Earlier this week New York Times journalist
Daniel J. Wakin, with the help of his colleagues John F. Burns in London, Eamon
Quinn in Dublin, Nadim Audi in Paris and Nicholas Kulish in Berlin, remarked upon
“the ferocity of the mainstream response defending the pope” over Easter.

Ferocity? Hmmm. On the University of Ulan
Bator Genghis Khan Media Ferocity Scale (1 to 100), the Vatican’s response was
about 1. Obviously Mr Wakin has not worked in Angola or Mexico lately. However, I searched for “Vatican” and “Ferocious” and discovered the
following items in Google News:

Twenty-seven died today at a Vatican press
conference when ferocious halberd-wielding Swiss Guards locked doors and carved
a swathe of destruction through defenceless journalists. Secretary of State
Tarciso Bertone declared that they had been executed as a threat to national

New York Times journalist Daniel J. Wakin
was buried today, the fifth member of the Vatican press corps to be poisoned in
cafes along the ironically-named Via della Conciliazione. Rome police are
investigating rumours that a group of ferocious assassins called the Borgia
Boys has been stalking critics of the pope…

Pupils in American Catholic grade schools are
playing a web-based virtual reality game called The Press Be Damned, in which ferocious
black-robed Vatican ninjas decapitate and eviscerate journalists and toss them
into pits of boiling brimstone. The game has been developed to counter increasingly
negative depictions of the pope in the media.

Fantasy (of course). But that’s what I would call a ferocious response —
not the vague allusion to “the gossip of dominant opinions” in the Pope’s Palm Sunday sermon. That’s
about as ferocious as being attacked by a toothless sheep. But perhaps Mr Wakin
& Co feel intimidated even by toothless sheep. They’ve obviously seen the
New Zealand horror flick Black Sheep (above) too many times. (I’ve been waiting for a
chance to insert this trailer somewhere.) in fact, the Vatican has been very temperate in its response. Perhaps it should engage Rahm Emanuel as a consultant in responding to the abuse shovelled onto the doorstep of the Pope in recent days. Then Mr Wakin would learn a thing or two about ferocity. 


Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.