Pope Francis has given another interview to the owner of La Repubblica, the ninety year old Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist, who apparently doesn’t take notes during interviews and has a bad memory. More during the week about the substance of the interview, but the most interesting thing about it is the statement concerning the interview by Vatican press flack Father Federico Lombardi:
Pointing out that the conversation between the Pope and Scalfari is extremely cordial and friendly in tone, it is very interesting and contains issues like the wound of sexual abuse against minors and the attitude of the Church towards the mafia.
Lombardi says that, just as in other similar occasions, Scalfari quotes the Pope’s words using quotation marks; however – he points out – Scalfari relies only on memory as the conversation is not transcribed or recorded, nor does the Pope check or revise the article before it is published.
Therefore, Lombardi says, one must not consider it an “interview” in the habitual sense of the word as the journalist’s questions and the Pope’s answers are not related “word for word”. In this regard one must be especially careful, he continues, regarding some “quotes” that seem to affirm there are cardinals amongst the pedophiles, and that the Pope says he will find solutions regarding the celibacy of priests.
Lombardi points out that reading the article published in ‘La Repubblica’, these statements are clearly attributed to the Pope, but – curiously – the quotation marks are opened at the beginning of the paragraph and never closed… “A lapse of memory or an explicit acknowledgement the naïf reader is being manipulated?”
Okay, PopeWatch understands now. The Pope has given two interviews with a ninety year old journalist who does not take notes. The Pope does not check or revise the article before it is published. What the Pope purports to have said is interesting but we are not to trust the quotes. Sometimes PopeWatch wonders if this is a papacy or a very elaborate Monty Python skit.