It’s an otherwise fine story by an AP writer, but I’m on the prowl for media infelicities in the pope coverage, so silly lines get noticed:
After making little headway in his efforts to rekindle the faith in his native Europe, the German-born Benedict will be visiting a country where many of the 65 million Catholics are eager to hear what he says.
I like the “making little headway” clause. As though reestablishing Christendom were a matter of uttering a few well chosen words. Benedict’s been pontiff for three years. The secularization of Europe has been going on for anywhere from fifty to five hundred depending on how you want to look at it. Taking into account the Vatican’s vaunted tendency to “think in centuries,” I doubt the pope expected to rekindle the faith of a continent in a few months. Nor for that matter is it likely that he possesses such power in a post-Christian Europe. I suspect his goals are more modest and realistic.