Sunday, November 03, 2013

CNA: Pope regrets interview

This is interesting.

An item appeared on the Catholic New Agency site on Thursday: "Pope was concerned interview could be misunderstood, writer says." In particular, there was concern about this part of the article:

In the interview, Eugenio Scalfari, founder and former director of “La Repubblica,” quoted Pope Francis as saying that “the conscience is autonomous, and everyone must obey his conscience.”

Pope Francis reportedly reiterated his phrase, adding that “everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

These sentences led to a certain amount of criticism for the Roman Pontiff.

No kidding!

Apparently, after people pointed out that, as presented, this statement about conscience doesn't fit well with what the Church actually teaches (because the Church teaches that a conscience can be malformed--and must be informed by the truth, which is objective, and which includes the teaching of the Church), the pope's spokesman was directed to “maintain that the text of the interview had not been revised by Pope Francis and that it was penned by Scalfari after an informal chat.”

Fr. Lombardi also underlined that “the interview is not part of Pope Francis' Magisterium.”

And then, according to the article, the pope expressed his unhappiness to the person in charge L’Osservatore Romano--the Vatican's own paper--for publishing it as well.

All this comes from a Catholic writer, Antonio Socci, who also says, “critics of Pope Francis for his view on conscience are double-dealing.”

“Would you really believe Pope Francis thinks that everybody can have his own idea of good and evil and thus justify what he does?” he asked.

“Is it really possible Pope Francis has an idea that would make being Christians, or believing in God, into nonsense?”

Um, yes, Mr. Socci--that's precisely the problem!

There are people who believe that very thing, or would like to. Heck, the so-called National Catholic Reporter (it's none of those things: not national, not Catholic, and it does not merely report) believes this! This is what its editors and writers tell their readers day after day; with the predictable result that NCR readers believe this!

“Socci underscored that 'Pope Francis' teachings on corruption, confession, the danger of the devil, all prove that Pope Francis’ view is orthodox, and that he had not watered down the teachings of the Church, and particularly the doctrines of the Church.'”

Indeed. But unfortunately, there are those who are using this interview in particular to paint a very different picture. Looks like the Holy Father sees the problem. I certainly hope so.


bill bannon said...

Section 16 of Gaudium et Spes is helpful here. It reads:

" Conscience frequently errs from invincible ignorance without losing its dignity. The same cannot be said for a man who cares but little for truth and goodness, or for a conscience which by degrees grows practically sightless as a result of habitual sin."

I took the Pope to mean that good faith atheists who are seeking truth are not the same as bad faith atheists who care little for truth or goidness. The former may have blockage like the priest sex abuse scandal or wealth oriented tv preachers like Osteen which keeps
them from Christianity but they still want to live rightly. St. Justin Martyr sees that type of atheist as being not really atheists in his First Apology here in section
46: " and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them..."

Unknown said...

There is a reason why Popes normally guard their words. There is a reason why in times past the views of the Popes are metered. This is why. While a Pope is certainly human, while a Pope is certainly fallible, his views are scrutinized much more than another person's. That being said, perhaps it is time for His Holiness to reign it in and start acting like a Pope.

While it is certainly different to have a Pope who is so "free" with his words and humility certainly is a theme, perhaps our beloved Holy Father should give a discourse on prudence. Just sayin'....