Whereas most people in similar worldly positions to the Pope would probably spend these last few weeks going around to parties and state dinners listening to people tell them how great they've been, the Pope goes.....on a week long retreat! How Catholic is that?
Whereas most organizations, when breaking a gigantically big story, would have everything ready to go and would be super professional and solemn and full of self-importance, the Vatican's press secretary had to go over to a closet at the start of the press conference and turn on the microphone because it was a holiday and so most people weren't in that day.
Can you imagine the chatter at the Vatican employee cafe:
Pietro: "Luigi, did you hear the Pope's resigning tomorrow."
Luigi: "Yeah, I'll miss him...but I'm still not coming in tomorrow to turn on the microphone...we'll have a new pope in a few days anyways...the ship sails on...and I mean it, I'm not coming in tomorrow during the holiday...Fr. Lombardi can handle the mic himself."
Speaking of papal microphones, another thing that I've always loved about Catholicism that also kind of illustrates this same idea that the Church is unimpressed with making things look smooth and efficient...the papal microphone at Masses. Here's a picture from Midnight Mass
So here we are in a Church (Basilica) that is worth billions at a Mass that is one of the most watched programs every year, and the microphone is held by a kid from three or four feet away; a microphone that looks like it might have come from a catholic high school cafeteria. I've seen Catholic grade school athletic banquets that had less-distracting audio setups than midnight Mass!! We the Church just aren't in a rush to dive into the wireless mics, we refuse to put a permanent mic in somewhere...and I love it. "No, we'll keep having a server bring an old mic over and hold it in the Pope's face from four feet away while it moves around and occasionally hits him in the face." I really do love how it just baffles people that we do things like that! The Church is ALWAYS guided by the Holy Spirit, and RARELY by a concern over appearance!
Concerning the conclave and new pope...you can tell the media are just completely uncomfortable with how different it all is compared to what they normally cover.
A) For their own sanity, they just HAVE to believe that it really is a bunch of cardinals who are fighting for the job and politicking and paying each other off with promises of Vatican treasures. Since most in the media have rejected outright the notion that there is a God, in their minds the only things that can possibly TRULY motivate people are power and money. It becomes quite apparent that a rejection of God doesn't open one's vision and free it to see the world as it really is, but rather such a rejection of God and Faith actually limits one's vision severely
B) Along similar lines, you can also tell the media is completely unused to not being able to basically buy their way in to the conclave. As my brother Matt said, "it is great that Dan Rather has to wait in St. Peter's square alongside poor nuns and seminarians and pilgrims, and has no more advanced warning than anyone else."
And so soon it will begin - the media will be trying to wrap their minds (minds suffering from a self-imposed retardation because of their rejection of Faith) around something that they will never understand. I, for one, rather enjoy the spectacle, and pray for their conversion as I also celebrate wildly the sunset of a beautiful papacy and the dawn of another, and rejoice that the boat of Peter sails on victoriously toward the horizon of time...even if the microphones don't work