During my time at GetReligion, a site that daily analyzes how well the mainstream media handles religion news, we never lacked for content. There was the time a New York Times‘ reporter referred to the crozier, the ornate silver shepherd’s crook, carried by Pope John Paul II as a “crow’s ear.” Which of course brings to mind First Things editor Richard John Neuhaus’ stories of being interviewed:
An eager young thing with a national paper was interviewing me about yet another instance of political corruption.
"Is this something new?" she asked.
"No," I said, "it's been around ever since that unfortunate afternoon in the garden."
There was a long pause and then she asked, "What garden was that?" It was touching. What prompts me to mention this today is that I'm just off the phone with a reporter from the same national paper.
He's doing a story on Pope Benedict's new encyclical. In the course of discussing the pontificate,
I referred to the pope as the bishop of Rome.
"That raises an interesting point," he said. "Is it unusual that this pope is also the bishop of Rome?"
He obviously thought he was on to a new angle.
It would be funny if it weren't so sad.