Pope Francis has been causing quite a stir recently with interviews provided to several different media outlets. His comments have raised questions about universalism, and his approach to homosexuality and life issues. I wrote a post that looked at the second interview he had done with an atheist journalist at an Italian newspaper (What's up with Pope Francis?: "Proselytism as solemn nonsense"). In the post I acknowledged that the media wants to spin anything that Pope Francis says as being a radical change in the direction of the Roman Catholic church. For this reason, it is critical that we read what Francis actually said.
However, it is now being reported that the interview which the Italian paper presented as an exact transcript of the interview was based neither on a recording or nor on notes taken during the interview. Instead, it is a reconstruction based on what the interviewer recalled. Needless to say, it cannot be relied upon as an exact account of what Francis actually said. The paper's failure to disclose this fact initially is unacceptable.
In light of this new information, the interview cannot be relied upon to provide insight into the Francis' views. However, the manner in which the interview was done and made public raises questions about how he is choosing to communicate. Hilary White makes some very interesting observations about the unique circumstances that have been present, and asks whether the Vatican Press Office has lost control of the message under Pope Francis.