Revered during his 26-year papacy, Pope John Paul’s legacy is about to be shaped by an unprecedented saturation of media coverage over the next two weeks. Expect accolades from the global news media to surpass the hyperbole that accompanied Ronald Reagan’s death.
I personally am saddened by his death, as I believe he was a Pope whose millon+ miles of travel bridged the world’s many disparate cultures and religions.
Do not, however, expect much reporting on the fact that this Pope, in spite of his many important accomplishments, was one of the most rigid to have occupied the Vatican in modern times. His intolerance toward homosexuality, women in the priesthood, contraception, abortion, dying with dignity, etc. has alienated many Catholics worldwide and, for some, has frozen the church in time. God forbid some journalist should reference the biggest crisis in the Catholic Church under his watch — pedophilia in the priesthood.
The news coverage of his passing will invariably gloss over these more controversial aspects of the Pope’s reign in favor of his deification, i.e., sainthood
Why is this? Do journalists suddenly get religion when overwhelmed by a figure of papal proportions? Would it be considered heresy to recount the whole story? Will the Vatican press office freeze out any dissenting voices? Let’s see how the story unfolds over the next several days in this first take on history.