Well, after the two strange interviews, and especially after this second papal interview, which had many scratching their head and thinking ' what is that supposed to mean? ', Creative Minority Report has a comical entry which dissects some of the pope's words.
Since then Fr Lombardi has offered more confusion and concern to these happenings. Again Creative Minority Report clarifies for us.
"Pressed by reporters on the reliability of the direct quotations, Lombardi said during an Oct. 2 briefing that the text accurately captured the “sense” of what the pope had said, and that if Francis felt his thought had been “gravely misrepresented,” he would have said so."
"Perhaps the most insightful take on all this came from Lombardi himself, who said we’re seeing the emergence of a whole new genre of papal speech — informal, spontaneous and sometimes entrusted to others in terms of its final articulation. A new genre, Lombardi suggested, needs a “new hermeneutic,” one in which we don’t attach value so much to individual words as to the overall sense."
Essentially Fr Lombardi is saying, ' Don't read the words and look to what they mean – like any normal human being and any normal use of human words which have meanings – just accept the narrative behind them… '
And what is that narrative Fr Lombardi? Isn't the narrative set by the words used? Most people say what they mean and mean what they say. If not, who decides the narrative when the Pope says weird things and uses typical phrases which play directly into the hands of the enemies of the Church and the anti-religious secular world who are looking for any excuse to reject the real Gospel and propagate its caricature?
What happens when the Supreme Pontiff seems to contradict the Catechism? What happens when the Pope seems to alienate a whole section of the Church by telling them they are ' obsessed ', through his off-handed comments. These people who have been working tirelessly at the service of the Gospel their whole lives?
The Church is Christ's before it is the Pope's. The Church is not Francis' project to ambitiously reform, from his ' humility ' and personal vision. I hope he is listening to the Holy Spirit, and not just the Cardinals around him, and not the celebrity status which has he gained among the secular media elite.
Assuming that he actually said that he is ' humble and ambitious ' to undertake a reform (and that it's not a translation or editorial issue), the very fact that he said that he ' humble enough ' to do it, is concerning. Those who are truly humble never refer to themselves as humble.
This papacy could be a bumpy ride…
Sure, we are free to diagree with Pope Francis when he says awkward things in public, because it's not an authentic expression of his Magisterium and he is not infallible when doing so, but who else out there is worried that he presented a relativistic conception of conscience to the relativisitc world? That is concerning.
If he is prone to making such basic mistakes when speaking off the cuff, then he should stop speaking in such a way. He is the Pope now! Not some unknown bishop from the South America. Every word that he says will be sprayed arouund the world.
Here is another analysis of what is going on from Sandro Magister, who prints an article A 'Liquid' Message, by Pietro De Marco.
Here are the final two paragraphs:
Two last observations.
1. To those who invoke the Ignatian style of accompanying the sinner, or the far away, I reply that this concerns the relationship of the internal forum or the direction of conscience or private conversation. But if the pope expresses himself this way in public, his words enter the flow of the ordinary magisterium, they become catechesis. We all know that the conciliarist motto "from the cudgel to mercy" was aimed not so much at softening confessors as at weakening the authority of Rome.
2. The expressive model chosen by Bergoglio cannot be pushed to the limit of knocking down the ordinary magisterium and making it hardly or not at all obligatory. The powers of a pope do not extend to the very nature of his own "munus," which transcends him and imposes limits on him. I do not approve of the traditionalist extremists, but there is no doubt that tradition is the norm and the power of the successor of Peter.
The Pope needs to respect the tradition of what he is in. It's bigger than him; and he is expected to be a servant of it.
A good reminder from Fr Finnigan too.
On a positive note, as Fr Ray Blake has mentioned, it's great to finally have some clarity in Assisi from the Pope. Perhaps some advisers have had a word to him. Celibacy and Consecrated Virginity forcefully defended by the Pope in Assisi. And caricatures of St Francis clearly explained too.