Here are just a couple of paragraphs from The New York Times' story on the second day of the pope's visit. To me it is completely unbelievable that after all we've seen and heard, the Times still insists on trying to fit the pope into the rigid template they've created for him.
Vatican officials have portrayed this trip as an opportunity to show Americans a fuller picture of the pope, beyond his reputation for doctrinal orthodoxy.
Still, he found fertile ground for his conservative brand of faith in President Bush, who has made his own Christian faith a central tenet of his life as an American politician. Christian conservatives — and, increasingly, Catholics — are a key component of the president’s political base, and the White House has made aggressive efforts to reach out to them.
"Conservative brand of faith"? Are we still playing that game? Half of the byline on this story goes to Ian Fisher, who, as the Times' own blog site explains, is the chief correspondent for the Times in Rome and covered both the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. And he has "traveled with the pope on all of his foreign trips."
He has traveled with the pope on all of his foreign trips and he stills falls back on something like "conservative brand of faith" and the implication that somehow the pope is cozying up to the president in politically motivated fashion? Did Fisher miss the part of the pope's brand of faith that opposes things like the death penalty and the war in Iraq?
You would think at this point even the Times would have to concede that the pope can't be pigeon-holed into the American brand of politics that divides the world into liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. Pope Benedict does not fit that mold. It's time to wake up to that reality once and for all.
-- Mary DeTurris Poust