Questions for the Holy Father

What the News Media Failed to Ask
by Jim Fair | Source:
Unless you have been on silent retreat for the past month, you know the Pope has been to America.

Brace yourself; the news media provided you with some really ridiculous commentary. They wanted to know who the Pope supports in the Presidential Election, if he supports having the Olympics in China, whether the United States should pull out of Iraq and, of course, does he really wear Prada shoes? “Holy Father, in light of survey results, are you going to change your position on birth control or the ordination of women priests?”

They ask questions like these because they believe the Church functions like a political unit and he is a celebrity. Neither assumption is correct.

The Church is not a democracy. The Holy Father is not responsible for representing the will of the world’s Catholics – he fills the shoes of Peter with the responsibility of keeping the rest of us on track. He is chosen not for good looks, smooth style or glib personality; he is selected for holiness.

Here are a few questions I would ask as a reporter, were some major news organization brave enough to equip me press credentials and a front-row seat at a Papal news conference:

• How can I, as an average Catholic lay person, best bring the faith to others?
• What is the impact of the various lay movements?
• How is your prayer life?
• Do you have a spiritual director and how does that work when you are the Pope?
• How can we turn back the growing tide of Islam in Europe?
• What are the last three books you read and what did you learn from each?
• If you were stuck on a desert Island for the rest of your life and could take just one book of the Bible with you, which book would it be?
• Who are the three most remarkable people you have met?
• Is there someone you have not met you really would like to talk with?
• If you could anything you wanted for a day – as an anonymous citizen – what would it be?

My questions may not generate headlines in the New York Times. But they would help me to know the Holy Father as another man on the same journey of faith I’m traveling – although certainly more than a few steps ahead. And if he were dealing with my questions he might avoid some nut from a tabloid asking, “boxers or briefs?”

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