Been carrying around a newspaper clipping in my hip pocket for more than a week now. On Friday, April 8, The Daily News here in the Big Apple ran a cover, the top half of which was a photograph of the now-deceased pontiff bestowing a blessing and the bottom half of which featured the following text:
"The Daily News Says Farewell: Never has the death of one man touched so many, so deeply as has the death of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II. Search the centuries and you'll be hard pressed to find an outpouring of humanity remotely comparable to the one in Rome this morning. And at no time have so many people shared an event via television, from one time zone to the next, as today witness the splendor and solemnity of John Paul's funeral. As one, we revere and pray, weep and rejoice in contemplation of the majesty of a soul that reflected the Almighty on Earth ever so brightly."
Last time I checked, the majority of people in this country were not Catholic. Cursory Internet searches put the number of Catholics at around 70 million, which is less than one quarter of the U.S. population. The stipulation that modern media allows more people than ever to tune into an event such as the death of the pope mitigates, to a degree, the outrageous claim that "never has the death of one man touched so many, so deeply." The real question here is, is this journalism? The answer is a quite definite no.