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Monday, April 04, 2005

New World Man (reprise)

With the pope lying in state and the worldwide mourning and media coverage that comes with that, I've been sifting through the news reports from the past few days.

I can't help but wonder what the Archbishop's Curia in Malta makes of this report from Reuters...and the truths expressed in it:

Vatican Used SMS, Email to Announce Pope's Death

Sun Apr 3,11:40 AM ET

By Phil Stewart

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - It took just minutes for the Vatican to alert the world's media of Pope John Paul's death -- using text messages and email so the 2,000-year-old Church could meet the new demands of real-time news.

Just a quarter of an hour after the Pope was pronounced dead Saturday at 9:37 p.m., the Vatican sent journalists an SMS message alerting them to a pending statement.

Television networks across the globe were already on standby a minute later when the email communique was beamed to a sea of state-of-the-art handheld computers, purchased by journalists at the suggestion of the Vatican.

"The Holy father died this evening at 21:37 in his private apartment," it said, in a simple Word document.

TV spectators across the globe learned of the Pope's death even before the thousands of faithful gathered in prayer below the Pope's window in St. Peter's Square.

Archbishop Leonardo Sandri only informed them minutes later and their reaction -- a long round of applause, an Italian custom -- was captured on television in real time.

During John Paul's life and after his death, the Vatican was at pains to accommodate the mass media, which closely followed the 84-year-old Pope's decline and spells in hospital.

Medical bulletins this year gave brief snapshots of the Pontiff's condition, growing increasingly pessimistic as they prepared the world for the worst.

It was a marked break from the secrecy surrounding previous pontificates, even as recently as the 1960s. The Vatican, for example, kept Pope John XXIII's inoperable stomach cancer secret until just a few days before he died in June 1963.

The Pope himself wrote in a February letter that the Church should not be shy of using the media, including the Internet, to spread its message, saying the "mass media can and must promote justice and solidarity."

I must re-read Timothy Leary's Design for Dying.

Blogger adrian said...

If John Paul II was in favour of mass-media, that surely doesn't mean abusing of other people's privacy? However, from the above words, it seems that a Pope hasn't got the right to reservation, which forms part of everyone's own personal human dignity. I felt it very humiliating reading La Repubblica italian newspaper, which lately reported that, while the Pope was recovering at the Gemelli hospital, he had for breakfast a cup of coffee and 8 small biscuits! If promoting massmedia means all that, then we are still far away from a correct interpretation of Wojtyla's documents... 

10:22 PM, April 04, 2005
Blogger wwwitchie said...

I clicked on the link to Design for Dying, read the blurb, and bought it with 1-Click. How's that for good advertising? Now I'm also dying to read it. 

10:46 AM, April 05, 2005
Blogger Toni Sant said...

I'd love to hear what you make of Leary's book. I hope you're planning to blog about it. I plan to start re-reading it before/during/after the pope's funeral on Friday. 

7:07 PM, April 05, 2005

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