As the news of the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II streamed across the world Saturday morning bringing joy to Catholics everywhere, Huffington Post found that news of “Instagram Feuds,” the fact that “Miley Loves Pancakes,” the tale of Bill Clinton’s dieting plan, “coconut oil facts,” and other such stories were far more important for readers to see on the home page than the news of the canonization of popes.
The Vatican in Rome announced that Popes John XXIII and John Paul II were to be canonized in a ceremony presided over by sitting Pope Francis. It would be a ceremony of historic firsts. The ceremony would mark the first time in the Church’s 2,000-year history that two Popes were to be canonized at the same time. It would also mark the first time two living popes attended a ceremony to honor the memory of two previous ones.
These two popes are celebrated as great reformers of the Church. John XXIII presided over Second Vatican Council of 1962-65 and John Paul II was famed as the light of freedom during the waning years of the Cold War and was responsible for implementing many of the reforms dreamed of by the Second Council.
It will be a ceremony bringing worldwide attention for two popes whose lives were consequential to more than just members of their own flock.
It will also be a ceremony that brings attention from governments everywhere. “More than 40 heads of state are traveling to Rome for the event, and about a million pilgrims are expected on the day, according to estimates from the Vatican and officials in Rome,” The Wall Street Journal reported early on Saturday morning.
Certainly this is world news, something that affects millions of Catholics across the world not to mention the leaders of every nation sending envoys to participate in the joyous occasion.
But on the morning that the world was celebrating, Huffington Post couldn’t find room on its home page for the news.
Instead, HuffPo featured the earth shaking news that the owner of a basketball team said something racist. Below the fold readers were treated to the salient thoughts of Snoop Dogg and a story about Mass. Senator Elizabeth Warren giving woman a “bracing does of reality.”
Readers were also treated to a news flash about Tamara Ecclestone showing off her bikini body and a story about pop singer Pharell.
A little scroll down revealed the “touching reason” that Bill Clinton adopted a “plant-based diet” and the important news of how “Kim K Changes It Up.”
Readers were also urged to find out about a “Transgender Model’s Inspiring Story,” and given news about what Director Steven Spielberg’s next movie might be.
These important stories streamed before readers with each scroll downward until it becomes clear that the whole home page was silent on the news of the popes. In fact, for most of the day, the home page was utterly silent about the popes. Finally by early evening, at least one story did appear on the main page: “An Unprecedented Sainthood Ceremony Brings 1 Million To Rome.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org