There was something that confused me about this Associated Press story “Pope to create new office to fight secularization.” It’s by no means an in-depth story — just a quick wire report on some business that came out of Vatican City this week. But check out this lede and supporting paragraphs:
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI is creating a new Vatican office to fight secularization and “re-evangelize” the West — a tacit acknowledgment that his attempts to reinvigorate Christianity in Europe haven’t succeeded and need a new boost. …
Benedict said parts of the world are still missionary territory, where the Catholic Church is still relatively unknown. But in other parts of the world like Europe, Christianity has existed for centuries yet “the process of secularization has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Church.”
The new pontifical council, he said, would “promote a renewed evangelization” in countries where the Church has long existed “but which are living a progressive secularization of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God.’”
Here’s my question: How does the reporter know that this new office is being launched because his plans have failed? She says it’s a “tacit” acknowledgment. But it would be nice to see some support for the claim.
I’m not saying it’s untrue — I have no knowledge of how well the Pope’s efforts are going compared to expectations or anything like that.
But what if the office were being launched precisely because the efforts were going well and they just wanted to provide additional support to them?
Or what if it was always a plan to start an office at this point in time?
I just think that if you’re going to say that the Pope has failed, you should explain what that means, exactly. And if you don’t have any support for the claim, just leave the speculation alone.