The secular press is going to work on what is known via the Frankfurter Allgemeine‘s pre-release of the Holy Father’s letter to bishops about the SSPX excommunications.
In general great energy was aimed at the Holy Father’s admission that somethings were mishandled.
The headlines give you a sense.
Reuters: "Pope admits Holocaust denier affair was mishandled"
In the Reuters article focuses nearly entirely on the controversy that erupted, on the mishandling of the affair, on the Pope’s "anguish", on the rift in Catholic-Jewish relations. It amazingly does not cover the Pope’s explanation about why he lifted the excommunications, except in a few vague words towards the end of the article.
AP: "Pope writes letter about Holocaust denier"
AP rehashes old news and gives you the impression that the person who wrote the article perhaps didn’t take any account of the text, pre-published in Frankfurter Allgemeine. It cites Il Foglio. AP grinds away at the Williamson interview and the reaction of Jewish groups, Pius XII, blah blah.
The NYT: "Pope’s Letter to Bishops Cites Mistakes"
Again, getting off on the fact that the Pope admits a mistake, the NYT piece depends in Il Folgio and Andrea Tornielli. This article also brings in the issue of Pius XII and the upcoming visit to Jerusalem. At least it meantions that the lifting of the excommunications was meant as "a modest act of mercy".
CNS: "In letter, pope responds to criticisms over Lefebvrite decision"
This article touches on what you might expect, but, as Catholic agency, uses space to cover the reason why Pope Benedict lifted the excommunication. It also covers the Pope’s explaination that the Church cannot be frozen in 1962, nor can Vatican II be viewed as a rupture with the past or as a new beginning. It ends with the Pope’s strong words about tolerance.
CNN is behind the curve and has nothing. FoxNews as well, though it at least picked up AP.
UPDATE 00:58 GMT 12 March
I was sent a link to the Faith World blogs on Reuters. Do check it. "Pope to bishops: check your mail" by Phil Pullella.
This entry delves a bit more into the reason why Pope Benedict lifted the excommunications. It also provides Reuters translation of excerpts from the German text in the Frankfurter Allegemeine. English language blogs have had English translations up for a while, but this has Reuters translation, which is interesting. Pullella also links to Tornielli’s blog.
The blog entry mentions some of the negatives raised by the Pope about the SSPX, namely, that some of them are "arrogant and think they know better than everyone else". But he doesn’t include the other side of the Pope’s observation. Pope also says he "received several moving testimonies of thankfulness that showed an opening of the hearts"…. which is what he was in part trying to accomplish by the move.
No surprises, then.
God bless and protect the Holy Father!
Watch – the loudest voices criticizing the pope’s letter will be those who never bother to read it, but just allow the media to tell them what it’s all about. Kind of like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. The biggest complainers never watched it.
It’s heartbreaking to read our Holy Father say “It has saddened me that even Catholics who could actually have known better have thought it necessary to strike at me with a hostility ready to jump.”
The whole letter makes me sad. People really should have assumed the Holy Father’s good intentions.
What’s infuriating, especially in light of the passages about communication and the internet, is that, even if the Holy Father had conducted a press conference EVERY DAY and answered every question, the news media, including some Catholic outlets, would still have done what they did and are doing.
We have a Pope we dont truly deserve or appreciate. That in itself is very sad. Shame on every Catholic bishop, priest and lay person who attacked the Pope. Shame on every non-Catholic who didn’t give the Pope the benefit of the doubt which everyone is entitled to.
What a sad truth that the media will distort and twist everything that comes out of the Vatican and Our Holy Father. They are a vile, ruthless bunch that only harms society as a whole with distortions llike this. I suspect one day they will implode as people on the net will become the real guage of the news and the world today. We don’t work for anybody…God Bless this Holy Father and his Pontificate.
Ah, sound bites from the ankle biters. How appropriate. Most of these “news agencies” do not have the intellectual heft to understand the Pope’s
I don’t think there’s anything wrong in dwelling on how things were mishandled. The Church is far from being a perfect community of men and women, and the lifting of the excomms was handled atrociously. We have to admit our mistakes, then we can learn from them, that’s all. Doubtless there are some anti-Catholics who’ve made capital out of this, but then all the more reason to try to avoid walking into their snares. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves…
Mike, no. There were Catholics who made capital out of this, i.e. Cardinal Mahony. Tom
Well there will always be some, Tom. As I say, there is good and bad in the Church, no one is perfect.
What you said, Mitchell NY! Perfect!
TJM-‘ankle biters’….good description of the secular media….fits them to a ‘t’ !