Reporting on the pope and evolution

On the most difficult issues of the day, the Catholic press always has prided itself on reporting the nuances that the general media misses. Such was the case again this week in reporting on Pope Benedict XVI’s supposedly new comments on evolution in a new book. The CNS story set the pope’s comments in the broader context of faith and science; it also stated clearly that the pope’s comments weren’t new at all but came from a discussion with former students last September. Others, such as this Associated Press report, weren’t so clear. The AP story, for instance, doesn’t say until the fifth paragraph (and only in passing, at that) that he made the comments at a meeting with fellow theologians, and doesn’t say until the 11th graf that they came seven months ago.

Regular readers of CNS might also remember that there was another CNS story last September on the meeting itself. While that story doesn’t have the pope’s comments — the meeting, of course, was closed — it did quote one participant as saying that the gathering did not advance any significant shift in direction on the church and evolution, another nuance that some reporters might have missed when they first saw the book this week.

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