Action Alert!

Laughing at the News (with Apologies to Our News Team)

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jul 22, 2009

Those who follow our daily news briefs are no doubt smiling over two of yesterday’s items:

  • Australian initiative, backed by Al Gore, seeks to reduce Church’s carbon footprint. This is legitimate news, but when you click into the ultimate source of the story in the Sydney Morning Herald, you begin to wonder why our Catholic World News team cannot write everything with a similar twinkle in its collective eye. Take the Herald’s headline, for example, with its deliberate reversal of spiritual and temporal: “Catholic carbon audit with Gore’s blessing”. And consider the lead sentence: “GOD puts down a mighty carbon footprint in Australia, but the Catholic Church is doing its best to lighten His tread.”

    We also learn that the Catholic plan to reduce the carbon emissions of Church facilities was named “stategic, systems-based integrated sustainability initiative" (slightly mis-reported in the Herald story) until someone realized that if the article “a” was put at the front, the acronym would be ASSISI, for St. Francis, patron of the environment. That's a pretty good silk purse out of a very proverbial sow's ear.
  • Pope sends greetings to cyclists as tour passes by vacation spot. I confess to having grumbled about this kind of "news" for years, but this particular story is such a stellar example of the genre that even I can understand why it made it into the headline list. The story came to us, predictably, from the Vatican Information Service. VIS does not say whether, in view of his recently broken wrist, the Holy Father gritted his teeth and waved as the cyclists pedaled by.

The news! So many possibilities. So little fun.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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