Could the pope's off-the-cuff remarks lead to trouble?
No need to worry, says Catholic commentator
(Picture: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)
By now we know that Pope Francis enjoys talking without a script. His fondness for extemporaneous comments makes him an interesting subject for journalists. But it worries quite a few Catholics, who fear that an ill-chosen phrase from the Pontiff could cause troubles for the Church. Indeed some people would have us believe the troubles have already begun.
I understand the concerns about off-the-cuff papal remarks. Remarks by the Holy Father could easily be misunderstood, for several reasons:
- because he does not have a cadre of speechwriters screening each sentence for potential trouble;
- because he is usually speaking in Italian, and although he is fluent in that language it is not his mother tongue, so he may not be aware of every nuance; and
- because his remarks are reported and interpreted to the world by journalists who do not have a fundamental understanding of the Catholic faith.
Should we be worried, then, about the possibility of some terrible papal gaffe? I don’t think so. Pope Francis is a very intelligent man, and he was chosen by his fellow cardinals to be Roman Pontiff because they recognized his sound pastoral judgment. Rather than trying to “handle” the Pope, or “explain” his statements, I’d recommend that faithful Catholics pray for him, and then relax. The Holy Father knows what he’s doing.
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