Reader Brian Knotts called our attention to this remarkable Reuters photo caption:
Military honor guard enter the Buenos Aires’ Cathedral past graffiti left by unknown assailants that reads: ‘Universal Nazi Church’ and ‘Benedict addict XVI’ on April 20, 2005. The choice of conservative German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new Pope divides Latin America, a region where he battled leftist priests and whose poor and hungry often cannot afford to follow Roman Catholic doctrine. Joy was tempered by disappointment the new Pontiff was not from Latin America, home to about half the world’s Catholics. REUTERS/Ricardo Abad-DyN
Is there any hint of disapproval of the “Universal Nazi Church” slur? If so, it’s too carefully hidden for me to spot. On the contrary, Reuters appears to believe that this sort of “division” is the natural consequence of naming a “conservative” as Pope. And note the claim that Cardinal Ratzinger’s selection “divides Latin America,” where Catholics were allegedly disappointed that one of their own was not selected. Does Reuters really believe that disappointed Argentine Catholics are the ones who slandered their faith as the “Universal Nazi Church”? Isn’t this obviously an anti-Catholic smear that has nothing to do with either doctrinal differences or regional rooting interests?
Most of all, though, the claim that Latin America’s “poor and hungry often cannot afford to follow Roman Catholic doctrine” is astonishing. This is a whole new perspective on history: Catholicism is a country club faith that is very expensive to pursue, and therefore is available only to the affluent! It would be wonderful to hear Reuters try to explain what Roman Catholic doctrines are too expensive for the people of Latin America to follow. And then they could explain why Catholicism is experiencing explosive growth in Latin America, Africa and Asia, while languishing in the more affluent Europe and North America.