fate of the Church. MSNBC, the New York Post, and others anguish over the Church and its disabled leader, with stories suggesting disaster if the present Pope is allowed to continue. News organizations with little interest in Papal pronouncements unless they are castigating the United States, suddenly become alarmed by a rudderless Vatican. Obliging priests and off—the—record Cardinals are quoted as complicit in their despair and worry.

Of course the truth is that most in the media have little concern or worry for the efficiency of the Vatican as presently constituted. They do, however, have a stupendous and willful ignorance of the Church, its history and its methods. References to the Holy Spirit are seldom seen in any lead editorial or nightly newscast, for good reason. It is regarded as a fiction believed by credulous, superstitious fools.

But this begs the question. Why does the overwhelmingly secular media elite care so much about the fate of the Church, and more particularly, this Pope? As Stalin quipped, 'How many divisions does the Pope have?' The answer it turned out was enough in the celestial realm to bring his atheistic State to its knees.                                                       

Unacknowledged outwardly by many, but true nonetheless, the Roman Catholic Church continues to have a moral relevance throughout the world unmatched by any organized rival. Billions of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and Protestants may follow the moral imperatives of their distinctive faiths, but no other voice speaks with the single authority of the Roman Pontiff. This is simply an unarguable fact.

And it is this fact that drives the secular antagonism to the Faith. Without this understanding the entire enterprise of focusing on the leader of the Church makes no sense. If the Church is really the outmoded fossil of corrupt clerical politicians, out—of—touch theologians, and serial child—molesters as portrayed in the press, why would the modern elite be concerned with its moral teachings? It would surely wither and die of its own sick inertia. Why care about who leads a dying sect?

But they care. They care a great deal. And it is this caring, this focus, this fixation, which unwittingly proves the point.

Just as a child looks to its parents for approval, consciously and unconsciously, through the years, the modern mind has a built—in consciousness of its own moral limitations, and a desire for the approval of a higher authority. The nagging, pricking awareness of natural and revealed morality as taught by the Church appalls by its very existence. It must be destroyed, eliminated, and if this is not possible, transformed and corrupted to embrace a new morality. It is an inbred consequence of the human soul, unhappy, and inexplicably uncomfortable in its embrace of sin. A soul sick and weary, despite the apparent approval of those around them. John Paul II has become an unacceptable physical reminder of disapproval.

And so hope resides in a new Papacy, and the media is poised to promote and encourage it.  Perhaps a new pontificate will respect the secular agenda, and Papal Blessings will be happily bestowed on gay marriages, woman priests, wars of convenience, abortion on demand, euthanasia, pornography, human cloning, and all the progressive delights that await us —— guilt—free.

But I wouldn't count on it.

Andrew Sumereau is a writer residing in East Stroudsburg, PA