Monday, April 11, 2005

What Does it Take to be "Relevant"?

On April 5th, Christiane Amanpour had this to say about the funeral preparations for Pope John Paul II:
You do get a sense of timelessness. This majestic pomp that has been ceremonial throughout centuries. And again it's also a very religious moment. And I keep coming back to the deep belief that this is a critical juncture for this church. It's got find out how to be relevant for the next several centuries or at least the next generation.
Relevant? How does she get from timelessness to questioning relevance?
(Boston Globe) The audience was extraordinary: 300,000 mourners at the service, who came on 24-hour bus rides from Poland, who sold possessions to fly from Mexico, who slept all night in the square to be present to cheer the life of one of the most extraordinary figures of the 20th century; and millions more in the streets of Rome, and hundreds of millions beyond them who watched on television.
Despite the short notice and cost of travel, the number of visitors to Rome exceeded the city's own population. In Krakow, 800,000 people gathered together to watch the funeral. In addition to at least four million pilgrims, the funeral drew "an unprecedented gathering of world leaders," from President Bush and Taiwanese President Chen to Robert Mugabe and Iranian President Khatami. Two billion people were expected to watch the funeral on television.

Perhaps Amanpour was just feeling left behind. As Anderson Cooper said previously:
It's interesting, I was talking to a priest on line earlier when I was shooting a story, and he was saying this is timeless. This is almost you could be in the medieval time. I mean, yes there are cameras and yes, there as you said, this media event. But you really don't get the sense of this being a media event. I mean, I think as you said last night, we are sort of flies on the wall here. This would all be going on whether or not we are here.
Which I suppose raises the question: is CNN relevant?


April said...

I'm not even Catholic and I think the Catholic Church is hugely relevent to the world today (although it does get a bad rap in the US).

JJH said...

And it earns at least half of that bad rap, but nonetheless I agree.