The Pope Francis guy is still traveling around down there in South America and, gosh dang it, he keeps preaching sermons. Isn't that unkind of him?
These sermons, of course, mix commentary about Catholic teachings and life in the public square -- as if the pope was arguing that faith and life are on the same level, as opposed to real life being on the ground floor in the created order, with religious truth claims either (a) locked in a private closet or (b) mysterious things that are stored, with God, in an attic above our heads (perhaps one without a pull-down ladder, even).
Once again, I am not arguing that journalists have to believe what the pope believes. I am not arguing that they need to produce sermon summaries or evangelistic pamphlets. I am saying that, in order to accurately cover him, journalists need to understand that this man is not delivering political stump speeches as he stands at pulpits next to altars at which he will celebrate the Mass.
Pope Francis is preaching. The faith elements are part of the content, not words that create an irrelevant frame for the real news, which by definition has to be about politics.
This conflicts, as I said the other day, with the "mainstream journalism Grand Unified Theory" stating that "no matter what the pope cites as his reasons for visiting a land or region, he is actually there for political reasons. He is there in an attempt to impact the lives of real people through political ideas or actions (as opposed to through sacraments, biblical truth, etc.)."
Now, to its credit, the New York Times team attempted, the other day, to cover a sermon while leaving some of the religious language intact. There is even a biblical reference in there! Here's the lede: