Invoking telegenic miracles for favor

on . Posted in English texts


Every year we see the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin turned into a trade fair. We don't just mean the stalls outside churches, the souvlaki and cotton candy, but also what is being "sold" inside. Politicians have a first-rate opportunity to parade their piety, the archbishop to show the softer side of his character (he cried for the cameras several times) and television channels to air countless miracles of the Virgin. We counted more miracles on a one-hour show on Tuesday than there ever were in the four gospels of the New Testament. Television had it all... except resurrections, but at the rate things are going it is only a matter of time before we see that too.

The largest and most important part of journalism is supposed to be verifying news... Indeed, the more unlikely an item sounds, the more necessary it is to cross-check it, both to preserve the integrity of journalists and the media to which the journalists are affiliated.

But how is Greek television journalism to know any better? Station executives are not looking for news any longer. They are simply looking for better ratings from AGB. They "reveal" the story of children being abducted from supermarkets, companies selling cages for children and saints' relics that do not decompose... Within this context of impression-mongering, they have included the annual miracle work of the Virgin. They are preying on the faith of the people to sell their shows... What used to circulate by word of mouth as myth has become the lead story of news bulletins...

Worse still, they are doing this unhindered. No one intervenes. Not the journalists' unions, which should be speaking out against these gross breaches of ethics. And not the Church, which has strict rules governing the declaration of a miracle...

KATHIMERINI English Edition, 18/08/2006