Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Our underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, may have just blown a gasket. Deeply involved in communications media, he saw the book jacket above and wired me the following complaint:
Really, even were this guy Pius XII or Cardinal Merry del Val, or Pope von Hilderbrand for that matter, conservative Me would have the same observation here. The Pope's actual sanctity is beside the point.

Does the Catholic Press and the Catholic Columnist Corps not realize how saccharinely sacred and plain over-the-top all the slavish papal veneration has become?

A jacket like this is beyond comical in its attempt to capture self-effacement. Might as well saint all future popes before they even do anything. A far cry from Kenneth Woodward's observation in his Making Saints that it is actually harder for popes than others to make it to sainthood -- though at the rate we are going....!

Reminds me of all the black and white portraitures in the NYT showing people in their grief, when they most certainly have to be posed and staging their intense and private pain.

I guess in the Age of Selfies, image carries. That's all I can say.
N.B. - Advisory: Rules 7-9

[Hat tip to JM]


Carl E. Olson


This is a rather bizarre criticism. Is it really so strange that a book written by Card. Bergoglio/Pope Francis on humility would feature a picture of the author and the title of the texts within the book? From the book description: " In these texts, the current Holy Father reflects on the connection between sin and corruption in the life of every Christian and how pride and self-sufficiency lead from one to the other. The roots of many of the themes of his pontificate can be found in these texts on humility, honesty and simplicity." Surely there are more egregious acts of overt evil and sinfulness that can be tackled here? Good grief.

Pertinacious Papist


Hi Carl,

Thanks for your comment. I didn't personally take the author's remarks as a criticism of His Holiness, Pope Francis.

If you read what he says, he indicates that's a moot point (it could have been Pius X, etc.). Rather, I see it as a comment on Catholic media and how they attempt to "market" the Faith. The author is a professor of Communications, and attuned to the disparity that often exists between "spin" and "substance." But not even that strikes me as being the issue here. Rather, it seems to be the egregious exploitation of the images of a pope -- now popularized by the secular mainstream media by images of him washing prisoners' feet, etc. -- for purposes of selling books for profit.

Just my two cents.

Peace, -- PP