The mammoth media coverage of the death and election of the pope now ends. I am sure that much of the media is relieved that the stress and hugeness of their task now returns to usual things like war, terrorism, poverty, if only because it is territory more familiar to them. Yet I am also imagining that if a select small group of Catholics had engaged in a conspiracy to use the media to display the church worldwise, they could not have come up with anything as huge or as effective than the past few weeks. As Benedict himself said on Saturday, the church needs to be very grateful for the media coverage. Almost all of it has been skillful and very careful to be as accurate as possible.
Now, Maureen Dowd has often made me chuckle over her very clever fantasies and connections. On Saturday morning, however, something really went deeply wrong with her. Linking the new pope with Dick Cheney showed a real deficit in her knowledge and perception. Put Cheney and the new pope (or JPII) in a private room and they would fundamentally diasgree on almost everything. Iraqi wars, the UN, 3rd world debt, world poverty are only the beginning of the enormous list of their disagreements. I have never identified Cheney with Life issues, but that might be the only overlap, except for the big one of the death penalty. The attempt to create some alliance or conspiracy here was one of Maureen's poorest and strangest efforts. And I reluctantly have to say: not even funny. Maureen - what's going on?