On Vatican media relations by Fr. Raymond de Souza

Fr. Raymond de Souza is a Canadian priest who is also a prolific writer, commentator, columnist and editor of Convivium Magazine.

Here are some excerpts from a piece he wrote for the Catholic Herald:

A few days later, La Repubblica published the third interview that Pope Francis has granted to Eugenio Scalfari, causing headlines around the world about priestly paedophilia and “finding solutions” to the question of priestly celibacy, which the Holy Father said dated from the 10th century, not apostolic times.

Within hours of the interview being published the Holy See press spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, issued a statement reminding everyone that Scalfari neither takes notes nor records his interviews with Pope Francis, so that it is not possible to attribute to the Holy Father what in fact Scalfari attributes to him. The Holy See press office was thus in the awkward position of implying either that the Holy Father was wrong on his facts or that he was imprudent in talking to the unreliable Scalfari again. More than a few observers commented that Lord Patten’s commission could not begin work soon enough.

But that is to confuse two different things. Lord Patten’s commission will not do anything to “find solutions”, to borrow Scalfari’s phrasing, for papal statements. Media problems originating in the papal apartment – whether it be in the apostolic palace or the Domus Sanctae Marthae – cannot be solved by anyone other than the Pope who is the cause of them.


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2 Responses to On Vatican media relations by Fr. Raymond de Souza

  1. Richard Grand says:

    Do we pick up that this is a negative “take” on Pope Francis from this?

  2. Foolishness says:

    I do not think it is a negative take on Pope Francis, but it is a constructive criticism of his and Pope Benedict’s media relations strategy (or lack of one) that kept their media advisors out of the loop so they were unable to advise against things that turned out to be media relations problems For Benedict, it was the Holocaust-denying Williamson, and the quote in the Regensburg address; for Francis, the Scalfari interviews and other activities that have caught his media reps by surprise.

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