Bono isn’t touring the United States next week; Pope Benedict XVI is. Reporters David Van Biema and Jeff Israely elevated a minor element of Benedict’s pontificate to the status of a major one.Well, I don't know about that. I'd say the authors (David Van Biema and Jeff Israely) managed to do their homework and did a decent job of covering an aspect of Benedict's thought that has, by and large, gone underreported: what does Benedict appreciate about America? As opposed to the dime-a-dozen articles playing the MSM Word Association Game, theirs was a rather refreshing read.
Yes, the story acknowledges that Benedict is concerned about moral relativism and secularization in American life. But the reporters treat this as a side issue. Their emphasis is misplaced, and not just because one of Benedict’s key messages is that a “dictatorship of relativism” threatens Western civilization.
As my friend Dan Kearns points out, a second theme of Benedict is that Christianity offers “consolation, hope, and joy in a seemingly dark universe.” His first encylicals are titled “God is Love” (Deus Caritas) and “Hope” (Spe Salvi). The theme of his visit is “Christ Our Hope.”
As Jay Anderson points out, Tom McFeely has written an article for the April 13-19 issue of National Catholic Register titled "The Pope of America" [available by subscription only], which makes the same point. Perhaps McFeely missed the big picture as well?