It’s Not That Simple
Pope Francis has been nothing if not a media superstar since he ascended to the Chair in March. From embracing disfigured men while driving through the streets of Rome to the story just released that he was once a bouncer, the guy has been winning the hearts of Catholics and non-Catholics like it’s going out of style.
The attention has allowed the simple message of Christ to reach those it may never have under his predecessors’ tenure, but there’s still a problem with the way his other messages are being spread to the masses. In a word, the media is drastically oversimplifying what I think are his most vital messages, and people are being deceived as a result.
The most current example is the fallout from his recent Apostolic Exhortation (fancy language for a less-than-formal address from the pope) Evangelii Gaudium (latin for “Joy of the Gospel). The document, which at 50,000 words is no walk in the park, speaks to a variety of different topics. Though it primarily talks about how Christians should evangelize, one subtopic is how economics can either lift up or suppress the poor.
The Washington Post wrote an article on that particular aspect, which was promptly picked up and oh-so-intelligently disseminated by Rush Limbaugh. Here’s what he said.
Now, I’m going to let it be a given that anyone with half a reasonable mind could deduce that Rush is wrong in his assessment, but it’s not because “the pope is Catholic and Catholics aren’t Marxists”.
No, beside the fact that Rush didn’t bother to realize that the words “unfettered” and “capitalism” didn’t even appear in the pope’s document, he oversimplified a very nuanced and complex issue addressed by Francis.
We don’t need to go into the exact details of the pope’s policies on economy, but suffice it to say that the media fails to account for the context in which Francis speaks on economy, just as his comments on persons with same-sex attraction were misunderstood and taken out of the context of the teachings of the Catholic Church.
It’s a shame that the media just doesn’t take the time to research thoroughly for an article that may only be perused and glossed over by people who would rather get their information from an Instagram photo or Mashable infographic. Honestly, for their part in trying to reach the masses, it’s a smart move from a business standpoint. Shorter content generates more clicks, plain and simple. But, business reasons aside, this practice is doing nothing but further dumbing down a society that’s already hopelessly entrenched in the “News Feed” culture.
Fortunately for us, we still have brains, and we can still think for ourselves. Just like the idea I addressed in this site’s seminal post, we have the ability to delve deeper into the issues brought up by the mainstream media and get the real story for ourselves.
The New Year is coming up, so maybe for a New Year’s Resolution we can all do a couple extra Google searches a day to find out the deeper story, or even the origins, of what the media fails to include.
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