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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

On Popes, Dogs and Bunny Rabbits

By:   William Bernardi
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On Popes, Dogs and Bunny Rabbits

Sorry, Fido, but it turns out Pope Francis didn't actually say all dogs go to heaven. I suppose though this is old news by now.

Yet with so much misreporting on Pope Francis, you begin to wonder how much the media is at fault for getting it wrong so often? Since his papal election, you can hardly keep up with the Pope’s “misquotes”.

No worries though, because to the rescue with crystal-clear clarification is the Pope’s chief public relations man, Fr. Lombardi. But even the Vatican’s “Spin Doctor” leaves everyone scratching their bewildered heads with the thought, “Okay, so though the Pope said such-and-such, but that’s not what he said?”

Don’t get anxious though, because whether you are a liberal or conservative Catholic, be assured that Pope Francis is speaking your language.

Liberals are confidently told in the National Catholic Reporter, Tablet, and America that Francis is man after their own bleeding hearts. And having patiently suffered under the throwback reign of the Papal Emeritus, Pope Jorge is just what the LCWR has been praying for!

Simultaneously, conservatives can remain smugly certain that His Holiness is keeping the Church on the straight and narrow path thanks to the gold-medal mental gymnasts at National Catholic Register, Catholic Answers, EWTN and bloggers such as Jimmy Akins, Marc Shea and Jeffrey Mirus. Thank goodness for quantum theologica!

So everything’s okay with Pope Francis and it’s really the Big Bad Media’s misinterpretations that’s to blame here… or is it?

Should the media be faulted for “getting it wrong” all the time, when prominent clergy have a habit of speaking ambiguously on sensitive Church matters, even contrariwise about faith and morals? If the average Catholic on the street can’t figure out what they’re Vicar of Christ is saying, how can the press be expected to do any better?

Pope Pius XII had a pet canary named, Gretchen. There’s even a rather famous picture of him holding it perched on his papal finger. LIFE Magazine didn’t suddenly run the headline: “Pontiff says all birds go to Heaven!” But that’s because you could easily understand what Pius XII meant to say and when he said it. No confusion, no ambiguity and always echoing the same Catholic Faith of today, tomorrow and yesterday.

In the meantime, we seem to be stuck with the off-the-cuff remarks of Pope Francis, which typically sow confusion and ridicule about the Catholic Church in its wake.

And, as for me? Well, I’m just waiting for Pope Francis to let it slip during a jetliner interview that the Society of Saint Pius X is not in schism. Just imagine the clarification that the liberal and conservative wings would need to make then! Poor Fr. Lombardi.

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