At the end of the first run EWTN coverage of the Papal canonization mass Raymond Arroyo made a point to thank Mother Angelica the 91-year-old for founding the network and allowing the coverage of the historic ceremony and Mass.
Most of the time that is exactly right. As a general rule if you wanted to see a canonization mass in full EWTN is the only place to go.
When I turned on the TV at the tail end of the mass Fox News & MSNBC were carrying the mass, and while CNN was not at this point I’m informed by Sissy Willis that they too carried the mass live, albeit not without a hiccup or two.
@DaTechGuyblog 🙂 John Allen and Delia Gallagher were commenting. She kept trying to make it political
— Sissy Willis (@SissyWillis) April 27, 2014
Not having seen the CNN coverage I can’t comment on any spin Delia Gallagher might have been employing but in one sense that is correct. This event had a culture wars component and was in fact a significant victory for the Church.
A vital component in demonizing an organization or group of people is ignorance. There are plenty of preachers who’ve spent a lifetime painting the picture of an idol worshiping bunch of heretics. Likewise there are a bunch of people in the media and on the left who have spent decades painting the church as a bunch of woman hating bigoted pederasts.
For them this has been an unmitigated disaster in a year of disaster.
First you have the election of the first Latin American pope. It forced them to narrow their attacks to avoid any appearance of hitting Francis for fear of a backlash. Francis’ humble ways haven’t made it easy.
Then you have a Pope who using social media effectively. Millions of people follow his tweets in seven languages without a filter.
Next you have the canonization of Pope John Paul II, A man not only in the living memory of anyone 20 years old or over but who tens or even hundreds of millions of people alive have seen or met in person. In a celebrity obsessed culture A week’s worth of critical media stories on him can’t counter a someone able to say about an actual saint: “I saw him” “I met him” effect.
Pope John Paul II canonization might still have been an opening for division until Francis decided to schedule it together with John XXIII. Suddenly it became harder to split the various camps within the church for the ceremony of the Pope who started Vatican II.
Finally you have the first canonization ceremony of Pope Francis AND the presence of a Pope emeritus making it a four pope event something unheard of in history making it a story that the cable networks practically had to cover live.
Of all the things that have gone wrong for the Catholic haters since Francis’ election this is the worst. If you want to portray the Catholic Church as a bunch of stuck up bigots who hate woman or heralds of the anti-christ the last thing you want is people seeing a live mass filled with millions of the joyful faithful in worshiping in a setting and ceremony filled with the Holy Spirit.
Try explaining that away.
After today things will settle back to normal, the media will do their best to spin the church and the faithful will have to go to EWTN to avoid that spin.
But for today that filter was largely gone, that’s going to leave a cultural mark that will take a lot of effort to erase.
Which I suspect is just how the Holy Spirit planned it.
Update: Ed Morrissey links:
I wonder if Fern and Rosemary made the trip this time. Around three million of us crowded into and around the Vatican in 2011, and while we haven’t yet heard the final estimates of the crowd size, I’m betting this was larger. I would have loved to have returned for this event, but it wasn’t in the cards. My friends Kathryn Jean Lopez and Charmaine Yoest have kept me and other Twitter followers up to date on their experiences, so this time I’m experiencing it vicariously.
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