- Look at the title: "The Most Misunderstood Pope In History". Doesn't that make you want to ask why, in all the church's 2000-year history, Pope Francis has earned this title? Please don't blame it on the internet and blogs, for they were in force during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. These two pontiffs never had too much trouble making themselves understood (efforts of left-wing media notwithstanding).
- From 1:03 on, we hear an apology (?) for the pope's "off-hand way of talking". "Does he guard his words and consider that he should be much more circumspect in what he says and to whom? Well, it's just clear that's not his style...That's who he is. He has become the most ill-quoted and misrepresented pope in the history of the church". Leaving aside (for the moment) the exaggeration in that last sentence, can we see "cause and effect" being made plain? If anyone is careless in his speaking and with whom he speaks, he can expect all sorts of misquotes and misinterpretations to ensue. These misquotes, etc are an expected result of sloppiness in communication. That's true for anybody, as common sense dictates. When the speaker holds a position of great responsibility, his/her moral responsibility for misunderstanding increases commensurately for greater is the damage that can be done.
- Let's elaborate on the "that's not his style" quip. For now I'll consider Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, for they too dealt with hostile newsprint and electronic social media. I'm quite certain that both men had their own "styles". However, it seems to me that they never let their "styles" dominate their considerations in how best to communicate their message. They were willing to lay their "styles" aside so that the truths that they were trying communicate would not be obfuscated by delivery styles. They no doubt hoped to minimize any media distortion.
- At 1:26, he continues. "Does he need to stop talking to so many people in such an off-handed fashion? Well, that argument might be easily made, but face it, he's not gonna do that; that's not who he is." We'll stop right there. His "off-handed fashion of talking" is not an indelible feature of "who he is", any more than it would be for any of us. What is now an indelible feature of "who he is" is that he is the Vicar of Christ. He holds great responsibility. Granted, not all - in fact, very few - of his words will bear the weight of Church teaching. BUT many will place great stock in the most careless quip he utters. Right or wrong, that's a fact; will His Holiness continue to cause scandal to them?
- At 2:04 he mentions the interview (second one) with Scalfari and the subsequent "Vatican clarifications". He opines that the list of speculations is growing monotonous. Be that as it may, please review the three previous "bullet points" for the most probable causes behind this malady.
- At 3:21 he states that "even the Vatican itself doesn't know what the Pope said and then has to run around to find out what he said, who he said it to, and put out all kinds of fires whipped up in part by Catholics". The first part of that sentence may well be correct. It does seem like internal communications in the Vatican are an abysmal disaster. Why doesn't the Vatican know what he said? Without that basic knowledge, how can adequate translations be prepared in any timely fashion? It is that disheveled state of affairs that is the cause of "all kinds of fires", not the Catholics who dare to notice and state what is all too achingly obvious.
- At 3:40 he mentions the interview regarding "civil unions". Noting the various definitions that different nations place on given terms, might it not have been prudent of His Holiness to at least alert his communication office so that they could have prepared appropriate and timely translations? That might have helped prevent some of the hub-bub that Voris decried.
Moral of story? Pray that the pope learn from these disasters and take responsibility for what issues forth from his mouth. Real spiritual peril can result.
By the way - recall the first Scalfari interview? You know, the one that really wasn't an interview for it had not been reviewed by the Vatican but still managed to be posted to the Vatican website? It was pulled down in short order - but guess what? After the subsequent interview a week or two ago, the first interview reappeared on the Vatican website. Father Zuhlsdorf's blog has more detail - and today it came down again! Is there any kind of coordination in that office? I wrote a little ditty to (dis)honor this state of affairs; it can be sung to "The Hokey-Pokey". I'll post it before the Vortex.
They put the interview in.
They pull the interview out.
They put the interview in,
And they spin it all about.
They spew Lombardi's nonsense
And they turn it inside out.
That's what it's all about!