John Allen Jr: The Best Hire the Boston Globe Ever Made

It’s not often that the Boston Globe’s news coverage is worthy of praise, but their acquisition of John Allen Jr. to cover the Vatican is producing some of the most informative and professional coverage the Globe has even seen

Can it really just be diplomatic happenstance that the date set this week for the prayer summit bringing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres together with Pope Francis at the Vatican is a day of particular moment on the Christian calendar?

The June 8 gathering, to which Francis invited the two leaders during his recent trip to the Middle East, will coincide with the Christian feast of Pentecost, when the Bible reports that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples after Jesus had ascended to Heaven, transforming them from a timid bunch cowering in an upper room into the most fearless missionaries the world has ever seen.

Perhaps in private, Francis is hoping for a similar miracle this time around.

Those paragraphs show a real understanding of not only the Catholic faith but of this pope. An understanding the secular media doesn’t have.

Moreover this piece notes that while in a secular that dismisses prayer (but somehow embraced a generic “spiritually”) as a meaningless thing. No matter what the faith The function of prayer is meaningful to the believers:

Jews and Muslims have their own sensitivities about praying with followers of other religions, while for Catholics, Pope John Paul II’s 1986 prayer summit in Assisi, Italy, the birthplace of St. Francis, opened a debate about the limits of interfaith prayer that has never really ended.

It will be fascinating to see what kind of ritual organizers invent, and whether it includes joint prayer or rather separate prayers in the same space.

That’s an insight that Globe readers should be grateful for, moreover he put the entire event into proper perspective:

At the level of realpolitik, it’s not yet clear if the pope’s brand of politics can move the ball, but perhaps that’s not the right test for a distinctly religious actor.

“I realize political credibility is important in this world,” said American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, “but it’s more important to be faithful to God. … He’s counting on the Lord, and you can’t tell the pope that’s not the right thing to do.”

McCarrick, a veteran diplomatic troubleshooter, spoke to the Globe in Jerusalem during the papal visit.

The pope, he said, “is not putting himself out on a limb, he’s putting himself up on the Cross, and that’s what he’s called to do.”

In any event, he’s certainly doing it in his own unique way.

This is only a small sample of a large piece that covers a lot more ground than the upcoming event of the 8th. (The Anchoress notes a rather significant part that deserves more of my attention at a later date) but for now let me recommend that you avail yourself of Mr. Allen’s insight and perhaps drop the Globe a line commending them on their move.

Perhaps you can show more appreciation than their commentators do.