Wednesday 12 June 2019

Popes speaking impromptu is a very new thing

An interesting article in the Catholic Herald says that, well into the reign of Pope St John XXIII, the Vatican's official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, would report that a statement had been “gathered from the august lips of the Supreme Pontiff”. 

The habit of popes answering questions from journalists is a new one (but so is the habit of journalists questioning British ministers or intruding on Tory leadership elections). Pope St Paul VI occasionally made extemporaneous remarks, Pope St John Paul II started the
habit of talking to journalists on planes and Pope Benedict XVI, who was clever enough to talk well extemporaneously, did it a lot more. Pope Francis does it all the time.

"If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?" was said on Pope’s first plane trip, "at the end of an airborne press conference that lasted more than an hour."

It now appears that some things that the Pope says are omitted from the official record. In a speech that Francis addressed on April 7 to a school in Milan, the words in italics were not mentioned in the official transcript:

“And here I touch on a sore spot: do not be afraid of migrants. ‘But, Father, the migrants…’ We are the migrants! Jesus was a migrant. Do not be afraid of migrants. ‘But they are criminals!…’ We too have so many of them: the mafia was not invented by the Nigerians: it is a ‘merit,’ in quotes, of the nation, eh? The mafia is ours, made in Italy: it is ours. We all have the possibility of being criminals. Migrants are those who bring us riches, always. Europe too was made by migrants! The barbarians, the Celts… all these who came from the north and brought their cultures, Europe grew like this, with the contrast of cultures.”

Yet though the Pope is so loquacious with journalists he said, when asked about Archbishop Vigano that he knew about and covered up allegations about Cardinal McCarrick in August 2018 he refused to answer and said, 'I will not say a single word more'. 

He kept to this promise until two weeks ago, when in an interview with the press he explained that he did not remember whether Archbishop Vigano had told him or not about Cardinal McCarrick. In the transcript of the interview important words were missing, making it seem at first as if he denied knowing.

It is not just popes who talk to the papers. Archbishop Vigano just did and said to the Washington Post that the Pope is "blatantly lying to the whole world to cover up his wicked deeds" in allegedly protecting McCarrick.

He also said, “Francis needs to reconcile himself with God, and the entire Church, since he covered up for McCarrick, refuses to admit it, and is now covering up for several other people.”
Archbishops have not spoken of the Pope in such terms before now, at least publicly, since the time of the Anti-Popes.

How much the authority of the Church and the Pope is being undermined.  The power of  the mainstream media to set the news is becoming greater than ever, while also becoming weaker than ever because of the internet.

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