Framing Benedict..."But the entire West is in flames"
On Route to UK Visit Coverage
Will it be the same or different this time? Robert Moynihan, Inside the Vatican Magazine, writes, "On the eve of the Pope's  visit to England and Scotland, it is worth recalling that Joseph Ratzinger visited Cambridge 22 years ago to deliver a major address. As he began, the crowd was cold. His reputation had preceded him. As he spoke, the crowd listened. When he fell silent, the crowd burst into a long applause..." Moynihan continues,
The world's media continue to frame Pope Benedict's upcoming trip to England and Scotland -- the trip begins in just two days -- in the context of the sexual abuse scandal. They are hammering, hammering, hammering on this point. They are building a frame for the trip, and they think that frame will compel Benedict to change the focus of his remarks -- to change his message.
I know this, because I was just invited to speak on Sky News yesterday morning, and then on CNN International yesterday afternoon. The second segment focused entirely on the new allegations of abuse from Belgium, and whether Benedict will address the suffering of the victims and the prosecution of the perpetrators during his upcoming trip. There was no chance to speak of other issues.
But the entire West is in flames.
Western culture faces a general collapse of moral values, a loss of confidence in its own identity and historical purpose, a demographic winter which threatens to actually bring Western culture to a quiet, childless close. Certainly, the sexual abuse crimes are horrible and shocking and must be addressed. But the overall collapse of our Western moral universe must also be addressed, and even more urgently.
The fate of our culture hangs in the balance.
In this context, the media's framing of Pope Benedict's trip as a sort of side-show to the sexual abuse crisis is actually tragic. Because we need to hear the whole Gospel preached at this crossroads in our history -- we, the British, the West, the world.
True, horrible crimes have been committed. Somehow "filth" ("sporcizia," as Benedict referred to it in his famous Subiaco speech in 2005, just before his election as Pope), has entered into the Church. And Benedict has fought and is fighting to cleanse the Church.
But a certain "filth" has also entered into the public life of all the Western countries, of all the world, through a pervasive, almost "amoral" culture (I say this because "right" and "wrong" are not even questions for this culture, only "expedient" and "not expedient"). It has become a culture in which hedonism and consumption, not sacrifice and frugality, are praised, and this has led to the almost universal embrace of things which prior generations considered "wrong": contraception, abortion, pornography, greed (the motto of Gordon Gekko in Wall Street was "greed is good").
And so I hope that the "framing" of Benedict's trip in terms of the sexual abuse scandal can be "un-framed," and that deeper and wider truths can bubble to the surface of the public discourse, despite the astonishing power of the mainstream media to set the terms of the debate.
Because I think Benedict's voice needs to be heard. And this framing that is underway is aimed at silencing him, in some fundamental way. And if that succeeds, our culture, our world, will be the loser.
--->Peter Hitchens: Question: Who said: 'Not all sex involving children is unwanted and abusive'? Answer: The Pope's biggest British critic. "Here comes the Pope, though he would have much more fun if he stayed in Rome for root canal dentistry. His mysterious visit, to the country in Europe where he is most likely to be insulted, is the target of every liberal elitist in Britain."
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