Friends and neighbors, there isn't a whole lot new going on with the pope story. But there sure is a whole lot of the same old same old going on. How in the world can a sane person follow it all? That, apparently, is why God made insane cyberpeople.
So if you do not have enough reading material about Pope Benedict XVI, faith, reason, jihad, British journalism and The New York Times to last you through Easter or thereabouts, here are the links that you need.
• As you would expect, the Christianity Today folks have updated their previous weblogs covering media reports on the controversy. How thorough was the updating? Make yourself comfortable and click here. The headline says it all: "Super-Mega Weblog: Thousands of Articles, One Story."
• For those who want to see the story through the bizarre lens of the conservative Anglican web elves up in Canada, you need to know that they have rolled out "Hate That Pope! 3.0" and "Hate That Pope! 4.0."
Also, Binky notes that the pope's email address, should you want to write him a note about all of this, is benedictxvi (at) vatican.va -- so there.
• Someone needed to read the second epistle to Rome from the New York Times clergy -- that would be the editorial page folks -- and Rod "Friend of this blog" Dreher threw himself on that editorial grenade. As usual, Rod is rather blunt. How blunt is he? Here is one clip from the Times, followed by Rod's boldface interjection:
The pope and the Vatican can also do more. For the past two years, Benedict has been a no-show at interfaith gatherings in Assisi, begun 20 years ago by his predecessor, John Paul II. Last year, he issued an edict revoking the autonomy of Assisi's Franciscan monks, a move that was seen as a reaction against the monks' interfaith activism. On the occasion of this year's gathering, he issued a statement about religion and peace that was read by an envoy, but his absence spoke louder than his words.
I know the Times's idea of religious dialogue is a priest, a rabbi, an imam and a Buddhist monk singing "Kum-Ba-Yah" in four-part harmony, but grown-ups should ask themselves why Benedict chose to stay away from the event. Benedict was sick and tired of the local Franciscans letting it turn into a polytheistic carnival. When African voodoo priests sacrifice chickens to their pagan gods near the tomb of St. Clare, it was time to put a stop to this nonsense. Benedict is not against dialogue with other religions, but he demands that reasonable limits be set. If a Pope has to accept chicken-slaughter by voodoo priests at a Christian holy site to appease the gods of East 43rd Street, then to hell with the gods of East 43rd Street.
Come to think of it, Benedict XVI doesn't seem like a praying-with-pagans kind of guy, as I am sure our pagan readers would agree. The Times must be thinking of Oprah.