So France is re-thinking its staunch secularism. Okay, that's all good and stuff, but something strikes me as a little odd about this article, and others of its sort. In short, why, when the pope is involved in something, do reporters almost invariably quote ambiguous, seemingly out-of-context, and two-dimensional remarks from the Catholic Church's top-dog?
For example, France has had a long train of secular leaders and made a tradition out of keeping church and politics separate. The pope comes along and says that the church won't claim the state's place -- damn! there go the aspirations to resurrect the Carolingian and Avignon jurisdictions -- which is a significant admission, overall. However, reporting on the historic event of the pope's soirée in France, Ms. Gold was only able to cut-and-paste the following wisps of the pope's speech during an open-air mass for her conclusion:
"The Pope urged the pilgrims not to lose hope in the face of challenges.
'The power of love is stronger than the evil which threatens us,' he said, later adding, 'Do not allow yourselves to be discouraged by difficulties.'”
Umm... what difficulties are those, Ms. Gold? Would you mind furnishing us with some of the rest of the pope's speech? 'Cause right now, I'm a-thinkin' that il papa is pulling rabbits out of his pointy hat. Is it just that making the transition from a secular to a secular-sacred state would ruffle some feathers? And is that really what M. Sarkozy's meeting with the pope was really about? You know, converting France's political structure to accept the immanence of religious perspectives in the design, implementation, and administration of legislations? Or was it just that Sarkozy, being a lapsed Catholic himself, felt the need to be a little more cordial than previous presidents?
In any case, Benedict XVI was kind enough to give us all a throw back to the 80's with his Huey Lewis quote, "the power of love". The Cardinal-cum-Papa has a little hipster in him afterall, hey? Good on him!