It is interesting to review them. I remember how valiantly I tried initially to combat media reports by encouraging people to read the transcript of the whole interview on the plane or the whole article in a Jesuit Magazine etc. to get the context.
I have kind of given up. There is too much. The Pope speaks too much and he speaks spontaneously and incautiously. I like the former—the spontaneity and the life in his homilies is a wonderful contrast to the dry reading of a text by men who seldom know how to lift it off the page. It is refreshing. I do not like the latter because it leaves Pope Francis open to misinterpretation and for the creation of this Media Pope Francis that may have nothing to do at all with the real man and what he’s trying to do as Holy Father.
I was thinking though, about the so-called public relations disasters of say Pope Benedict. Take the Regensburg address. It was so clear from the beginning that the reaction to the text had nothing to do with this prophetic document and the Pope was completely innocent in regard to the bizarre response that ended up killing more than 100 people in rioting and the setting of fire of embassies and barbaric stuff like that.
There was a clarity and precision in Benedict even when he was speaking off the cuff that was like a drink of living water in the desert. Yes, there was a lot of negative reaction to him, but one could clearly see he was a sign of contradiction to the world for speaking the truth. No, he did not deliver a text well. He was not like John Paul II with his actor’s training and ability to project. He was not photogenic either.
In thinking about Pope Francis and the headlines that came out of the recent synod regarding the midterm relatio, then later when there seemed to be a revolt of the synod fathers against it, there is not that kind of clarity that shows the clear light of truth being “comprehended not” by the world. As one journalist who was in Rome for the synod told me, the mainstream media basically reported accurately on the mid term relatio and there probably aren’t many journalists who would not believe Pope Francis at least tacitly approved the midterm report.
It’s sad that the final synod report and the Pope’s closing address to the synod did not get more coverage and in the world’s eyes through the msm he is deemed to have a gay agenda and to be for changing the discipline on marriage regarding divorced and remarried Catholics. While Benedict did not give reason for the highly negative media campaign against him; Pope Francis’ incautious remarks and actions do make it easier to believe the mainstream media’s interpretations. Thus, it is good to read this analysis at Aleteia. An excerpt:
All heck broke loose in the media when a report mid-way through the Synod on the Family was released. The English language version contained this fateful phrase about same-sex-attracted persons: “Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”
That “valuing their sexual orientation” phrase was what caused the problem. The Church has long taught that we value homosexual persons. But to value the orientation itself? That is inconsistent with the other Catechism teachings about homosexuality.
It was not long before the mistranslation at the heart of the problem was revealed: In every other language the document recommended we “evaluate” their sexual orientation, not “value” it. Pope Francis a month later prayed for “all who seek to support and strengthen the union of man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental and beautiful good for persons, communities, and whole societies.”