Pope frustrates editors


CNS: "Not many sound bites: New pope's discourses defy simplistic headlines"

As one veteran wire service reporter recently lamented in the Vatican press office, the new pope is hard to write about because short citations don't do justice to his complex arguments. You can't just cherry-pick quotes.

That was especially true when the pope spoke about the family to a packed Basilica of St. John Lateran. His 3,000-word speech was a seminar, not a tirade.

It began with an explanation of the "anthropological foundation" of the family and moved on to outline three sets of connections that give the family meaning: the relationship between God and man, between the body and the spirit, and between personal freedom and the concept of fidelity.

When these relationships are forgotten, he said, the result is a false idea of freedom -- an "anarchic freedom" -- that gives rise to various forms of marriage dissolution, such as cohabitation, 'trial' marriage and gay marriage.

He said the idea that freedom is simply the right to "do what one wants with oneself" ends up trivializing the human being and making the human body a secondary instrument of pleasure.

The pope also underlined the idea that the promises made in marriage have always had a public aspect, making it a core social institution. The generation of children in marriage flows from the natural desire not just to produce babies but also to give them the love provided by a family, he said.

If I were a headline writer, I'd call this one: "Theologian Pope too smart for journalists."

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on June 17, 2005 7:14 AM.

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