All together now: Raise your hands if you wanted to throw something at the television screen the 666th time, or thereabouts, that CNN put up that graphic announcing that the newly named Pope Francis — formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina — was the “first non-European pope.”
For the moment, let’s set aside St. Peter himself.
Last time I checked, Africa is not part of Europe and, in the first millennium, there were popes from northern Africa. So what is the best wording to capture the historic nature of this choice?
Among the early coverage, I thought that this Associated Press lede was solid and did a good job of describing the importance of the new pontiff’s homeland. I am curious, however, about Bergoglia losing his Cardinal title right up front.
VATICAN CITY (AP) – Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Francis, associating himself with the humble 13th-century Italian preacher who lived a life of poverty.
Looking stunned, Francis shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the announcement, marveling that the cardinals needed to look to “the end of the earth” to find a bishop of Rome.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that the new pope offered few early soundbites that will make life easy for the headline writers. At the Washington, D.C., bar at which I was sitting, some were rather amazed that he did not speak a blessing or greeting in Spanish.
In the Twitter age, everyone is rushing to post memorable reaction quotes from — of course — celebrities. Here is one early set care of CBS News. Here’s a spiffy list from The Wall Street Journal. Oh, and how is the word “notable” defined in this case?
As I rode home on my commuter train, I started thinking about the venerable tradition of trying to predict how various newspapers and magazines would react to the end of the world. You know, like this:
USA Today: WE’RE DEAD
The Wall Street Journal: DOW JONES PLUMMETS AS WORLD ENDS
National Enquirer: OJ AND NICOLE, TOGETHER AGAIN
The New York Times: MILLIONS SEE HUMAN IN SKY, CLAIM IT’S JESUS CHRIST; CLINTON ADMINISTRATION BLAMES RELIGIOUS RIGHT
Inside: Commentary by Stephen Hawking, Anthony Lewis, A.N. Wilson, Harold Kushner, Steven Jay Gould, Yanni
So with that in mind, I offered up a few commuter-train tweets along those lines, reacting to the news of the first Latinio pope. Please add your own in the comments pages! I’m stumped on The National Catholic Reporter angle.
Also, who will get the first reaction quote from the omnipresent Father Thomas Reese, who is, of course, a Jesuit.
We can also use the comments section as an open thread zone on reactions to early coverage, backed with URLs for the good, the bad and the obvious.
So let’s start with some of those tweets. Please excuse some of the typos. I have old, un-hip thumbs.