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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Viva La Devolution

We just have to be very careful about caricaturing the Holy Father and very simply putting labels upon this man of the church," said Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles. "I've already seen some headlines in our country doing that, and I think that's a mistake."

Some critical headlines appeared in European newspapers on Wednesday, including "A Warrior To Challenge Modernity" in La Repubblica in Italy, "Intransigence" in an editorial headline in France's left-wing Libération, and "From Hitler Youth to Holy See" on the front page of the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad.

The problem of Benedict's public image - and the contrast with that of his warmer predecessor - was summed up in a front page cartoon in Corriere della Serra, Italy's most respected newspaper. It alluded to John Paul II's now-famous introduction as pope from the basilica balcony in August 1978: "I do not know whether I can express myself in your - in our - Italian language. If I make mistakes," he added, beaming and endearing himself to Italians, "you will correct me."

The cartoon showed Benedict at the same balcony looking out at the crowds and saying, "And if I make a mistake, woe to you if you correct me!"

Laurie Goodstein and Ian Fisher, Benedict XVI Promises Dialogue and Reconciliation, The New York Times, April 21, 2005


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