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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Pope & His Prada Shoes

Below are snippets from an excellent article from feminist theologian Mary Hunt on the Pope, his visit and those funny red Prada shoes.
Press coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States—his first as Pope—acts like a mirror reflecting the media’s complicated role in reporting religious news as a whole. What could be more television-friendly than the sights and sounds of institutional Catholicism? Its colorful costumes, ancient rituals, and contemporary savvy at getting its message out are a producer’s dream. If the kind of coverage in 2005 that accompanied the death of Pope John Paul II, and the election of his successor, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) is any indication, we can expect a great deal of air time and print space, very little if any critical analysis, and a lot of free press for the Roman Catholic Church. ......
Many such important issues, including the institution’s continued efforts to shape public policy on reproductive health, Catholic teachings against the death penalty, and Vatican financial dealings are obscured by the smoke and solemnity. We learn more from the press about the Pope’s red Prada shoes and designer sunglasses than about his criticism of the Iraq war. This time around in Washington, DC and New York City we hear about the “Pope-soap-on-a-rope” but not the people who work in Catholic schools for low wages. We see tee shirts for papal teddy bears, but no hint of the impact of the Vatican’s policy banning the use of condoms even for those who are HIV-infected. .......
Virtually nothing has changed in thirty years. Catholic women are not ordained, hence not involved in most church decision-making. The hierarchical structure has not changed one whit; if anything, power is even more concentrated. I suspect that this reality will not get much media attention during the papal visit. I am quite sure that no one who has the honor of welcoming this pope to his various venues will be granted such an unscripted opportunity to be candid. I am even more confident that few members of the press will notice.

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Blogger Timothy said...

Sounds like so many sour grapes that the Church is not more wordly.

8:57 PM


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