Here's the thing....

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..."-Jack Kerouac

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Pope... a PR Disaster? (Blog #3)

So.... everyone knows the pope. ----->

The guy that is the spokesperson for Catholicism as a whole, right? Do you see how many bodyguards he has in his open popemobile? The media is definetely making that fact known.

Well, to put it kindly, he's been making a bit of a mess in the past week, and trying somewhat to make up for it. The pope, in his speech in his home country of Germany, quoted medieval Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos criticising some teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as "evil and inhuman. On Wedensday, the pope said that he was sorry for the reaction that some countries had, but never actually retracted his words. He stated that he deeply respected the Islam religion, and hoped that this would begin peace talks. I honestly believe that the Pope knew exactly what he was saying, because if he was truly sorry, he would have apologized. Instead, we have people rioting in the Muslim countries, burning down churches and believing that all Christians are against Muslims. Today, President Chavez of Venezuela called Bush "the devil" and told the Pope to watch his words to the Islam religion all in the same breath. As PR professionals, we would have advised his popeness to issue an apology immediately after the riots began happening. Also, we probably would have not let him write his speech all by himself, but rather make sure that his speech caters to the right audience. Since the Pope is used to speaking for his weekly audiences of vastly Catholic believers, he might have written his speech with that in mind. I grew up Catholic, and have seen the narrow-mindedness of parts of the religion when it is something other than Catholicism. One of my good friends from HS is Muslim, and she, as well as her family, were completely outraged by the remarks made, and what has been going on in the Islam countries.

There have been comments that the Pope needs advisors to check over his words, and make sure that he is putting the Catholic Church in the best light. However, there was a news video today released that had the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, saying that he publically accepted the Pope's "apology" to the Islam nation. If the Archbishops, who work directly under the Pope, are saying that they accept his apology, how will the Pope know where his boundaries are? That he should have issued an apology immediately, instead of apologizing for a reaction that the Muslims had?

However, I do not think the Vatican knows how to handle media, or a positive PR campaign. When Da Vinci Code was set to hit theatres, the Vatican hired a PR company to do a negative campaign against the movie. However, I would think that a campaign to support people seeing the movie, to understand what people are saying, and then speaking about the positives of Catholicism, would work just as well. By doing a negative campaign, it fueled people to go see the movie, and then questions werent answered. The Pope asked everyone to boycott the movie, and didnt do anything about counteracting the movies message. He understood on a level that he needed to counteract the message, but did it the wrong way.

It's a never ending cycle, and one that needs to be broken. The question is, when will the conformity stop? When will the stubborness stop, and change be accepted in the Catholic Church?


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