Just the other day, Father James Martin started a Jesuit Twitter fest with #PapalGoofs, a hashtag dedicated to helping journalists who -- forced into religion-beat duty with the arrival of Hurricane (Pope) Francis -- could use a online Catholicism 101 course.
While the padre, who is best known outside of bookstores as the official chaplain to the old "Colbert Report," has yet to jump back into the Twitter fray, others have picked up #PapalGoofs and are using it as a hook for social-media discussions of fumbles and outright errors in coverage of events and trends linked to the arrival of Pope Francis.
For example, consider this a nomination for the most simplistic (folks, the competition is fierce) use of this pope's most famous out-of context soundbite. This comes to you care of The Memphis Commercial Appeal:
When Francis was asked whether homosexuality is a sin, he replied, "Who am I to judge?"
I would like permission to ask a delicate question: another image that has been going around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his private life. I would like to know, Your Holiness, what you intend to do about this? How are you confronting this issue and how does Your Holiness intend to confront the whole question of the gay lobby?
The pope was asked about rumors concerning a specific Vatican priest and, in his answer, stressed -- using the word "sin" over and over -- that those who confess their sins can be forgiven and those sins are gone, in the past. At that point he adds, "Who am I to judge?" News flash: Pope wants believers to go to confession, repent of their sins and be forgiven, putting their sins in the past, beyond judgment. Read the transcript,
So where was I? Right, #PapalGoofs. It was really hard, after reading through Father Martin's tweets not to do a kind of pop-quiz run through the recent New York Times piece that ran under this headline: "For Pope Francis’ Mass at Madison Square Garden, God Is in the Details."
Look it over. What do you think?
This kind of a story is simply packed with interesting facts to explore and unpack. Reporters in the pope pack are always looking for the funny little details that add a human touch to a massive liturgical event of this kind. I mean, folks, we're talking about the main event in Madison Square Garden on Friday, Sept. 25,
Now, here's my favorite missed opportunity from this particular story. Read carefully:
The concession stands will offer the usual hot dogs, chicken fingers and pretzels, as well as higher-end fare like Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Simply Chicken sandwich, Andrew Carmellini’s Sausage Boss and Drew Nieporent’s Daily Burger. Forget the beer: Alcoholic beverages will not be sold.
Papal trinkets will also be on sale, including the official lapel pin for his visit and Pope Francis Christmas ornaments.
Wait a minute.
What day of the week will Mass be celebrated? And we're talking lots and lots of Catholics, gathered together on a FRIDAY?
What's missing from the fine details of that fast-food and fine-food menu? Surely the Nathan's stands will have rushed in extra World Famous Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips?
I sure would have asked. Just saying. Surely some Catholics waiting for the pope will pass on the burgers, sausage and chicken and choose fish?