On papacy and royalty

As I watched, read and heard untold stories about the birth of a new member of the British royal family, who becomes the third in line to the throne, it was somewhat disappointing that the news overshadowed so markedly the news of Pope Francis’s arrival in Brazil for the start of World Youth Day festivities in that country.

It’s somewhat providential that the two stories have coincided, especially after a story was brought to my attention late last week about a possible correlation between the papacy and British royalty.

As I’ve written many times in the past four months or so, Pope Francis is a pretty beloved figure around the world, even by large portions of a mainstream media that is usually suspicious of — or even hostile towards — the Catholic Church, and in many cases with due cause.

But someone at CNN was thinking back to another figure in our not-too-distant past who was loved by the media and wondered “Is Pope Francis the Catholic Princess Diana?

Eric Marrapodi was reflecting on Pope Francis’s recent trip to Lampedusa in southern Italy, one of the closest parts of Europe to Africa and the hoped-for destination of many Africans trying to make a new life for themselves, often risking their lives in the pursuit of that dream. It reminded him of Princess Diana’s efforts to cast a spotlight on humanitarian issues.

But watching Francis’ first few months in office, it’s hard not to notice that he seems to have taken a page from the late Princess Diana’s playbook.

The Princess of Wales knew where she went, the media followed. Her activism brought global attention to homelessness, HIV/AIDs, and, most prominently, land mines. Continue reading


Gavin Abraham, a journalist for more than a dozen years, has spent most of the last six years working in Catholic media.

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News category: Analysis and Comment.

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