Funeral games

John Lloyd, a Finan­cial Times edi­tor, makes a good case that “the stern, illib­er­al and anti-mod­ern …  John Paul” could only have viewed this week’s media ecsta­sy as a tragedy. bq. In Rome this week, we have seen anoth­er kind of fren­zy: a media-assist­ed swarm­ing about the body of the Pope. This has been gen­er­ous­ly inter­pret­ed as devo­tion but it seems to car­ry ele­ments of some­thing at once more atavis­ti­cal­ly ancient and fever­ish­ly mod­ern. Ancient, in that the pil­grims who queued for hours came with the same desire to pos­sess a rel­ic of the depart­ed holy one as did the faith­ful lured by the huck­ster­ism of par­don­ers to buy a sliv­er of the True Cross or the bone of a saint. Mod­ern, in that they bore dis­pos­able cam­eras and mobile phones with which to cap­ture an elec­tron­ic rel­ic that, unlike the medieval fakes, will always be “real”. “FT”:

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