Pope or Dope on Boston Front Pages

January 18, 2014

A nifty little criss-cross has religion and politics switching places in the local dailies today.

Boston Herald front page:


Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 2.01.53 PM


Inside the story gets two pages: a news report that seems to be mostly AP material, and his ‘n’ her columns from Ray Flynn and Margery Eagan.

On page 3 of the feisty local broadsheet, there’s this piece:

Mitt aide rues blocking doc

Right off the top, the documentary “Mitt” shows a defeated Mitt Romney teary-eyed and searching for help in crafting a concession 011614mitt001speech — and the personal number for President Obama.

“By the way, someone have a number for the president?” a dejected Romney asks on election night Nov. 6, 2012, in his hotel suite in Boston.

“What do you say in a concession speech?” he adds.


Seriously? Anyway, the point of the piece is this: “[A] top Romney adviser and friend admitted the campaign blew it by repeatedly opposing the release of the documentary, which could have helped Romney shed his stiff, robotic image.”

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Romney moves up to the front page.


Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 2.04.13 PM


This “Mitt” piece has Romney’s son Tagg doing the lamenting:

“I was frustrated that we were not able to get an accurate portrayal of who my dad was out there,” Tagg said in an interview Friday, as he discussed the film. “The campaign team wanted to present a very controlled image. . . . The movie shows a very real human being: a flawed person with weaknesses but someone who is much more real and understandable.”


Meanwhile, it’s the Pope who gets page 3 in the stately local broadsheet, also via the AP.

Pope said to defrock 400 priests in 2 years

VATICAN CITY — A document shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over two years for sexually molesting children.

The statistics for 2011 and 2012 show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Before that, it had only revealed the number of alleged cases of abuse it had received and the number of trials it had authorized.

While it’s not clear why the numbers spiked in 2011, it could be because 2010 saw a explosion in the number of cases reported in the media in Europe and beyond.


Here endeth the criss-cross.


Herald Romes Much Farther Than Globe

March 20, 2013

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:

Vatican PopePope Francis fever catches on in Rome

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.

Vatican PopeObservers see O’Malley as papal adviser

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:

2013-03-19T141110Z_01_MBH11_RTRMDNP_3_POPEAt inaugural, Pope Francis vows to serve poor

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.

Boston Herald Is the Papal of Record

February 20, 2013


The Boston Globe has a nice Page One piece about the Great Mentioner throwing Sean O’Malley’s hood into the bakeoff for a new Pontiff, but our feisty local tabloid goes all Poparazzi over the prospect.

Page One:

Picture 1


Inside spreads:

Picture 2


Picture 3

Oh, yes – don’t forget the editorial:

A Boston pope — really

Here in the Hub of the Universe it goes without saying that the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston would be a contender for pope — just as the Patriots always start the season as contenders for the Super Bowl and our best politicians inevitably are contenders for the White House.

There is a certain irony, however, in that Cardinal Sean O’Malley is being mentioned in Vatican circles as the most likely American contender in part because he is the antithesis of papal opulence. He’s Capuchin sandals, not Prada loafers.


Ouch. The Papal seat isn’t even cold and already they’re piling on God’s Rottweiler.

Sic transit gloria mundi and all that.

Boston Dailies Are Papal Tigers

February 12, 2013

In this most Cathaholic of towns, the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald are on Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation like Brown on Williamson.

For starters, the old Pontifox owns both front pages.

Picture 2
Picture 1


From there he gets Vatican-size chunks of the newshole – three full pages in each.

Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

Picture 6


Not to mention his own editorial in each paper.


The pope who resigned

In the end it wasn’t the Twitter account that made Pope Benedict XVI a truly 21st century pope. No, it was his decision to resign — a nearly unprecedented action — when he knew that age had robbed him of the ability to minister to his flock of 1.2 billion Catholics around the world.

“Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” the 85-year-old pontiff wrote in the message announcing his decision.



Benedict’s strict teachings defined an era in Catholicism

THROUGHOUT HIS nearly eight-year papacy, and for 25 years before that as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal officer, Pope Benedict XVI steered the Catholic Church away from the liberalizing reforms symbolized by the Vatican II conference of 1962. His strict interpretation of Catholic teachings led to a proportionally greater emphasis on the church’s opposition to birth control, abortion, and homosexuality. Meanwhile, the Vatican asserted tighter authority over church affairs, a reversal of the decentralizing trends of an earlier era.

These shifts in focus sometimes put the Vatican at odds with followers in the West; Benedict, in turn, expressed concern over the loss of faith among many Catholics in Western Europe and the United States . . .


But the Herald gets the Popeier-than-thou nod for also featuring an op-ed by Boston College professor of moral theology James T. Bretzke, and this Jerry Holbert cartoon:

holberts 02-12 cartoon