Media coverage of the Pope is mostly good for a laugh. At times it is so awkward when the reporter has no frame or reference or even basic understandings of what is common to Catholicism.
Latest example is from Time in an article titled “Like a Rock Star, Pope Francis Calls For “Disorder” In Rio”
A giant cross—without a Christ’s body—hung front and center.
Surely the words crucifix or corpus or something else could have been worked into that clumsy sounding sentence.
What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! […] I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!
The English translation of his speech to the young people of Argentina who had travelled to World Youth Day:
Let me tell you what I hope will be the outcome of World Youth Day: I hope there will be noise. Here there will be noise, I’m quite sure. Here in Rio there will be plenty of noise, no doubt about that. But I want you to make yourselves heard in your dioceses, I want the noise to go out, I want the Church to go out onto the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism, everything that might make us closed in on ourselves. The parishes, the schools, the institutions are made for going out … if they don’t, they become an NGO, and the Church cannot be an NGO. May the bishops and priests forgive me if some of you create a bit of confusion afterwards. That’s my advice. Thanks for whatever you can do.
Although looking at Google Translation of the speech as it was delivered in Spanish, the translation into “noise” might tone down the words used.
Regardless the Pope intends that things be shaken up by knowing and living our faith. From the same speech comes a plea to not water down the faith and to realize what that faith means:
Among the Argentine people, I ask the elderly, from my heart: do not cease to be the cultural storehouse of our people, a storehouse that hands on justice, hands on history, hands on values, hands on the memory of the people. And the rest of you, please, do not oppose the elderly: let them speak, listen to them and go forward. But know this, know that at this moment, you young people and you elderly people are condemned to the same destiny: exclusion. Don’t allow yourselves to be excluded. It’s obvious! That’s why I think you must work. Faith in Jesus Christ is not a joke, it is something very serious. It is a scandal that God came to be one of us. It is a scandal that he died on a cross. It is a scandal: the scandal of the Cross. The Cross continues to provoke scandal. But it is the one sure path, the path of the Cross, the path of Jesus, the path of the Incarnation of Jesus. Please do not water down your faith in Jesus Christ. We dilute fruit drinks – orange, apple, or banana juice, but please do not drink a diluted form of faith. Faith is whole and entire, not something that you water down. It is faith in Jesus. It is faith in the Son of God made man, who loved me and who died for me. So then: make yourselves heard; take care of the two ends of the population: the elderly and the young; do not allow yourselves to be excluded and do not allow the elderly to be excluded. Secondly: do not “water down” your faith in Jesus Christ. The Beatitudes: What must we do, Father? Look, read the Beatitudes: that will do you good. If you want to know what you actually have to do, read Matthew Chapter 25, which is the standard by which we will be judged. With these two things you have the action plan: the Beatitudes and Matthew 25. You do not need to read anything else. I ask you this with all my heart. Very well, I thank you for coming so close. I am sorry that you are all penned in, but let me tell you something. I experience that myself now and then. What an awful thing it is to be penned in. I openly admit it, but we’ll see. I understand you. I would have liked to come closer to you, but I understand that for security reasons, it just isn’t possible. Thank you for coming, thank you for praying for me; I ask you from my heart, I need it. I need your prayers, I need them very much. Thank you for that. Well then, I want to give you my blessing, and afterwards, we will bless the image of the Virgin that is to travel all over the Republic. And also the Cross of Saint Francis, which will travel on that same missionary journey. But do not forget: make yourselves heard; take care of the two ends of life, the two ends of the history of peoples: the elderly and the young; and do not water down the faith. And now let us pray, so as to bless the image of the Virgin, and then I will give you the Blessing.
As far as the coverage of World Youth Day goes, it is par for the course. Phil Lawler in his article Invisible people popping up in Rio notes:
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the crowds at World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio are much larger than the mainstream media predictions.
Just last week we were hearing that WYD might be a disappointment. Early registrations were lagging behind expectations. The Brazilian government didn’t want to kick in extra funding. Lots of young Brazilians disagreed with the Pope. Those gloomy predictions didn’t even take into account the spectacularly bad weather that has turned outdoor meeting places into bleak acres of ankle-deep mud.
Doom! Disaster! But wait. When the curtain rose on WYD, there were 500,000 enthusiastic young people standing patiently in the rain. When the Pope made his first appearance last night, 1 million people were cheering and waving banners. If this is gloom, let’s have more of it! How many of the world’s celebrities would be disappointed by a crowd of 1 million?
… Could it be that faithful Catholics are invisible to the secular media? Reporters are familiar with the young people who watch MTV, who love rock concerts, who buy the latest fashions, who go bar-hopping on Friday nights. You’ll see them all in the Style section. But you won’t see the kids who go to Mass, say the Rosary, or slip off to Confession. They won’t be in this week’s newspaper. They’re missing. Maybe they’re in Rio.
Part of the Special world of Pauline Kael syndrome.