The headline on the web version of the Irish Times today is "First Pope from the Americas, Francis Raises Hopes of Change Among Faithful".
Really? Did the reporter, Paddy Agnew, go around all the cheering people gathered in St. Peter's Square and asked them what they hoped for the Pope Francis's reign, and did each one of them reply "Change!" in eager tones?
Or should the full version of the headline read "First Pope from the Americas, Francis Raises Hopes of Change Among Faithful (Vatican Correspondents who are Sick of the Church's Tiresome Fidelity to Its Message)"?
The Western lifestyle-liberal shopping list is soon whipped out:
In St Peter’s Square, there were literally people jumping for joy. Those who would like to think that he is going to change the Church’s position on a whole range of issues including Catholic teaching on homosexuality, on contraception and clerical celibacy may however be disappointed.
I wonder how many of the people jumping for joy in St. Peter's Square hoped for that?
Later, Mr. Agnew adds:
The fact that on Saturday he intends to hold an unprecedented meeting with the media in the Paul VIth Hall sends a very different message, one of openness from an organization which, frankly, has often treated the secular media with total distrust.
Goodness. I wonder why.
It should be said, however, that the print version of the Irish Times (which I saw on the way into work) has a much more positive headline, something like: "Joyful Welcome for Humble Pope". In fact, I have to admit that I was pleased by RTE's radio coverage of the announcement yesterday evening. The Western liberal goggles were taken off for a precious hour or so, and I don't remember child abuse even being mentioned.
Let us hope and pray that the media pundits get more change than they bargained for!