PopeWatch: Preventive Clarification



From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:


Speaking to journalists at his residence inside the Vatican this morning, Pope Emeritus Benedict answered journalists’ questions concerning the currently debated question of whether or not the use of preventive clarifications is acceptable for Papal interviews.

“It is important not to attribute simplistically the comments made by the Pope during many of his off-the-cuff interviews to error,” Benedict said. “That would be a great inaccuracy. It is true that the history of this Pope contains a tendency to say random things that seem to anger some traditional Catholic sensibilities, but the fact is that he has not gone against the traditions of his predecessors.”

A  journalists from EOTT pressed him, asking the former head of the Catholic Church if the Catechism of the Catholic Church permits “preventive clarifications” in exceptional cases.

“The concept of preventive clarification does not appear in the Catechism,” Benedict stated, adding in clarification, “We cannot simply say that the Catechism does not justify clarifications of what Francis is going to say, but it is true that the Catechism has developed a doctrine which on one hand does not deny that man does have free will, that the Pope is a man, and therefore he, as man, can say things without considering how quickly the media can and will jump on anything he says without a second thought. The problem that we face, of course, is that Francis does not stick to script, but rather, tends to trail off into a wide variety of topics, so that even if we can justify preventive clarifications, how could the Vatican know beforehand when it’s time to clarify a yet-to-be-said statement, or what it is exactly that they are about to clarify? These are many of the questions that must be discussed.”


When asked to comment Pope Francis said, Sorry I am late for an airplane interview.

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  1. Here is an interesting attempt to achieve clarity, a hope to prevent preventive clarifications:

    ” The link below is to a petition first signed by Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, Cardinal Walter Brandmueller, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, among many other prominent Catholic personalities. It filially requests His Holiness Pope Francis, to make a clear statement upholding the traditional, orthodox teaching of the Church on the issues of Holy Communion for the divorced and “remarried”, and homosexual unions. The context of the petition is the present time of preparation for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family. The petition is being circulated internationally in a number of different languages.

    I have just signed the petition and warmly encourage you to consider not only signing it, but also forwarding it to your own email contacts who you anticipate will be in sympathy with this important initiative. It can be accessed and signed at the following link. This is the kind of petition that needs not just tens, but hundreds of thousands of signatures to make a real impact. (And don’t worry – unlike so many petition drives, this one doesn’t have ‘strings attached’, and I mean tugging at your purse-strings!)


    Let us also pray and make sacrifices during the upcoming Lenten season with the intention that the October Synod and the Holy Father do not yield ground to the relentless and powerful spirit of the world, and firmly uphold Catholic teaching and discipline on these matters which are so vital for the well-being of marriage and the family. “

  2. Philip: I did, too. It’s a way to communicate the sense of apparent imbalance revealed in the outreach and rejection; and to defend faith, reason, and reverence. (which is becoming sadly necessary)

  3. If The bishops will not uphold the Church the laity must do it.

    In the days of Arius the heretical bishop, the laity rose up, grabbed him out of his residence, threw him outside the city gate and closed the doors behind him.

  4. Eye of the Tiber is slipping. Preventative Clarification would not be a matter for the Catechism but rather for Canon Law or the Apostolic Constitution. Oy Vey!

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