Not everyone has access to a television or radio during the workday like those of us in the news business. But, as I was watching the announcement of the new Pope, it occurred to me how relatively few events can capture world attention, even for a short time. I don’t mean high-profile tragedies or wars — those are a given as attention magnets; I mean those events that are significant to the world community as a rite of passage or ceremony of note.
Whether or not one is Roman Catholic, it’s hard not to take pause or at least note when a new spiritual leader is chosen for 1.2 billion people, one-fourth of the world’s population. I don’t know how it compares to the election of a new American president, but I would guess it’s at least of greater interest than the selection of a new Secretary General of the U.N. I assume the coronation of a new monarch in England might draw a big worldwide audience, but truly, how often does the world stop to take notice of a non-violent event? Maybe the soccer World Cup or the Olympics? Or–heaven help us–the Oscars!