What it's like to cover the papal conclave

And what the conclave says about the future of the Catholic Church

Edward Morrissey

VATICAN CITY — To cover a papal conclave in Rome is to encounter any number of contradictions, especially for a novice at the Sala Stampa — or in this case, at its expanded auxiliary media center. For instance, normally I always have my umbrella with me, and yet never have it handy when it rains, which on this trip has been nearly every day. Standing in line to buy a transportation pass that no one ever uses for the trams is another. But quite frankly, I didn't mind that contradiction at all. Nor did I mind the apparent contradiction of finding a robust and effective technological infrastructure in the media center of an organization often cast as living in the past, media-wise and otherwise.

At the time of the resignation announcement of Benedict XVI, media around the world insisted that this was an opportunity for the Roman Catholic Church to become more relevant in the modern world. Perhaps most especially in the United States, commentators spoke about the need for the papacy to change church doctrine to embrace any number of cultural trends, such as same-sex marriage, women as priests and bishops, endorsement of contraception if not abortion, and so on. Most of these commentators insisted that the Roman Catholic Church had become irrelevant because of its refusal to adapt to modern thought on morality.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.