Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Does Reuters have bugging equipment or...

... are they just making assumptions here:

No Pope Chosen After Three Conclave Votes
Tue Apr 19, 2005 08:38 AM ET

By Philip Pullella and Crispian Balmer

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A secret conclave of Roman Catholic cardinals failed to choose a new pope in two more votes on Tuesday, indicating rival wings of the Church were still maneuvering for position.

This doesn't necessarily mean it's an epic struggle between rival factions. It could be two or three strong candidates from a more conservative wing of the Church who are in the running against each other. In other words, it could be more like a presidential primary than a general election: each candidate is very similar in theology and practice, but each brings a certain level of personal support on the expectation of patronage and/or the issue is more of persona and charisma and not policy direction or doctrinal standing.

The rival factions storyline is both a) convenient for the media looking for an interesting story and b) useful to the media to be able to bring out more liberal critics of the Church into prominence, their causes being trumpeted not on the strength of their merits per se but on the strength of the media-constructed storyline of a titanic struggle between conservatism and liberalism in the Church.

Maybe that's all well and good and makes for entertaining reading, but let's not kid ourselves: when conservatives in more liberal churches struggle to reassert doctrinal orthodoxy, their case is not given the weight and consideration that it should. The media need to put that in their pipes and smoke it the next time conservatives in the Presbyterian Church USA or the Episcopal Church wage ecclesiastic warfare upon more liberal strains of theology which have sickened the body of Christ.