Saturday, 13 February 2016

A historic, 100 year meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

Media Ignore Pope / Patriarch Meeting, or Completely Misrepresent It
The Christophobic, Russophobic, neocon New York Times and Washington Post ignore it altogether - after all, the world has only been waiting for this for 1000 years or so. Nothing to report here, keep moving along please ...

Everyone else hid the main reason for the meeting - persecution of Christians in the Middle East

Dear mainstream media - this is why people can't stand you...

Terry Mattingly

12 February, 2016

He keeps talking about Christian persecution in the Middle East and Ukraine, and the mainstream media ignores him
Originally appeared at Get Religion
Did you hear about the historic meeting that will occur today between the media superstar Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Orthodox Church of Moscow and All Russia? Is there up-front coverage of this in your newspaper this morning?
The meeting is taking place in Havana for the expressed purpose of voicing support for persecuted Christians facing genocide in parts of the Middle East, primarily – at the moment – in Syria and Iraq. There is very little that Rome and Moscow agree on at the moment, when it comes to ecumenical matters, but Francis and Kirill are both very concerned about the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in that devastated region.
Have you heard about this in major media?
Now, call me naive, but I thought that this meeting would receive major coverage. This is, after all, the first ever meeting – first as in it has never happened before in history – between the leader of the pope of Rome and the patriarch of the world's largest branch of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Syria is also in the news, last time I checked. There is a possibility that Americans – this is a nation that includes a few Christians who read newspapers – might be interested in a statement by Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill on the massacre of Christians in Syria and elsewhere.
I guess I am naive. It appears that the meeting in Cuba today is not very important at all. I mean, look at the front of The New York Times website.
Oh, the pope is there on the front page. There is an advance story on his visit to Mexico.
Zero mention of the historic summit with Kirill.
Zero mention of the persecution of Christians and other religious minority groups in Syria and elsewhere. Just this, in a standard papal tour piece:
... the pope’s itinerary also poses a major risk to the government, highlighting at each turn some of the state’s most obvious challenges and failings – poverty, inequality, corruption and rampant violence. The pope could even combine all these themes at once if he decides to meet with the families of 43 missing students, whose mysterious disappearance has become a byword for government incompetence and complicity with criminality.
But wait. There is a Syria story prominently displayed on the Times website. Maybe the Rome-Moscow meeting is covered in that piece?
MUNICH -- Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Lavrov, announced that they had agreed on the delivery over the next few days of desperately needed aid to besieged Syrian cities, to be followed by a “cessation of hostilities” within a week on the way to a more formal cease-fire.
Once again, there is zero news here on the Havana summit – which centers on the slaughter in Syria and Iraq. There is zero news here on the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the region.

But wait, it appears – hurrah for search programs – that there is a Reuters wire story somewhere inside the Times about the Havana meeting. What does it say that the meeting is about?
HAVANA -- Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church meet in Havana on Friday, nearly 1,000 years after Eastern Orthodoxy split with Rome, for the first encounter in history between a Roman Catholic pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch. The two religious leaders, guests of a Communist government, will address the millennium-long rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity.
They are also expected to unite in an appeal for an end to persecution and killing of Christians in the Middle East.
The meeting will also carry political overtones, coming at a time of Russian disagreements with the West over Syria and Ukraine.
Over at The Washington Post, the approach is basically the same.
The key: No matter that the Catholic Church says and no matter what the Russian Orthodox Church says, this meeting is NOT really about religious persecution. This is really about politics – alone. Thus, here is the lede of the Associated Press wire report inside the Post.
MOSCOW -- When Patriarch Kirill meets Pope Francis this week, the historic event will allow the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to assert Russia’s leading role in the Eastern Christian world. It may also allow Kirill, a skillful political player with close ties to President Vladimir Putin, to open a new avenue of communication for the Kremlin as it tries to escape Western isolation.
What is the conclusion that can be drawn from this?
Simply stated: According to elite media, religion does not play a significant role in the events unfolding in Syria. There is no need to take seriously the concerns of Christians and members of other minority religious groups (including more moderate forms of Islam) who are being crushed in between the monsters and their armies who are fighting for supremacy in this corner of the world.
No, this story is all about a clash between Putin and President Barack Obama. That is what really matters. There is no need to cover BOTH the religious and the political angles of this meeting.
The concerns of the pope and the patriarch? They are not all that important.
Want to see this in action, once again? Here is the top of the Reuters advance story for the Cuba meeting, which is being circulated by Religion News Service.
The headline? "Putin may benefit from meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill."
VATICAN CITY/MOSCOW (Reuters) -- A meeting between Pope Francis and Russia’s Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Friday (Feb. 12) could not happen without a green light from President Vladimir Putin, diplomats and analysts say, and he may be one the beneficiaries.
In a landmark step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, the two religious leaders will meet in Havana on the pope’s way to Mexico.
Buried down in the piece there is this:
Alexander Volkov, Russian church spokesman, said that while a joint declaration will dwell on the Middle East’s persecuted Christians, tensions between Russia and the West may be brought up in the talks.
So, once again, the actual cause and concerns that brought the two sides together are not all that important.
Oh well. Whatever. Nevermind.

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