OK, this is one day late, but I had to chortle at a letter, first posted on the whispersintheloggia blog, from Pope Benedict XVI to the world’s bishops on the unexpected mess occasioned by the Vatican’s recent pardon of four bishops ordained in 1988 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre against the orders of then-Pope John Paul II.
Not only did the pope get all manner of grief from Jews for the pardon, but one of the bishops involved turned out to be a thorough anti-Semite — and let the world know it through various public statements. This blindsided the pope, who wistfully remarked that had he or someone close to him been trolling the Internet, he would have foreseen this disaster.
“I hear that closely following the news available on the Internet would have made it possible to obtain knowledge of the problem in time,” Benedict wrote (in German) in his seven-page letter. “I learn from this that we at the Holy See have to pay more careful attention to this news source in the future.”
Well, if the rest of the Vatican functions anything like their press office — for whom the Internet seems an alien entity — no wonder the place is 15 years behind the rest of the world. It does seem amazing that Rome could be so out of touch. I’m not saying they have to be posting videos on YouTube, but a lot of someones over there need to get tech-savvy.
The letter is here. Maybe someone at AOL or Gmail could sign the pontiff up?
— Julia Duin, religion editor