PopeWatch: Shocker




Little shocks PopeWatch but this did:  a sensible story in Time Magazine about media coverage of Pope Francis:


It is official: the media has gone bananas in its coverage of Pope Francis.
The OMG-Pope-Francis-Supports-Evolution story of the past two days is just the latest example. Almost every news outlet, major and minor, has plastered Pope Francis’ name across the interwebs and proclaimed he has finally planted the Catholic Church in the evolution camp of the creation-evolution debate. The only problem? Almost every outlet has got the story wrong, proving once again that the mainstream media has nearly no understanding of the Church. And that madness shows no signs of stopping.

Pope Francis’ real role in this evolution hubbub was small. He spoke, as Popes do, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday, which had gathered to discuss “Evolving Topics of Nature,” and he affirmedwhat Catholic teaching has been for decades. “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” he said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

Anyone who knows anything about Catholic history knows that a statement like this is nothing new. Pope Pius XII wrote an encyclical “Humani Generis” in 1950 affirming that there was no conflict between evolution and Catholic faith. Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that, stressing that evolution was more than a hypothesis, in 1996. Pope Benedict XVI hosted a conference on the nuances of creation and evolution in 2006. There’s an official book on the event for anyone who wants to know more. Pope Francis’ comments Monday even came as he was unveiling a new statue of Pope Benedict XVI, honoring him for his leadership.

None of that seems to matter to the media; the internet exploded all the same. Site after site after site ramped up the Pope’s words and took them out of context. Headlines like these added drama: NPR: “Pope Says God Not ‘A Magician, With A Magic Wand.’” Salon: “Pope Francis schools creationists.” U.S. News and World Report: “Pope Francis Backs the Big Bang Theory, Evolution” (with a subhed: “Also, the pontiff says he’s not a communist”). Huffington Post. Sydney Morning Herald. Telegraph. USA Today. New York Post. The list goes on and on. Only Slate did its homework.

Go here to read the rest.  Kudos to Elizabeth Dias for being one of the few ink-stained wretches in what is laughingly referred to as the mainstream media who actually seems to have bothered to research the history of the Church on a topic.

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  1. “UPDATE: A few eyebrows have been raised over the translation and the remark that “God is not a divine being.” A reader writes:

    “The original Italian re: ““God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,”” is “E così la creazione è andata avanti per secoli e secoli, millenni e millenni finché è diventata quella che conosciamo oggi, proprio perché Dio non è un demiurgo o un mago, ma il Creatore che dà l’essere a tutti gli enti.”

    What is translated “divine being” is “demiurge,” a Platonic notion explaining the existence of the world. The pope is distinguishing orthodox (small “o”) Christian understandings from Platonic and Gnostic notions.”


  2. “…proprio perché Dio non è un demiurgo o un mago, ma il Creatore che dà l’essere a tutti gli enti.” Yes, one can see that it appears that PF was mistranslated—really he was—here.
    But most of us who have been trained in logic and rhetoric were taught to define our belief or position in terms of what that belief or position positively IS, not negatively by saying what it is NOT. This is a common method of PF. Saying “God is not a magician” tells us really nothing about what God really is—if that is the point, and that should be the task of the Supreme Teacher of the Faith. Again, PF’s weak skills in this area, an area that should be his strength— over and over, the miscommunication, the confused speech, the lack of attention to alternative interpretations of his words—it also shows to me that he is unable to engage theological minds like those of the Kaspers, the Reinhold Marxs, and the Danneels etc on an equal footing. I wonder how he even got a licentiate in philosophy at all (a fairly basic degree as it is) in the 1960’s at San Miguel in Buenos Aires). Sorry, I just dont find this man to be a “great mind”.

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