Thursday, January 2, 2014

Papal cold calls

Last October John L. Allen, Jr., posted,
"that among his many other innovations, Francis has emerged as 'the cold-call pope,' frequently ringing up people he's never actually met for a chat."
This creates a problem for "Vatican communications personnel".
"If they try to clarify whatever Francis said, people will accuse them of editing or correcting the pope, casting them as Vatican Blue Meanies who fear losing their grasp on power, as blowback from their recent, and utterly benign, attempt to set the record straight on a point of fact from Francis' interview with Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari illustrates. [The Pope: how the Church will change, by Eugenio Scalfiari, la Repubblica, October 31, 2013]

"On the other hand, if they stay quiet, misrepresentations may metastasize."

And it raises a question of stewardship if effort and expense, here of a public relations staff, is being wasted.
"One solution would be for Francis to make his own clarifications, given the widespread 'hermeneutic of suspicion' about statements coming from anybody else.

"The difficulty with that, also illustrated by the Scalfari affair, is that Francis may shrink from doing so because he doesn't want to embarrass someone."

Which leaves the interpretation of what he said to the other person.
"It seems clear that Francis is willing to run the risk of being occasionally misunderstood as the price to be paid for not walling himself off from direct contact with the outside world."
It's not just that he's misunderstood. It's that anyone with the responsibility to communicate Church teaching might be put in the position of having to explain, and possibly appear to explain away, what he said.

The latest example, a result of an opinion piece by Eugenio Scalfari, is headlines like It's official: Pope has not abolished sin, says Vatican.

1 comment:

James Kohn said...

since its timely to your post here he called up some nuns who were not there, but left a message on their answering machine here: http://www.cope.es/player/id=2014010214080001%26activo=10