Friday, June 21, 2013

News coverage of the Vatican: the blind leading the blind

Note: From the same USA Today article, another class A example of bad analysis: "Christianity is more than anything a style, and Francis has brought his own style as a pastor and a leader by example to this job," said Alberto Melloni, a professor of Christian history at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. "This is not superficial; it is essential."
Really?? Christianity is "more than anything a STYLE"?!
- Clare.

By Phil Lawler June 18, 2013 11:13 AM
Catholic Culture

(Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI, AFP/Getty Images)

This gem comes to us from USA Today, in an article that—jumping the gun a bit—reflects on the first 100 days of the new pontificate:
"Tackling the Roman Curia — the Vatican's main administrative bureaucracy — will probably wait until October, when Francis is likely to appoint a Vatican secretary of state and the eight members of the College of Bishops."
Now what, do you suppose, is the “College of Bishops?” There are thousands of bishops in the universal Church, with new bishops appointed every week. But there is no body known as the College of Bishops. Does the writer mean the Synod of Bishops? The Pope could conceivably appoint 8 prelates to that body, but there has been no discussion of that possibility in Rome, and it is difficult to see how such a handful of appointments would have any impact on the Roman Curia. Does he mean the College of Cardinals? There are 204 members of that body, and no new appointments are currently anticipated. Or is he referring to the group of 8 cardinals who will provide the Pontiff with advice on Vatican reforms? They were appointed in April; didn't anyone notify USA Today?
Here’s a hot tip for news editors: If you want to inform readers about what’s happening at the Vatican, you should start by finding a reporter who knows, or can find out, what’s happening at the Vatican.

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