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Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Media love Catholic pomp

The conclave that will elect the successor to Pope Benedict XVI convenes today, Tuesday, in the Vatican. If the election of the new pope dominates the headlines, it's got less to do with the media's piety than with its fascination with Catholic pomp, the liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung writes: "The personnel rotation in the Vatican amounts to nothing short of a refresher course in Catholic practices. However it remains an open question how long such knowledge will last in times that are so critical of institutions. ... At least in part, the media's focus on the antiquity of the Vatican also has to do with its fascination with the exotic. Because nowadays in the West, you only get to see men dressed up in colourful, almost Baroque robes at royal ceremonies, extravagant fashion shows or - as now - in the Catholic Church. Such exclusivity inevitably whips up media interest. But a papal election is at best a breather for the Church. In a media climate dominated by relativistic arbitrariness, the Church will only be greeted with sympathy for as long as it offers a spectacle."

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