The Corner

Mercy!

I get so irritated by the ignorance so many in

the American media display when it comes to coverage of religion. This

morning on the way into work, I heard NPR’s Bob Edwards conduct an interview

with John Allen, National

Catholic Reporter’s Vatican correspondent, on the subject of the

Pope naming 31 new cardinals. Edwards started out by repeating the hoariest

cliche of American reporting on the papacy: that John Paul has spent his

papacy naming nothing but conservatives to the cardinalate. Allen, who

writes for a liberal Catholic paper, but who is well-informed and

honest, politely said that this current crop of cardinals

contains strong conservatives, as well as “center-left” figures. There’s a

lot more diversity among the cardinals than most people think, he said. Then

NPR’s Edwards repeated the second-hoariest cliche of US reporting on Vatican

affairs: that the Holy See did [X.] because John Paul is old and frail and

is going to die soon. Allen responded that the truth is more mundane: the

Church needs more cardinals of voting age before the next conclave, it was

due for a new consistory, and Rome decided to go ahead and have the

consistory in October, when all the world’s cardinals are going to be there

for John Paul’s 25th anniversary, rather than have them all come back early

next year.

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