By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tIn a move without any direct precedents, Pope Benedict XVI went on Italian television today to respond to seven questions chosen from among 3,000 submitted by ordinary people from all over the world. Although this was certainly not a hard-hitting “Meet the Press”-style encounter, the pope’s answers nevertheless inevitably carry news interest.
tThe following are three quick observations about the importance of Benedict XVI’s television outing.
tA pope responding to questions from the general public on TV is a bit reminiscent of what Samuel Johnson once said of a dog walking on its hind legs – what’s striking is not so much how well he does it, but that he does it at all.
Similarly, at one level the important thing about Benedict’s TV appearance isn’t so much what he said, but the fact it happened.