Thursday, April 10, 2008

Missing the Big Picture?

Time misses big Benedict picture -- Mark Strichers (Get Religion) didn't appreciate Time's cover story: "Why the Pope loves America":

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.

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.”

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.

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?