When something of national or global importance happens, many people feel the need to share how they relate. Most people would do this in a journal or a personal blog. Erin Burnett, who is Catholic, did it on CNN from Rome last night. NBC News’s Luke Russert gets to do it on a national news website.
The Catholic church elected a new pope Wednesday. That’s a moment of major significance for Catholics for its religious implications but also interesting to the world because of how old the institution is. Here’s what the moment meant for Russert, in his words on msnbc.com:
“I was blessed personally by Pope John Paul II twice: once in my mother’s womb and another time when I was an infant. I attended CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) from when I was six years old till I was fourteen. The church is where I’ve been baptized, confirmed, where I’ve confessed and have even gotten to be a godfather. I graduated from one the world’s preeminent Catholic universities and to this day try to attend Mass (and never miss it on days of obligation). I’m that rare twenty-seven year old that proudly still feels a strong connection to my Catholic faith …”
Russert is rare.
It’s also a serious moment for the congressional reporter to offer some unsolicited sacred advice to the newly elected Pope Francis. “Instead of a constant focus on social issues, perhaps a focus on caring for the poor or decrying the influence of media manufactured materialism which will plague an entire American generation,” Russert wrote. He also suggests Francis loosen up on celibacy for Catholic church officials and let the nuns have more say in setting the church’s “agenda.”
You listening, Francis?