National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Weigel, Popes, Presidents and the Desk

  • Photo from 2008 Daily Telegraph article

In this National Review article, Mssr. George Weigel deploys his superior knowledge of how the Holy See operates, after taking swipes at the rest of the journalistic world for our supposed lack of sophistication in really understanding the subtle ways the Vatican sends signals. Among his observations is this:

Pope Francis conducted his conversation with President Obama across a desk — a stage-setting exercise on the Vatican’s part that one canny media veteran thought “a tad aggressive” and another observer said resembled a school principal having a firm talk with a recalcitrant student. There was no attempt to embarrass here. But the arrangement nonetheless sent a signal, to the administration and to others: The Holy See was not interested in reinforcing the White House’s pre-meeting script, nor would it be interested in doing so for other public officials in the future.

If Weigel is correct, then how does he explain the photo above, that accompanied an article in the Daily Telegraph when President Bush met with Pope Benedict? I mean, that appears to be a desk between the two, doesn't it? Well, maybe it is actually a table and tables do not send the signal the desk between Francis and Obama sent. We should ask Mssr. Weigel to explain the difference. 

rectangular-logo.jpgVisit our new website, Global Sisters Report!

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

September 12-25, 2014

09-12-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.