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Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’

Pope Francis Used to Be a Bouncer, But Now He’s Just a Spy

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The spy who loved me and you and every other one of God’s creatures

Whoa, calm down! We didn’t mean “spy” like Daniel Craig or Felicity or the undercover Russian who doubles as a model in her spare time.

Following yesterday’s big reveal about Pope Francis once working as a bouncer at an Argentinian club, we learned that he’s been donning the robes of a regular priest and sneaking out of the Vatican at night to check on Rome’s homeless population, pray for them and hand out donations without revealing his identity. Given that he’s one of the most famous men on earth, we didn’t really think this would work—but then we thought about his audience and reconsidered.

Today’s addition to the growing “how badass can this guy be” canon comes courtesy of uCatholic and an interview with an Archbishop responsible for distributing money from the Holy See to the “poor and marginalized.”

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Pope Francis Understands the Value of Research

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We were almost over the fact that Pope Francis is totally on top of this whole “public relations” thing, but now he’s done it again.

This weekend we read that the modest man in the big house has commissioned a far-reaching survey designed to gauge “consumer sentiment” among the world’s one billion Catholics on some of the church’s most contentious social issues: homosexuality, gay marriage, unwed cohabitation, etc.

The reason this is so interesting is that many will tell you that church doctrine is both clear and unchangeable when it comes to the definition of the word “family.”

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Catholic Church Plans to Turn ‘Bishop Bling’ Mansion Into Soup Kitchen

germany_bishop_limburg_184368475_620x350Last week we spent a couple of hours counting the ways in which Pope Francis is a PR genius, but now he seems to have outdone himself—or at least inspired Catholic Church officials in Limburg, Germany to follow his example.

Francis made headlines last week for temporarily suspending Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst, aka “The Bishop of Bling”, for embarrassing the Church worldwide by spending a reported $26 million to renovate his official residence. We’re not sure who thought it would be a good idea for bishops to live in mansions, especially those with $20,000 bathtubs, but now the Limburg organization wants to go a step further by forcing the Bishop out of his fancy house and turning it into a soup kitchen/homeless shelter.

There’s no official word on these plans yet, but a spokesperson for advocacy organization Caritas Internationalis (which is itself part of the Church) has apparently discussed the matter, saying:

“The residence is like an inherited sin which the bishop has left in his wake. People who seek sanctuary with us could be given food in the residence.”

Speaking as “typically ill-informed” members of the mainstream media, we see this as another step in the right direction. Also: the house looks cool but we think he may have overpaid a bit on that renovation—and the red just screams “please audit me!”

(Photo of protesters via Getty)

10 Reasons Why Pope Francis Is the Patron Saint of PR

Hate to break it to you, Saint Bernardino of Siena, but Pope Francis is the real patron saint of communications (if not “compulsive gambling” and “respiratory problems”).

Why, you ask? He’s only been Pope for a few months, and he’s already well into the project he’s prepared for his whole life: rebranding the Catholic Church for the 21st century.

The guy is, quite simply, a PR genius. Let’s review 10 reasons why.

1. He named himself after St. Francis of Assisi

He’s the first Pope Francis, and St. Francis was basically the original hippie. Raised rich, he chose to become a beggar, eschew all earthly possessions and live a solitary life communing with nature and straight up talking to animals like a scruffy Dr. Doolittle. You can’t get any more humble or anti-materialist than this dude.

What we’re saying is that the name alone sends a very strong message.

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2. He auctioned off his Harley Davidson for charity

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Oh Lesus Christ! Vatican Misses Editing on 6,000 Papal Medals.

Vatican_BoltThose of us whom actually adore the AP Stylebook are a nuisance to other flacks in the PR industry. My red pen is legendary with my co-workers. I’m not condescending or anything, but I really enjoy editing. From language to syntax, tonality to voice, these are good times.

And yes, I don’t have many friends, but I digress.

Understanding editing can actually be a gift for some people, you would think if one edited for say…God…you would really pay attention. At least I would for fear of finding a surge of instant energy in my behind.

Evidently, that’s not a large concern in Rome. The Vatican, to be more specific. I suppose when your boss is the Bishop of Rome (AKA Il Papa, The Pontiff, The Big Guy in the Sweet Ride, Pope Francis I), being killed for a minor edit wouldn’t become a bother because you don’t have far to go when you die.

So, enjoy this story from UPI. It discusses The Vatican having to recall 6,000 special medals meant to commemorate the inauguration of Pope Francis after a typo was discovered on the coin, misspelling Jesvs as “Lesvs.”

I don’t mean the “V”, which is Latin and they do things differently out of town. No, I mean jacking up the name of the Son of God. To wit, this story goes international and the Catholic News Service gets Interweb savvy and tweets it (thank you!)

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The Pope’s Progressive PR Moment: ‘Who am I to Judge’ Gay Priests?

The Catholic Church is usually one of the last institutions we would associate with words like “progressive” and “tolerant” in reference to homosexuality, but comments made by Pope Francis on Monday may signify the beginning of a major shift in attitude.

During a press conference aboard the pope’s overnight flight home from a week-long trip to Brazil, His Holiness was asked how he would respond to learning that a cleric in his ranks was gay, though not sexually active. Pope Francis answered by saying, “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?…You can’t marginalize these people.”

Considering that the Vatican has long regarded homosexuality as a disorder, and previous popes like Benedict XVI formally barred gay men from entering the priesthood, the weight of these remarks — though brief and simple as they may seem — cannot be overstated. Read more

Brazil Rethinks ‘Happy Prostitute’ PSAs

There’s a subtle art to PSAs, those heavy handed, publicly funded campaigns designed to remind us taxpayers to stand away from the platform edge, resist donating money to panhandlers, and avoid the dangers of tobacco (thank you, C-3PO).

But before last week, we’d never heard of a government’s PR team working to convince the rest of the world that local prostitutes are healthy, happy, and proud of their chosen line of work.

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