I had a great day yesterday not writing about the Pope and condoms.
After a Solemn High Mass at Holy Innocents in Manhattan, with music of De Victoria and the presence of a group of college students, I dashed up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw an exhibit of views of Italy including many things that dove-tailed with the Canaletto exhibit I saw in London. Then I walked across Central Park and saw a huge gray and white raptor on a horizontal branch about 20 feet off the ground eating the gut out of a squirrel. It sure looked like an Osprey to me, but I think they usually eat fish. The kids watching were great: EEEEWWWW, when it would pull up some juicy intestines. One guy explained to junior that animals don’t get food in styrofoam packages. Then waiting at a corner I saw a car whip around corner into the back of a cab thus propelling it in turn into the back of an SUV. Once again I heard the EEEEWWWW, from the people around. Then a movie. Then Chinese. The last part of the New Jersey Giants v. Iggles game. Not bad.
In the meantime, I did not write about the Pope and condoms for even one second of the day!
I found a comment on CMR, however, which expresses in far less testy terms than I would use, something of my thoughts on the matter of the Pope and the Press. My emphases:
I must admit that the whole thing has me scratching my head. The question I keep coming back to is “why?” Why did the Pope try to make this VERY nuanced point when it is obvious to even the most casual observer that the media would get this wrong? Did this nuanced point about male prostitutes really have to be made? I mean, have male prostitutes sworn off condoms because the Pope says they are wrong? Why? Why this point?
I cannot help but wonder if the Pope’s inner egg-head got the better of him here. In a way, I feel like the Pope wandered into the woods on the first day of hunting season while trying to make a point detailing the different kinds of rods and cones involved in color-blindness. It is just not the time or place to be making this point.
And then the Holy See press office. Somebody over there coulda shoulda known what was contained in this interview and anticipated the blowup. [Oh boy… this is why it is best for me to use someone elses words.] The whole reason you have a press office is so that you can be ahead of these kind of stories rather than being reactive. Extending my lame hunting analogy, it seems that the press office tells all of the color blind hunters “Hey, I think I saw something move over there!” And then claims “How was I supposed to know?”
Doesn’t anybody over at the Vatican, from the Pope on down, know how this works?
Listen up!!! The press doesn’t do nuance!
I would like to be able to apply the Sherlock Holmes theory to this. Once you eliminate the possibly answers, the impossible is the answer.
It is impossible to imagine that an organization with global impact and footprint doesn’t know how to hire someone to coordinate the Roman Curia’s official press presentations and responses.
It is impossible to imagine that in setting up that book-interview, the Holy See didn’t retain the right to strike elements that would be inopportune.
It is impossible to imagine that the Pope and his advisers don’t know what the press does with raw meat.
I wonder if the Holy Father goes forward with controversial statements knowing that they are going to create a furor precisely because he knows that there will be a public discussion to follow.
On the way to get the Chinese food last tonight, we were talking about how the sharp repression of Modernism in the early 20th century lead the its resurgence later. We discussed what might have happened had modernism been engaged and refuted rather than simply repressed.
We say we want a voice in the public square. That isn’t going to be easy. Our responses aren’t going to look like clean white packages with plastic wrap.
Is this a technique of the “new evangelization”?