Many Catholics have argued when it comes to some of the odd statements Pope Francis has made over the last 21 months, it isn’t part of the Magisterium or Church teaching. They have also made arguments calling out the media for misrepresenting the Pope.
Pope Francis did another interview, this time with La Nacion, an Argentinian newspaper. Here is an excerpt (emphasis mine):
Q. As a Pope you are different because you speak with utmost clarity, you are completely straightforward, you don´t use euphemisms and don´t beat about the bush, the course of your papacy is extremely clear. Why do you think some sectors are disoriented, why do they say the ship is without a rudder, especially after the latest extraordinary synod of bishops on the challenges posed by the family?
A. Those expressions strike me as odd. I am not aware of anybody using them. The media quote them. However, until I can ask the people involved “have you said this?” I will have brotherly doubts. In general people don´t read about what is going on. Somebody did say to me once, “Of course, of course. Insight is so good for us but we need clearer things”. And I answered, “Look, I wrote an encyclical, true enough, it was a big job, and an Apostolic Exhortation, I´m permanently making statements, giving homilies; that´s teaching. That´s what I think, not what the media say that I think. Check it out, it´s very clear. Evangelii Gaudium is very clear”.
Pat Archbold, writing for the National Catholic Register, brings up a very excellent and valid point:
This interview makes clear that Pope Francis does intend that his statements and homilies are to be considered part of his personal magisterium. He also insists that this teaching is very clear.
Pope Francis has effectively denounced all of those who have argued two things.
1. The media is misrepresenting him. We hear it from Pope Francis himself, “that’s what I think, not what the media says I think. Check it out, it’s very clear.” Pope Francis knows what the media is saying about him, and agrees with it. These words he has spoke are what he said.
If you’ve been sitting around waiting for him to offer any further clarification, you shouldn’t. “It is very clear.” We can no longer use this excuse, nor any derivation of it. No more “translation issues”. No more “taken out of context”. The interviews, the news articles, the incorrect homilies are all what he said. Deal with it.
2. This isn’t part of the teaching of the Church. Pope Francis says he is constantly teaching and considers it part of his teachings and his magisterium. He is not offering his opinion, but what he thinks is actual teaching to be included in what he has to offer to the Church.
Pope Francis clarifies he is “permanently making statements, giving homilies; that’s teaching”. Everything he says, no matter how true or erroneous, is part of the teaching he wants to give to you. For those who have defended him using this excuse, you have done so in vain. You are incorrect, because Pope Francis says it is.
If Pope Francis truly believes his off-the-cuff statements are in fact teaching, then perhaps it is time we go back and reassess his entire papacy and every interview, homily, and off-the-cuff comment he has ever given. Let’s start calling a spade a spade.