Today, in Europe, the relationship between church and state is much closer to the American model that it is to the Europe of Leo’s youth in the early 19th Century. Americanism, in that sense, is triumphant.(1)
Earlier today I wrote that I like it when papal elections come around because they seem to provide a context for reporting about the Catholic Church that's more sophisticated than is usual, in the American media anyway.
The historic announcement of Benedict XVI that he would resign as pope Feb. 28 has set off a global guessing game as to who will take his place on the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica.
An interview with Vatican scholar the Rev. Thomas Reese.
They watched as the privileged permanent members of the Vatican press corps vroomed into the square on their Vespas and sauntered past checkpoints into the bowels of the basilica.
This inspired some reporters to make a dash for it and hop over the railings, disappearing into the crowds that had descended on St. Peter's Square just to watch the event on the big screen.
One of the Vatican press officers, a stern and handsome man with grey hair, scolded others, telling them to "get back!" as sword-wielding Swiss Guards in their crazy red-and-blue-ribboned 16th-century guard-garb looked on nearby.