Often times Popes are asked questions they would be wiser to decline to answer simply because the answer has nothing to do with the Faith, and their response would be a personal opinion rather than one that pertains to their office. A perfect example is this question and response in the La Vanguardia interview:
All division worries me. There is independence by emancipation and independence by secession. The independences by emancipation, for example, are American, that they were emancipated from the European States. The independences of nations by secession is a dismemberment, sometimes it’s very obvious. Let’s think of the former Yugoslavia. Obviously, there are nations with cultures so different that couldn’t even be stuck together with glue. The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases. Scotland, Padania, Catalunya. There will be cases that will be just and cases that will not be just, but the secession of a nation without an antecedent of mandatory unity, one has to take it with a lot of grains of salt and analyze it case by case.
This response has caused something of a minor furor in Scotland where the Scottish National Party is in charge and dreams of a socialist Scotland, with Queen Elizabeth still queen, afloat on North Sea oil. Go here to read one of many articles in Scotland on the Pope’s comment. Of course the Pope should not have any position on whether people in Scotland get their welfare checks from London or Edinburgh. It simply is not relevant to his office as Pope and he does the Church no favors when he ventures personal opinions on questions that are not his concern as Pope. Besides, he might get Mel Gibson crazy-angry and that could be dangerous!