Just a few pickings from the cliche-ridden mainstream-media papal coverage -- oftentimes with such barely-concealed hostility towards the Pope one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry:
- Tossing the usual standards of faith, belief, adherence to doctrine and obedience to religous authority out the window, The Washington Post sets a new standard for assessing one's Catholicity:
He'll be applauded by people such as Ray Flynn, former Boston mayor and U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, who loves the idea of papal hierarchy because it means "people aren't out there freelancing, talking about their opinion of what the faith teaches. It makes us more unified." ...
But Benedict won't see people such as John Cecotti, 68, a Bethesda management consultant who goes to Mass weekly. He said he respects the pope the way he does the Dalai Lama and thinks that the Vatican is "a good old boys' club that needs a wake-up call" and that the church needs female and married priests.
Or Carrie Drummond, 34, an animal adoption specialist from Alexandria who rarely goes to church and "isn't a big fan of the pope or church doctrine" but believes she understands and lives the essence of Catholicism: take care of other people. "This pope's idea that the Catholic faith is the one, or that other world religions don't have credibility? Come on. We don't need to be limiting dialogue; we should be expanding it," she said.
- Georgie Ann Geyer begins her column on somewhat of a dour note:
When Benedict XVI became pope three years ago, most expected a tough, if not dismally unpopular, papacy. He was called sardonically the "German Shepherd" or "God's Rottweiler."("Snarling? Really now. Via Argent by the Timber).
History seemed not to have blessed this Catholic priest, who had the misfortune of ascending the Throne of St. Peter after the immensely popular John Paul II. Next to his predecessor, the image of Benedict was often that of a snarling defender at the gate of Vatican ultraconservativism, standing side by side with the Swiss Guards, moral bayonets at the ready, defending the past. . . .
- Reuters lays on the prejudice thick and strong in its opening paragraph on the meeting between the Pope and U.S. Catholic educators:
Pope Benedict likely will walk a fine line between trampling on academic freedom and laying down the law on orthodoxy when he meets with top U.S. Catholic educators next month, experts and observers say. ...
- The Boston Globe can barely conceal their disappointment that Francesco Cesareo, president of Assumption College, doesn't share in its resentment of the Church's moral teaching:
Q. In his book "The Faithful," Boston College's James O'Toole predicts that American Catholics will "continue their ambivalent relationship to the papacy," loyal to it, yet often disregarding its teachings.
A. That's where the value of a visit of the pope comes into play. It allows at least for the faithful to think about their commitment, how they want to live out their faith, to think about the church in more an international scope than national or individualistic. I wouldn't necessarily agree that American Catholics overall are ambivalent. We have a vibrant church that strives to be faithful.
Q. You would not disagree that American Catholics are going to still practice artificial contraception and divorce and disagree with the pope on various matters in large numbers?
A. No, I wouldn't say that.