It’s a rare day – and therefore a noteworthy one – when the Boston Herald devotes more resources to a big story than the Boston Globe does.
Welcome to today’s edition of our feisty local tabloid gone global. Note the dateline on Margery Eagan’s column:
ROME — The Roman Catholic Church has been losing the faithful in Italy and much of Europe for decades. Pope Francis has clearly revived interest, if only until his novelty wears off.
Yesterday, for the third time in a week, an estimated 150,000 packed St. Peter’s Square. Police were keeping order in subway stations en route to the Vatican as crowds tried to push onto nearly full trains. Streets all around the Vatican were closed to traffic. But they were filled with what looked like thousands more spectators who showed up too late to fit into the square — meaning they didn’t get here by 7:30 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. Mass.
These thousands watched on at least a dozen Jumbotrons as Pope Francis, just before his inaugural Mass, rode about the square not in the bulletproof glass popemobile, but, unusually, in an open-air model. It allowed him to get on and off and kiss a baby and the forehead of a man who appeared disabled and smiled up at Francis’ face.
Today’s Herald also features a thumbsucker on Sean O’Malley’s elevated status after his waltz with the Great Mentioner at the Vatican conclave.
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley will return to Boston this week a more influential figure than when he left for the papal conclave late last month — with international name recognition, and possibly the prospect of a role in Rome as Pope Francis aligns his inner circle, religious experts said.
“My sense is that Sean O’Malley is happy in Boston and would not be happy at the Vatican. On the other hand, he is a close friend of Pope Francis. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a role for Cardinal O’Malley,” said Thomas Groome, a theology professor at Boston College. “He’ll have a more enhanced role in advising and leadership than he did under Benedict. He certainly is coming home with an enhanced reputation.”
National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen Jr., whose article on O’Malley prior to the conclave helped elevate the Boston archbishop’s profile, said O’Malley has been rumored to take over as leader of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, which manages the rules governing priests and nuns.
Meanwhile, crosstown at the Globe, today’s edition included only this on the pontiff front:
Urges those in power to protect world
By Elisabetta Povoledo, Rachel Donadio and Alan Cowell | NEW YORK TIMES MARCH 20, 2013
VATICAN CITY — At the formal start of his papacy, Pope Francis offered a passionate pledge Tuesday to serve ‘‘the poorest, the weakest, the least important,’’ striking the same tones of humility that have marked the days since he was elected last week.
On a raised and canopied throne on a platform looking out from St. Peter’s Basilica to the piazza in front of it, the pope enjoined those in temporal power to protect the world and ‘‘not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world.’’
“Today, too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others,’’ he added to frequent applause from some among the tens of thousands of people cramming the square and the broad avenue leading to it from the River Tiber. The Vatican estimated the number at 150,000 to 200,000.
A story plucked from the New York Times wire service? Kinda pales in comparison with the Herald, eh?
It’s possible-to-likely the paper is splitting the cost of Eagan’s Roman gig with WGBH (where she co-hosts a radio show with Jm Braude), since she’s also reported on the papal festivities for 89.7 FM.
Either way, it’s the Herald that’s the papal tiger on this story.