Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Kenneth Woodward at the Times

Kenneth Woodward nails it in his opinion piece at the Times on press coverage of papal matters: "In retrospect, two errors made consistently in interregnum papal journalism stand out. The first is how often the press has overlooked lines of continuity - how the innovations of a new pope were usually prefigured by his predecessor. Pius XII began planning a council before John XXIII convoked Vatican II; from his own writings we know that John's spirituality was of a more conservative kind, and it seems unlikely that he would have embraced all the changes that some progressives claimed were in his 'spirit.' Likewise, it was the cautious Paul VI who abolished the Latin Mass in favor of the vernacular and gave sanction to liberation theology. And it was John Paul I - not his illustrious successor - who first dropped the papal 'we' to speak in his own voice.
The second mistake the press tends to make is labeling any new pope as either conservative or progressive. The job of a pontiff is to conserve the patrimony of faith; 'progressive' is often a matter of style rather than theology or politics. "

Woodward: "Progressive, Conservative, or Rock Star?"
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