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First thoughts about the Francis Interview
Posted on 19 September 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
Pope Francis, formerly a Jesuit, gave an series of interviews to the Jesuits. The interviews have been edited together, with parenthetical commentary and descriptions of the setting and so forth, and translated by lay people and Jesuits for publication in Jesuit publications. The English version is at the site of Jesuit-run America Magazine.
The interview is dense. There is a LOT going on in it. It is too much for the brain to take in at one sitting.
As you read the interview, and media coverage of the interview, you will find – and this is consistent with Pope Francis’ style of talking off-the-cuff – some truly quotable quotes, leap-out quotes that sit up and beg to be taken out of context. Look at what the MSM is doing with some of them.
For example, the New York Times leads with a headline “Pope Bluntly Faults Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion (By Laurie Goodstein).” Oh really? Is that what Pope Francis did? CBS has “Pope Francis: Catholic Church must focus beyond “small-minded rules” and goes on to say “Pope Francis has warned that the Catholic Church’s moral structure might “fall like a house of cards” if it doesn’t balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make it a merciful, more welcoming place for all.” Oh really? Is that what Pope Francis really said? The CBS statement makes the Pope sound as if he think that they Church has the change it’s teaching about abortion or homosexuality or it will collapse like a house of cards.
Even if you haven’t read the whole interview/article, some 12000 words, common sense tells you that that is not what the Pope said.
It is important when reading the interview, and media coverage of the interview, to keep your eyes on those leap-out quotes. When you see the MSM using those leap-out quotes in a way that doesn’t pass the smell test, go back and look at the context, the whole paragraph.
The whole context of the paragraph deconstructs the leap-out quotes and makes those quotes make sense.