Pope Francis and “Father” Bergoglio

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Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, over at his Midwest Conservative Journal  takes a look at the cold call imbroglio:

A new Roman Catholic Doctrinal FirestormTM has recently erupted:

Did Pope Francis tell a divorced and remarried woman that it was okay to take Communion even though her parish priest denied her the host?

That’s the latest kerfuffle created by the “cold-call” pope who on Monday, the day after Easter, called an Argentine woman who had written to him about whether she should receive communion at Mass even though she was divorced and remarried.

“There are priests who are more papist than the pope,” the pope himself reportedly told Jacquelina Lisbona.

Kudos to CNN, which UPDATES the story with reporting from three continents (literally): CNN has a Vatican spokesman confirming that the call did indeed take place, but the Rev. Thomas Rosica provided no details.

“It’s between the Pope and the woman,” said Rosica, a consultant for the Vatican press office.

“To draw any conclusions about this particular situation, that the Pope may be setting an agenda, is incorrect,” Rosica told the network. “The Pope is first and foremost an esteemed pastor, and dealing with a human situation is always complex.”

That’s good to keep in mind, though if the contents of the pope’s conversation with Lisbona are true, then this is a big deal, at least in terms of the example Francis is setting rather than the doctrine that he is not changing.

Here’s the woman’s account of the phone call.

“The phone rang and my husband answered. It was Fr. Bergoglio calling. The father asked to speak to me and my husband asked: ‘Who’s calling?’, to which the voice replied ‘Fr. Bergoglio.’ I asked him if it was really him, the pope, and he said it was and that he was calling in response to my letter dated September.

“Then he told me there are some priests who are more papist that the pope. He was completely normal with me on the phone and I tried to speak to him with the utmost respect. Now I am overwhelmed by the enormous effect this story has had and I feel moved by the fact that I spoke to Francis. I told him I would write to him again when I take Communion again.”

Was this call actually made?  It seems to have been.

Yes, the pope called Jacquelina Lisbona. The real question regards the content of the conversation. If indeed he said those things this would be a big deal because she is still in what the church would call an “irregular” marriage. Her husband is divorced, and they have not been married in the church.

In any case, Francis once again has set an example for the rest of the hierarchy even without changing church law, and it’s in keeping with the pope’s character — Francis has frequently shown little patience with priests who are “little monsters” (his words) who cite “small-minded” rules rather than ministering mercy to people.

Damian Thompson has posts on this story up here and here.  This site’s Catholic readership can hash this out in the comments (in fact, I hope you guys do) but I am, for the most part, going to adhere to MCJ policy about controversial Roman Catholic news stories, hold off for a few days and wait to see how this thing plays out.

But somebody is going to have to remind Francis of the difference between a parish priest and the leader of a great Christian church as well as the reigning sovereign of the world’s oldest, continuous monarchy.  Parish priests have a certain rhetorical latitude that popes do not, indeed cannot, have.

Hate to burst your rose-colored illusions there, Johnson, but divorced people and non-Catholics take Communion in Catholic parishes all the time.  Maybe so but it’s one thing when some parish priest, who’s either not that versed in Catholic doctrine or who doesn’t care, allows this sort of thing to go on.

It’s quite another thing when the Pope hints that it’s really not that big of a deal.

As we Anglicans know all too well, your church can kill one of its doctrines without actually having to kill it.  Ask any given Episcopal squishop whether the Episcopal Organization has changed the definition of marriage and he/she will angrily deny it.

Never mind the fact that homosexual marriages the “blessing of same-sex unions” go on in that squishop’s diocese all the time and that he/she is perfectly happy with the idea; hell, he/she’s even performed a few him/herself.

In the Episcopal Organization, that squishop will remind you, the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is strictly reserved for a man and a woman.  So we obviously haven’t changed Christian teaching on marriage at all and it’s libelous to suggest that we have.

And that’s how it’s done.  You don’t need to get popes to speak ex cathedra or to force through legislation in non-Catholic churches; all you really need to do is to apply the English language in new and creative ways.


Go here to read the comments.  The most important job for any Pope is to preserve intact the teachings of the Church handed down generation after generation from the time of the Crucifixion.  Pope Francis, or Father  Bergoglio as he sometimes refers to himself, seems to prefer a pastoral role where he can soothe souls without upholding the teachings of the Church, the upholding of teachings often requiring very tough love indeed.  If he is unwilling or unable to uphold the teachings of the Church out of a preference for being pastoral, he might wish to talk to the Pope Emeritus about how sweet life in retirement can be for a Pope.

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  1. Every other week seems to bring a story indicating the man is unsuitable for the office he holds. The conclave made what appears to have been a tragic error.

  2. Cardinal Wojtyła, when he heard of the death of John Paul I, reportedly went to the Blessed Sacrament and prayed about the meaning of this short reign. I think we too have to go the the Blessed Sacrament to try to understand what the Holy Spirit is doing through (in spite of?) Pope Francis.

    My initial take is that the Spirit is using this Pope to prune the vine. What Francis says can be squared with Catholic teaching but, given society, it is frequently misinterpreted and used to lead many away from Christ. That is not what Francis intends I’m sure. But it may very well be what God intends.

  3. An interesting take, Philip.

    His treatment of fellow priests disturbs me. What about telling someone who is, in fact, not able to receive communion, that doing so is sinful, is “papist” or monstrous? Sure, there has been far too much coverup in the Church to protect fellow clergy BUT we aren’t talking about a priest who did something wrong: quite the opposite, really.

    If we are going to have men answer their calling, it cannot be that the whole world is against them, including their pope.

  4. My maniac opinion: Divorce is not only a sin of adultery. It can be a sin against charity and forgiveness. One or both spouses could not forgive and that broke up the marriage. We never hear anyhing like this anymore: One of the Spiritual Works sin “Forgive all injuries.”

    Of course, if the woman and the pope think being happy in the here-and-now is more vital than being happy in the hereafter, the “more Catholic” among us may as well be spitting in the ocean.

  5. It seems clear that the call was made which seems foolish to begin with. Whether the Pope said what the lady reports is not clear.

    What is clear is that Francis continues to do “his thing” regardless of consequences. This certainly is not humble. Also, as was said to me in residency, this Pope seems refractory to learning. So be it. That makes him a fool and God will do with fools as He wills.

  6. His treatment of fellow priests disturbs me

    You could have said that about his predecessor once-removed on occasion, especially re the priests who had carefully explained to their lady parishioners why the assumptions of lay girl culture were invalid re the liturgy who were then told one fine day that it would ‘enrich’ the liturgy for them to be assisted by young girls who could never be ordained.

  7. Who has the authority to suspend his phone privileges? A month into his papacy and I thought him to be the most provincial pontiff of my memory; his every act seems to justify my initial assessment.

  8. ‘ ” There are priests who are more papist than the pope,” the pope himself reportedly told Jacquelina Lisbona. ‘

    Pope Francis is making it easy for most priests to fall into this category—increasingly so every day. Now, if only he could be a pope.

    Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires, a good friend of Bergoglio, calls him “a revolutionary.” It is hard to be both pope and revolutionary at once.

    As the Church moves almost inevitably in the direction of internal schism under this reincarnation of Bergoglio’s mentor and revolutionary model, Card. Carlo Maria Martini, I do wonder if the Pontiff-Revolutionary will ever come to be more temperate in his comments, realizing it is easier to cook a live frog by slowly increasing the heat, rather than lighting up the Weber full-blast.

    So, each day, inexorably, he is clearly showing more and more people where he appears to be going. The SSPX and other fractious groups already realized it in the 1st 12 months. More and more people, like Christopher Johnson, are forced to realize it each day. This isnt going to be pretty.

  9. Steve, it isn’t so much like a weber gas grill being set to full blast as it is like a reactor about to go prompt critical when reactivity exceeds the effective delayed neutron precursor fraction. Startup rate becomes infinite. That is never a good thing and that is what this man seems to be doing to the Church. He is liberal. He cannot help himself for what he is, but God gives us the leaders we need. Maybe a reactivity excursion is exactly what God intends. It does have a way (albeit destructive) of blowing away the chaff.

  10. Interesting analogy Paul. I personally feel that, if this report has any substantive truth to it, that Pope Francis is about to become a very self conflicted individual. He is, probably for the first time in years, attending the School of Hard Knocks that most of us know very well. He is not going to stop being a liberal, but he is likely to become more unhappy if he cannot be more careful with his impulsive generosity. I take the Vatican’s refusal to release more details as a reflection of this view.

  11. Is this Pope Francis’ idea of Divine Mercy?

    Are his inspirations fueling the actions that are contradictory to church teaching, and if so are there ANY limitations to these inspirations?

    In my opinion this is THE question.

    If suddenly he is moved by the (s)pirit to eradicate centuries old tradition and teaching, then Mr. McCleary’s last sentence may be great advice; “…talk to Pope Emeritus about how sweet life in retirement can be for a Pope.”

  12. Isn’t it a delight to be led by an exhibitionist? For my part, I’m just about at the end of my rope.

    Oddly enough, Belloc leapt to mind today.

    “We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on these faces there is no smile.”

  13. I said it before. I never wanted a pope from Latin America. He is not qualified for the job. he says and does what he wants, almost as if to get back at the cardinals who elected him to be pope.

    We shall survive Jorge Bergoglio as the Holy Father. The Church survived Borgia, not without great harm being done in the process.

  14. Mr. Price,

    I have been at the end of my rope since 1989 when my wife’s insurrection started then moved to adultery, all with the open public support of the Catholic Church everywhere she and her lover have
    slept together, since. Buck up. It gets worse and worse and worse. All we have is Jesus Christ. We must follow him. It is about time that monsters like Francis have stepped out from the closet to show us who the real leaders of the Catholic Church have become and have been for a long, long time.

    As furious as I am at this man, I am glad he is “out”. Men like him are who I have seen behind the scenes for decades.

  15. Belloc also leapt to my mind today — again:

    “The Catholic Church is an institute run with such knavish imbecility that, were the hand of God not upon Her, She would perish within a fortnight.”

  16. It should be obvious, especially to a faithful Catholic, that both a modicum of charity and common sense would demand not commenting in the manner we see here until we have the necessary facts. And from what I can see, we are not even close to having them in this case.

  17. Fr. Frank:
    “Belloc also leapt to my mind today — again:
    “The Catholic Church is an institute run with such knavish imbecility that, were the hand of God not upon Her, She would perish within a fortnight.””
    Blessed Belloc.
    Karl: “As furious as I am at this man, I am glad he is “out”. Men like him are who I have seen behind the scenes for decades.”

    Identify the man’s error and correct him. Prayers.

  18. I’m with Greg on this one. We don’t know what PF said. Perhaps we think the phone thing not a good idea, but we still don’t know the content. A statement from PF about the content seems appropriate or at least desirable.

  19. A call and conversation between the Pope and the woman did take place. That we know. Apparently there was some discussion concerning her (alone?) ability/permission to receive Holy Communion. The statement that a divorced person [note: simply divorced] is able to receive Holy Communion with not issues etc also sounds right. But that is is far as I can figure out what actually took place [it is like historical research lol]

    Now, enters the husband, who is the one who has been divorced and is now remarried. We have no idea about his background and faith life [his “wife” was the one who wrote the Pope; seems like he could have cared less] Now he explodes on Facebook more bragging than anything else that the Pope called. Almost everything is coming through his lips/fingers. Like the atheist Italian editor who as an octagenarian recalled the words of the Pope from his memory (with all of his ‘theological astuteness and sensitivity as an atheist) this man puts forward his version of the pope’s call. Almost everything is coming filtered through him. How accurate is this? And we are going to rest our ‘positions’ concerning Pope Francis’ direction in Church teaching on this evidence?

    Now, I won’t argue that a phone call by any cleric (never mind a pope) on such a complex issue as marriage and divorce is nothing but ‘warning, warning’ written all over it. No argument over this at all. However if we are honest with ourselves, we will just have to sit back and wait, and see if more reliable information comes forth. No matter what happened, even if the pope did indeed say stuff even close to what the husband said he did, his level of authority on that phone call was no more than that of a parish priest (at the most).

    In short, the sky is not falling.

  20. We sure as Hell know what the Pope didn’t say–he didn’t offer an unconditional defense of the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.

    Otherwise, Lombardi and Rosica would have worked that into the press release yesterday. They didn’t. They offered a Glomar response instead.

    Look, gentlemen, I appreciate your efforts to be charitable here, but the truth is, we have a *lot* of facts here. What we don’t have are any *good* facts on behalf of the Pope.

    Charity also must be extended to the couple in question. Throw in longstanding legal practice (the “excited utterance” concept found in the rules of evidence which began in the Church) suggest that the Pope did precisely what the couple say he did. Then there’s the little matter of the Pope swooning over Kasper’s proposal to let objectively adulterous remarrieds receive communion.

    We have a bushel of facts. None of them are exculpatory, alas, but that can’t change how bad this really is.

  21. People perceive what they wish to perceive in many many cases-if not most. Isn’t that the whole point of blogs?

  22. Sad. The personal respect I have for the pope is low, and I am sad about the looming loss of respect around the world for the office, which will shortly see the office not as the vicar of the Eternal Christ, specially protected to discern and teach the Timeless and Eternal Truth, but a social political management position…. whose leadership may not reflect a lean on the Holy Spirit but on the spirit of the age.
    Yes I’ve read papal history yes I know we will survive, but survive in what condition… battered and bruised.
    The attack here is so huge. Not just what is suggested by this reported phone call, and our fear that it is true, based on his statement about Kasper and other imbroglios. This is huge because the issue is NOT restricted to teaching about marriage and family, but also to the meaning of reception of the Eucharist, admission to the Eucharist, esp. plain if we remember the early Church’s dismissal of the catechumens, clearly demanding that those who would receive would be those who BELIEVE with the Church. We know that breaking one commandment is breaking them all—breaking that trust. And that little phrase sums up my anguish about this pope, Breaking Trust.

  23. Perhaps in his humble generosity he just can’t judge if two lesbians should bring their child to receive the Sacrament of Initiation in the Church. Or if people sacramentally married to two spouses should feel free to receive the Eucharist.
    As a matter of fact why have any restrictions at all– doesn’t God love everybody- surely there is universal salvation.
    The mysterious tension between justice and mercy is constant on this mortal coil, Grace canNot be cheap. That would be reminiscent of the slithering one at the foot of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil– surely God would want you to have this apple…
    St Paul to the Corinthians
    11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 28Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For all who eat and drink* without discerning the body,* eat and drink judgement against themselves. 30For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.* 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. 32But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined* so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

  24. Why did Pope Francis call?” Mary De Voe.
    When I was rearing my kids , one would do something and I would ask with intensity and exasperation. “why did you do that!?” And they could only look at me with “big eyes” and no answer because there Was No reason or reasoning behind it.
    Botolph I agree with you that we tend to see what we are disposed to see. I pray for the grace to see and recognize and submit to the truth.

  25. I guess I should not be surprised, given the conservative slant of this site,about the appalling lack of Christian charity, but I am. It is like none of the responders have gotten the message of love and forgiveness that is central to the Gospel.

  26. What a glorious day in which the Church recognizes what God has already done through Jesus Christ in the Spirit: we have two new saints! Saint Pope John XXIII and Saint Pope John Paul II. Gloria tibi Domine!

    I was fascinated, btw, at what Cardinal Burke had to say in an interview this weekend, concerning all the broo hah hah concerning this phone call. It is worth a listen, brothers and sisters.

    Again, a Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday!

  27. Did Robert Hurley say that he should not be surprised that conservatives are lacking in charity?
    He should have known better! He already knew conservatives were uncharitable!

  28. I’m trying to remember. Wasn’t there once an Ecumenical Council where the laity rose up against what was perceived as false teaching by the bishops? Clearly there also once was such a rising against cardinals who delayed for a year the election of a new pope.

  29. The “lack of charity” commenters always remind me of the parable of the Pharisee in the Synagogue, thanking God he is not like those other sinners. The irony is they so often like to label everyone not precisely like them as Pharisees.

  30. Dale Price: “We sure as Hell know what the Pope didn’t say–he didn’t offer an unconditional defense of the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage..”
    Amen. Couldnt have said it better.

    As for the choice comment on deficient-charity-types (“given the conservative slant of this site,about the appalling lack of Christian charity), I recall what one teacher observed of Christ in the Gospels: Jesus uses the word for “mercy” or its cognates (ἐλέους, [eleous, such as Kyrie eleison] or its derivatives, depending on how you count them, about 50x’s in the 4 Gospels, because after all, His is a Gospel of forgiveness and mercy. But Jesus also uses the words for judgment (κρίμα,”krima”, a judgment implying a condemnation, or κρίσις, ‘krisis”) well over 100 x’s, as many as 130 in my counting.

    Now what about Hell, that thing we dont talk about any more? Depending on how you count the word for hel, a place of consequence for evil actions (i.e. hades. or the Hebrew equivalent “gehenna”, or “everlasting fire”, & other similar equivalents), it is used about 30x’s or so in the NT. It is NEVER used by evil and misogynist and patriarchal St. Paul.

    But the largest number of references of a place of final punishment—19x’s is by Christ. Oh, and the Beloved Disciple has numerous references to a place of punishment in the Book of Revelation.

    My point is: the true Gospel message is one of mercy, tempered with sharp warnings of punishment—a lot like Our Lady of Fatima’s message to the 3 children, BTW. So, it seems to me there is more charity in truthfulness than in lying to people about the demanding moral code of the NT. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” (Mt. 7:13). Yes, it should keep one up nights thinking about it, rather than rubbing people’s bellies and telling them to go to sleep.

  31. Dale Price: “We sure as Hell know what the Pope didn’t say–he didn’t offer an unconditional defense of the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage..” –

    How do you know Dale? Were you privy to the conversation?

  32. “How do you know Dale? Were you privy to the conversation? ”

    Because the Vatican said no such thing, that’s why. And the couple privy to the conversation said the exact opposite.

    This is not that hard. In fact, it’s really easy.

  33. It is deeply, deeply annoying to have demands for “charitable interpretation” in the face of *ALL* of the evidence to the contrary. I guess the Lisbonas are foul, fetid liars and the Pope is just the hapless victim of their cunning plan to trap him?

    The problem, Greg, is that there aren’t any facts which indicate that Christ’s teaching was defended and plenty to the contrary. That’s frustrating for you–and me, believe it or not. The fact that you choose not to draw any conclusions in the face of this dispiriting evidence does not make you morally superior.

  34. “Because the Vatican said no such thing, that’s why. And the couple privy to the conversation said the exact opposite. This is not that hard. In fact, it’s really easy – ”

    So, because the Holy See makes no comment one way or the other, that means we know what the Pope didn’t say? As far, as the Lisbonas are concerned, I am not drawing any conclusions there either. All we have is what the husband said on Facebook. Again, where’s this “evidence” you speak of, Dale? The pope just unequivocally upheld the indissolubility of marriage during an address to South African Swiss bishops. So, if what do in fact know is an indication of anything, it would argue against the position you are staking.

    No, I am not claiming any moral superiority. I’m just using enough common sense not to draw conclusions when is not sufficient evidence to do so.

  35. Well, Greg M. if this is so, that PF is really clear and solid on the indissolubility of marriage of a sudden now, why did he organize a synod for next November to examine the issue of marriage and divorced Catholics? Why would you open up a topic for free debate with the obvious expectation that the teaching is going to be changed, without implicitly committing to that expected change? Why would PF choose as his keynote speaker none other than Card. Kasper, at the February episcopal convocation, Kasper, who has a noted history of opposition to the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage? Why, indeed.

    If PF now really wants to give one of his classic contradictory messages (such as his solidly attributed statement about “being obsessed with abortion, gay marriage and contraception” [Sept 19, 2013] and then on other occasions defending the opposite), this weather-vane leadership at the very least portrays a Pontiff-Revolutionary who hasnt thought things through and doesnt have a grasp intellectually of what he sees ahead and where he is taking the Church. He lacks a clear and specific focus (look at the jaw-dropping almost phantasmagoric confusion of ideas replete in Evangelii Gaudium, 80+ pages of intellectual spaghetti), a “I’m-going-to-do no. 1, this; no.2, that; and no 3…”
    There’s one thing he is clear on– he hates traditional Catholics. But that is a good thing, today.

  36. No, I am not claiming any moral superiority. I’m just using enough common sense not to draw conclusions when is not sufficient evidence to do so.

    If only Bergolgio were an American Bishop, then Mr. Mockeridge wouldn’t be so easy. In fact he’d be here writing comments about how TAC isn’t taking a sufficiently hard enough stance. Ultramontanism for the win, Alex!

  37. Paul:

    When Pope Francis starts to slander states with Obama like race baiting for enacting morally legitimate laws to protect themselves from from the dangers of cartel run illegal immigration or begins to equate opposition to illegal immigration with violating religious liberty, you can I will be the first person to go after him. Now if only Mr Zummo can muster up enough intellectual honesty to accurately represent my views before attacking then we might be able to have a real debate.

  38. Mr Phoenix:

    If you actually read what Pope Francis said, you will see that he doesn’t say we are “being obsessed with abortion, gay marriage and contraception”. Here is the statement in its entirety :

    “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

    “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. ”

    You will note that he doesn’t use the word “obsessed” in relation to abortion gay marriage and contraception, but with “the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. ”

    Nor does the Pope say that we should not talk about these things or lower our voices, but he says: “But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear…”

    As far as his “hatred” for Traditional Catholics is concerned, yeah he hates them so much, he says:

    “By way of the celebration of the sacred Mysteries according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite and the orientations of the Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as by passing on the apostolic faith as it is presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, may they contribute, in fidelity to the living Tradition of the Church, to a better comprehension and implementation of the Second Vatican Council.”


    You know there is a statement in that interview of September 2013 that does bother me: “Let us think of when slavery was accepted or the death penalty was allowed without any problem.” I have thought that Church leaders, including the Pope taking sides on the issue of the death penalty has been harmful to the Church. Again Paul Zummo, you know I have said this on many occasions. So, your accusing me of Ulatramonitism is a flat out lie.

    By the way, the fact that TAC is more concerned about what Pope Francis said or may have said than the scandalous actions noted above of the USCCB and several individual bishops, when the former are innocuous by comparison, to put it mildly, betrays a rather unflattering truth.

  39. Paul, you can read more of my “Ultramonitism” where I take issue with the rather silly assertions of your Catholic Stand colleague Gary Zimak tha”[t]he vast majority of attacks are coming from individuals who love Christ and His Church. What’s unusual is that their love is being expressed in anger, disrespect and language that is dangerously close to heresy.” here:


  40. Steve Phoenix wrote, “why did he organize a synod for next November to examine the issue of marriage and divorced Catholics?”

    The Synod is to discuss the whole issue of the family (of which “the issue of… divorce Catholics is a part)

  41. What’s the evidence? Here you go.



    And let me develop it further–the Vatican essentially admitted the phone call took place as those horrible frauds reported it to the press. Because basically, you are refusing to account for the myriad press accounts, which agree on the particulars. I haven’t heard the Lisbonas threatening to sue, and libel is easier to prove outside our shores.

    So, here’s the Vatican’s statement in toto:

    [br]”Several telephone calls have taken place in the context of Pope Francis’ personal pastoral relationships.
    Since they do not in any way form part of the Pope’s public activities, no information or comments are to be expected from the Holy See Press Office.
    That which has been communicated in relation to this matter, outside the scope of personal relationships, and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion.
    Therefore, consequences relating to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred from these occurrences.” [/br]

    First of all, it’s directed at unspecified phone call*s*. He’s also called an advocate of the “Slow Food” movement to express solidarity, for example.

    [br]So, it’s conveniently evasive. Also, it talks about “amplification”–which hardly suggests falsehood–just a sad note at how much of a kerfuffle it’s been blown up to. Again, deft evasion. Also evasive is the money line “cannot be confirmed as reliable.” Which amplifications? Which doesn’t give anyone bent on tarring the media reports as inaccurate much to work with. [/br]

    But the killer is the plea to not infer “consequences relating to the teaching of the Church” from the call(s). There wouldn’t *be* consequences if he had simply told the Lisbonas that he wanted to assure them of his solidarity and accompaniment as he reaffirmed the indissolubility of marriage.

  42. And Mr MPS and Mr Greg M, why did P choose Card. Kasper, a well known dissident on the indissolubility of marriage, as key–note speaker for the February cardinals’ convocation? I didn’t hear your PF-defense on that malaprop. (Interesting.) I think your work must be exhausting.

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