Perhaps because I’ve worked at newspapers most of my adult life, I always roll my eyes at the obligatory pope story on Christmas Day. There’s rarely anything else going on, so news that the pope has once again come out solidly in favor of peace, love and understanding often as not ends up on Page One.
It’s like running a story that nights can be chilly at the South Pole. It’s not news. It would be news if he advocated the use of tactical nuclear weapons to clean up certain of the world’s trouble spots, or pointed out that brutal dictators do cut down on street crime, or wondered aloud why the oppressed of Darfur don’t just move to Switzerland. But all this boilerplate about ending poverty, injustice and war … yeah, OK. We’ll get right on that, your Holiness.
If the pope really wanted to make news — and make a difference — he’d set up a Dunk-the-Prelate booth in St. Peter’s Square, three softballs for a dollar. See a bishop take a bath. Proceeds go straight to Darfur.