Royal watchers and Vatican watchers are gearing up for this week-end`s celebrations. The upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton have media outlets falling over themselves to grab the exclusive scoop on dresses, menus, and guest lists. Meanwhile, Rome is preparing for the hopeful onslaught of pilgrims for the May 1st Beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II. Not surprisingly, Will and Kate are stealing the international media thunder. The Wall Street Journal published an online article today describing the Vatican`s disappointments; Pope Vies With Prince for Public Eye.
In all fairness, when John Paul II died the non-stop media coverage was a tribute to his global influence inside and outside of the Church. He was the first pontiff to embrace the power of the media, and used it to his advantage. He was the most travelled, most heard, and most filmed and photographed pope. He was often a divisive figure in his own Church, but his influence on the world stage could not be ignored.
Is it the duty of the international media to cover the beatification with the same energy as his death? I don`t think so. The beatification and canonization processes are part of our Catholic tradition. As with many of our traditions, we can`t expect everyone to understand their significance. And this beatification, in particular, comes with its own mixed emotions and naysayers. (Now these have made news headlines.)
So, how do we explain the mega-hype over the Royal wedding? What have William and Kate accomplished on the world stage? One was born into privilege and fame. Fortuitous circumstances brought the two together. Where is all the adulation and excitement coming from? Where is the anti-monarchist sentiment that we hear so much about here in the colonies?
Sigh…all is a mystery!
(Next: pondering the Beatification of John Paul II)