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Agendas and agendas. And JPII

April 22, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
I normally don’t get much into the whole ‘“the media has an agenda” thing, given that I’m in the media and I swear my “agenda” is pinned to my sleeve right next to my heart when it comes to this blog, a place where I try to point out the fallacies and lunacy of being too far out on the poles on most issues.

But this week, a few days before the weekend elevation of Blessed Pope John Paul II to full sainthood, the lack of secular media news coverage is a little surprising. And, the actual “JPII wasn’t all that great and even Poland is forgetting him” stories I’ve seen are downright awful.

The final straw for me was the AP story that said the latter this morning. It focused on how Poles of the new generation are more focused on the 13 percent unemployment rate, and like the rest of Europe, aren’t living lives centered on the church. It then poked at the Vatican delaying the canonization from December to April because pilgrims from Poland would have had a hard time coming in on winter-slicked roads.

The headline (apparently the suggested headline because it’s all over the Net): “No John Paul II Fever in Poland as Canonization Approaches” smacked of editorialism once one read the story.

About 14 paragraphs in, three paragraphs from the end, are these words: “Against the generally subdued mood, many Poles are still rejoicing in John Paul’s elevation. Some are marking the occasion by walking, running or biking to the Rome observances, which will be attended by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and his predecessors, Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski.

“In Wadowice, Jacek Waga, who was arranging flower pots in honour of the canonization, said the pope — while Cardinal Karol Wojtyla — led his Catholic confirmation ceremony.

“‘It is an extraordinary thing for me that in my lifetime I met a man who will be declared a saint,’ he said.”

Don't know about you, but I always consider it remarkable that when I was 10 or 12 or so, I served Mass for a young parish priest who decades later was named a bishop. That feels like a lifelong honor. Can't imagine if they named him pontiff how that honor would be elevated. Seems like a news story there.

So, which is the lead? Which is the news?

Because using the old “man bites dog” as the judgment for what is news, it would seem that if the world of Poland has moved on from JPII as the story claims, then the news is that against that backdrop are people who are filled with fervor from their contact with this man, this priest, this Pope.

And maybe, explaining that fervor, that respect against the backdrop of ho-hum secular society would make a good story and might explain why, to those who don’t get it, who don’t recall the times of John Paul II or who maybe never knew much about him in this new generation, he is being named a saint less than a decade after his death.

But that might take someone with an “agenda” to write, eh?


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