The “pope of the Internet age” on the papal flight

April 16, 2008

Pope Benedict during his Q&A on his flight to Washington, 15 April 2008/Max RossiJust heard an interesting idea from Delia Gallagher, a Vatican analyst for CNN, who said that Pope John Paul was the pope of the television age but Pope Benedict is the pope of the Internet age. John Paul was good for the dramatic gesture and sound bite, which was just right for television, while Benedict speaks in lectures you should really read from start to finish. Thanks to the Internet, you can do this and more — something that was just not possible when John Paul was globe-trotting around.

Parsing the politics in comments on Benedict’s visit

April 15, 2008

Pope Benedict leaves Rome for the United States, 15 April 2008/Dario PignatelliEven before Pope Benedict arrives in Washington, there is plenty of speculation about the effect of his visit on U.S. politics. A lot of this is just filling airtime and column space in the media because we don’t even know yet exactly what he will say. Anyway, for those who like to parse every statement for its political implications, below are a few issued on Tuesday before the pope arrived.

Anything behind the Benedict/ White House dinner story?

April 15, 2008

President Bush at a White House dinner for U.S. governors, 25 Feb 2008/Jonathan ErnstJust before leaving for Washington to cover Pope Benedict’s U.S. visit, I got an interesting comment from a FaithWorld reader on another post about the trip:

Deciphering the speeches Benedict delivers in U.S.

April 11, 2008

Pope Benedict prepares to read a speech, 9 April 2008/Max RossiWhen he speaks in public, Pope Benedict is more seminar than soundbite. He often speaks as if only philosophers and theologians are listening, but he can deliver quite simple and clear homilies. Having covered him since his election in 2005, I’m very curious to see how he comes across in such a soundbite culture as the United States. We’ve just issued what might be called a short guide to deciphering the different ways he communicates.

Is blogging dangerous to your health?

April 6, 2008

TypingA while ago, we blogged on how religion reporting can be dangerous to your faith — two top-notch religion reporters lost theirs after covering too many church scandals. Now the New York Times tells us that two bloggers have lost their lives trying to keep up a 24/7 pace. Yikes! And I thought news agency journalism was stressful…

Move over U.S. Religious Right, here’s the evangelical center

April 2, 2008

Gushee book/Christa CameronMove over Religious Right: you’re getting squeezed by the evangelical center.

New book charts fresh course for U.S. Religious Right

March 26, 2008

Tony PerkinsTony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is well known as one of the leading activists of the Religious Right in the United States. Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr, founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, is one of the most influential voices of the black conservative movement.

How many Catholics will hear disputed Good Friday prayer?

March 21, 2008

A Good Friday procession at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, 21 March 2008/Yannis BehrakisGiven the discussion about the new Latin prayer to be read at Catholic Good Friday services in the Tridentine rite today, I’ve tried to find estimates for how many people will actually hear it. Jewish groups have expressed dismay that the new version of the prayer, which drops references to the “blindness” of the Jews but still calls for their conversion. The leader of Germany’s Jewish community said she could not fathom how the German-born Pope Benedict could “impose such phrases on his church.” The Vatican rejects this criticism and sources there say it could soon issue a conciliatory note. So there’s a lot of talk about this issue, but how much is actually happening on the ground?

Rare clerical revolt hits U.S. Catholic diocese

March 19, 2008

Priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois are staging a rare rebellion — demanding that their bishop, Edward Braxton, resign because of a lack of “collaborative and consultative leadership” since his installation in June, 2005.

Muslim student group adapts to life in the U.S.

February 21, 2008

MSA U.S. & Canada logoThe New York Times has an interesting article about how the Muslim Students Association (MSA) there is adapting to life in the United States. Founded in the 1960s by foreign students who wanted to pray together, the chapters “were basically little slices of Saudi Arabia. Women were banned. Only Muslim men who prayed, fasted and avoided alcohol and dating were welcomed. Meetings, even idle conversations, were in Arabic.” The MSA was largely financed by Saudi Arabia and Wahhabi views presumably came along with the cheques.