I'd like to thank the New York Times and other secular media for helping me get my priorities straight. I had no plans to read right away Benedict XVI's new book-length interview with Peter Seewald, as I was buried under final exams. I was saving the book for quieter times.
But between the international headlines generated by the New York Times and Associated Press reports, I stopped everything I was doing and picked up "Light of the World." It was the best thing I did this semester, as his message of hope in the face of tremendous challenges offers calm amid chaos.
Not surprisingly, the secular media got the Pope's message wrong. One would think with all the expensive educations milling around these news conglomerates, someone might have taken a class in reading comprehension. Ironically, the Associated Press claimed: "Pope's remarks on condoms sow widespread confusion." I would have gone with "Journalist illiteracy wreaks pandemonium."
The point of contention is in Chapter 11, when the Pope speaks hypothetically of a prostitute using a condom as a sign of an awakening of his moral conscience. This tiny paragraph has now spawned novels -- proving the Pope's point in the preceding lines, that "concentrating on condoms alone banalizes sexuality."
His remarks make perfect sense, the only mystery being why Catholics would look to the secular media for interpretation of the Pope's teaching, especially those outlets that had spent most of this year trying relentlessly yet unsuccessfully to accuse him of complicity in the sex abuse crisis. Why not read Cardinal Raymond Burke, or papal biographer George Weigel, or a moral theologian such as Father Thomas Williams? Better yet, why not just read the Pope himself?
One thing is for sure -- reading "Light of the World" will be more satisfying and fulfilling than any pundit's pronouncements.