Francis Confounds the Associated Press

Via Matthew Schmitz’ twitter feed, where he notes a sense of “disorientation.”

I can just hear the mainstream secular press.

WAIT! WHAT? I thought we had a read on this guy! He was gonna shut up about abortion, already! Next day he’s telling doctors not to perform them, and sayin’ each aborted kid has the face of Christ? WHAT? That’s like the WORST THING HE COULD SAY when people are actually listening!

This feels like Charlie Brown and Lucy and the Football! It’s almost like he’s teasing us, like he just wants to get everyone’s attention and then he’s going to sneak stuff like that in there? Don’t play with us, Pope!

But at least he said money is the root of all evil, so, good. We can work with that! He’s a liberation theologian, right? Right? He’s not going to turn around tomorrow and say that God even loves the wealthy is he? He’s not going to say something dumb like Joseph of Arimathea models a wealthy person who uses his riches and influence to further the will of God, or something he is? Don’t TEASE us, Pope! Don’t shake our faith in you! You are the us we’ve been waiting for!!!”

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • OldWorldSwine

    Exactly. He’s running rings around the press. They don’t know what to think.

  • Augustine

    First, the media projects its own ideas on the words of the Pope and then cuts and pastes them to suit those ideas. Next, the media believes this projection as true. Finally, the media uses this projection to point out that Pope is contradicting himself. As a professor of mine said, a neurosis is a lie that you tell yourself which you forgot was a lie.

  • Dale

    They could start by actually listening to him, and reporting his thoughts, and not reporting their preconceptions.

  • Tom

    Papacy: 1

    Media: 0

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    It’s time to stop apologizing for Francis. He’s a modernist, and a universalist.

  • Elizabeth K.

    Wha?? Did you read his interview? The one in America, where he warns against confessors being too lax about sin? Or this speech, today?

  • kmk1916

    How about praying for him! He is awesome, as have been the past 100 years of Holy Fathers. Thank you, Holy Spirit!

  • Elizabeth K.

    LOL. Surprise! He’s a Catholic! And a Pope who explained in the America interview that he likes to talk to people one on one, so, shockingly, he addressed pastoral care in an interview about his Jesuit roots (something that many of them, quite frankly, are not notoriously good at) and today, TODAY, he addressed gynecologists about–wait for it–abortion and slavery to money. As if they’re related. WHAT is he thinking? Can’t stop chuckling. Love it.

  • kmk1916

    This absolutely fits in with what he said in the interview. We have to build up again. If there are no or maybe one or 2 Ob/Gyns in any given Archdiocese who are living out the Catholic Faith in their practices (not just no abortions!), there is no medical professional backup for what the bishops and priests are trying to teach (and compared to even 10 years ago, they ARE trying to build up a culture of life). And how do we encourage/persuade medical professionals? By praying and fasting for them, by dialogue, by patiently showing them in charity that that sort of practice is best for them, for women, for families.
    That doesn’t happen on a dime, usually. There has to be a concerted effort by the laity to charitably pray, fast, engage the doctors (’cause bitter condemnation doesn’t do it), live their lives of holiness (I forget how Pope Francis worded this–ordinary sanctity?) and propose, propose, propose–in creative ways– not impose. It works! Check out One More Soul and the Catholic Medical Association.

  • saa5of5

    Where’s the “dislike” button on this post? Offering conservatives an olive branch!? Is it obvious to anyone else that he speaks to the particular audience what they need to hear? I’m not talking Clinton-style, where he says what they WANT to hear to keep backing him. I’m talking Pope-style, as an evangelist. Yesterday he spoke through the media to “us Catholics” about how we should all be responsibly seeing our place in the New Evangelization. Today he’s directly confronting doctors that are the ones that will/won’t be killing the innocent by abortion. When he talks about a woman who has had an abortion, he’s saying we have to move beyond what’s “wrong” with what she has done and deeply consider the wound caused by her sin. When he talks to medical professionals, clearly he’s not going to say they need to stop emphasizing exclusively medical issues!

  • Carol Weinstock

    I think Pope Francis knows EXACTLY what he is doing. No worries in my mind.

  • Francis Young

    It is a wonderful, 12000-word interview, in which the Pope calls us to lead with the mercy of Christ, then evangelize and catechize. Here is a good analysis, but nothing beats reading the full interview for yourself, then posting quotations of your choice.

  • Lorraine

    As I look back at what the pope said in regards to abortion, gay marriage and contraceptives, I interpret what he said to mean this: That those issues have to be talked about in their context. He also states that the teaching of the Church on this matter is clear. Here he validates what the Church teaches. I read a little further and I think the bottom line is that in finding a new balance, we need to point to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The moral teachings in the Church, I interpret to mean, are not equal amongst itself.
    Jesus Christ is the center of our faith. Scripture is the word of God. And somehow I think it is from here that one finds the way to God in everyday life. The words of Scripture never die but become life giving.
    My faith is not disturbed by this. But the focus for me and part of his message is on prayer, Scripture and discernment. Those that are disturbed by this is shear opportunity for them as well as each of us to grow in the struggle to find the Truth, which is Jesus Christ.

  • nannon31

    The PBS newshour with Judy Woodruff was awful tonight and if she’s awful with the manipulation of yesterday’s released interview versus today’s talk, then there is little hope since they at pbs are supposed to be less tainted by profit and sweeps week…via sensation.
    There simply is no secular anchor person in this galaxy who would take the time to reconcile via context and genre…the two events.

  • leelu

    I hope the press get a nose bleed!

  • nannon31

    ps…to my other post. At the end of Woodruff’s pbs newshour, she via two guests healed the impression she first gave in connecting his phrase “small minded rules” to abortion. See the interview text where the phrase is free floating and not connected to abortion at all in the interview.

  • Fr. Denis Lemieux

    The ‘olive branch’ line was from the media report, not from the blogger’s post.

  • Fr. Denis Lemieux

    No. He’s not.

  • Manny

    He probably read my critique of the interview where I dinged him for minimizing the abortion issue…lol. He must read my comments. :) Frankly though, Pope Francis really plays by the seat of his pants. He said in that interview he wasn’t disciplined when he was young and he’s still not discipline. I really doubt he’s got some master plan, or if he does, he’s not following it carefully. He’s confounding everybody, not just the media. How many times has he made a splash and then back tracked? In the six or seven months of his papacy it must be a close to a dozen times.

  • TapestryGarden

    The irony is that if you actually read what the Pope says (not what HuffPo says or MSNBC says) he is entirely orthodox, saying nothing original or fabricated to be P.C. Unfortunately the media latches onto one or two phrases, focusing on what serves their purpose while ignoring the actual meaning or significance. It IS important the Christ forgave but then said “Go and sin no more….” The media conveniently forgets that part since it would stifle their obsession with hedonistic activities. They also forget The Pope Is Catholic.

  • Manny

    I was thinking Clinton-like too, but there are other associations with Clinton I didn’t think applied. But yeah, he speaks to the audience, is fast and loose with his ideas, connects with people, a sort of man-of-the people type, and is gregarious in nature. But Clinton didn’t have a moral center, and we can’t say that about our Papa.

  • Christian Schmemann

    I think that this truce that Pope Francis is calling in the Culture Wars is because

    1. after his experiences with the devastating effects of soulless
    unfettered capitalism as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the Pope wants
    to have an ideological war against soulless laissez-faire capitalism
    comparable to the ideological war that Saint John Paul the Great had
    against godless Soviet communism,


    2. either Pope Francis does not think that the Church can prosecute
    this ideological war for Social Justice and the Culture Wars at the same
    time, OR Pope Francis thinks that unfettered capitalism has to be
    completely destroyed in order to make the Culture Wars winnable for the

    It makes no sense to say that certain sex acts between consenting adults
    should be condemned when massive economic exploitation that rises out
    of unfettered capitalism is condoned. Both types of behavior come out
    of a philosophy which states that man is to serve only his own selfish
    interests. Economic exploitation comes about because the boss sees his
    workers as merely another production cost which costs him money. The
    playboy sees women as a means to sexual pleasure. They both reflect a
    selfishness that is eroding society at the most basic levels.

    It makes no sense for the Church to oppose abortion and family breakdown
    when we Catholics are not willing to fight to ensure that there is
    stable gainful employment so that working adults can have a stable
    marriage and afford to raise children. There is no sense to talk about
    emphasizing work without demanding that labor be rewarded such that a
    person with a frugal lifestyle can provide for the expenses of his/her
    family and put back savings.

    I reject the Radical Enlightenment wholesale. I see that there is no
    sense to reject the social and cultural ideas of the Radical
    Enlightenment, but to embrace its economic ideas at the same time.

  • Nermal146

    the only thing that makes me sad is that there are stupid people who don’t listen to what the Pope actually has said…they believe the media. I really have to start wearing my mouth guard all the time.

  • Donna

    The media is saying he offered an olive branch, not Elizabeth. And no, it is not obvious to anyone else that he tells his audience what they want to hear. His statements today are completely consistent with the interview published yesterday. If people would actually think about what he says instead of reacting out of fear, they would realize that Francis is not deviating from the Church’s teachings at all.

  • Peggy R

    There is no unfettered capitalism today. Anywhere.

  • Adam Frey

    Maybe strict Catholics who have a problem with Pope Francis’ teachings should try reaching out to him. I mean, like, directly. Apparently he has no problem calling up people who have issues. They might get lucky and get a reply.

  • Manny

    Argentina had unettered capitalism? When?

  • WesleyD

    Yeah, the PBS Newshour coverage was atrocious. Francis had not spoken about abortion “before today”? He joined in the March for Life (what other pope has done that?) and then encouraged Europeans to sign a petition against an embryo experimentation law.

  • Todd Flowerday

    “I really doubt he’s got some master plan, or if he does, he’s not following it carefully.”
    What was missing in our host’s analysis is that the interview was eminently Ignatian. Pope Francis is wise enough to be more attentive to God’s plan and to deep-six his own.
    This is indeed a great time to be Catholic. A pope who has a great sense of discernment and a great openness to God’s deepest wishes for people.

  • MeanLizzie

    Aw Todd, a bit condescending as usual. I haven’t “missed” anything. As I’ve been saying for two days in social media and mean to expound upon in a post if I ever have time to write it here, Francis is continuing the lesson in absolute trust begun by Benedict when he resigned. A complete letting go of material concerns, or standard issue human anxieties. Too bad you’ve missed it.

  • MeanLizzie

    In fact Eve Tushnet touches on a lot of what I’ve been thinking and waiting to write, in this peice

  • Frank

    Okay, this is pretty hilarious. Worth posting for its absurdity.

    But could I ask a favor? Could you (Anchoress) dial down the media-bashing, and maybe ask the bloggers who listen to you to do the same?

    It’s not that I don’t think the media is foolish and ill-informed about Catholicism. Of course they are. But they’re foolish and ill-informed about everything. That’s what journalism is about: distortion and sensationalism. So they’re not out to get you or the Church.

    Adopting a live-and-let-live attitude would be a lot more consistent with what the Pope said in that great interview. Too often Catholics think of the secular media as a great battleground of the culture war, so they’re always bashing it, always feeling victimized by it. It was this attitude, I’m convinced, that blinded JPII to the crimes of Marcial Maciel.

    Pope Francis plainly doesn’t regard the media that way. And, however distorted the reporting about him often is, he’s created, or made it possible for others to create, an amazingly positive image of himself by not being hostile.

    So all I’m asking is, please try to be more like the pope when discussing the oddities of what appears in the media.

  • Gordis85

    I laughed when I read that silly line. They never bothered to research the fact that he was at the Italian Pro-life march back in the spring as he encouraged them to defend life. All of this can be found on Youtube. The march ended in St. Peter’s square and the Holy Father was taken to them via the popemobile where he then encouraged them and blessed them all. I watched the entire vodeo and it was wonderful.

  • Gordis85

    Yep! He sure did! I just commented about that in an above post…many Catholics who are posting their opinions seem to be ignorant of that fact as well.

  • Mike

    I just finished your book and need to re-read because you cover a lot and led me on a loft soul searching – Thank you for that. I can’t help but put what is happening around the Popes words into the context of false idols now. I think our responses to his words and perhaps how we acted in past is that we made “conservative” or “liberal” our false god and placed it before the One and Only God. I don’t know, but to me Francis in many ways is saying what you said, get rid of those idols and focus instead and create or re-create your relationship with God. That’s it.

  • jenny

    I think that when the Pope said that we should not be obsessed with abortion he was referring to shifting the obsession on abortion to obsession on broken families, fatherless children, conceiving children in rape….
    Condemning abortion with no reference to its cause. ..seems to become an obsession.

    The cause of abortion should be our first obsession, and only after that, the abortion itself.

    If we are more obsessed with broken families, fatherless children, rape, we will avoid abortion, and therefore, we will not be obsessed with abortion…..Just a thought…….

  • Todd Flowerday

    I don’t follow you in other social media, so yes, I’ve missed other analysis, past and future. Except for the one above. My post was mainly in response to the quote from one of your commenters, and today is still a great day to be a Catholic.

  • BillyT92679

    I have hope in the salvation of all men, but statements like this really push it.

    Who the hell are you to even imply that about the pope?

  • MeanLizzie

    Fair enough. :-)

  • MeanLizzie

    Indeed it is a good day tone Catholic… No argument from me, there. But I thought so last year too. :-)

  • James_Otis_Jr

    I have come to the conclusion that they have only their preconceptions about them. Really, when was the last time the MSM dealt with thoughts first? It certainly wasn’t with this Pope, or with the shooting at the Navy Yard.

  • Lorraine

    As I see it, the media ceases to report news objectively at times when it comes to issues regarding religion, abortion, contraception, women, gay marriages, the pope etc. The values of America, in reality, are mixed on these issues and yet American news values seem to be one sided. Good news reporting is like drinking a morning cup of coffee. When listening to the news this is what I hear, ‘here’s a sip on what’s going on in the world today. The pope….!!’. It’s just enough information for me to sit up and pay attention. But great news reporting stick to the facts. Getting the facts is much like having a hardy breakfast to go along with a cup of coffee. It gives me substance to get through the day with the right information. And the best news reporting gets me thinking and discussing with others the facts over breakfast and a cup of coffee. Bottom line is, in listening to some news reports, I get the impression that the public is getting spoon fed with tidbits of information that need supplemental information from other reliable sources. But then again, we write and interpret things according to our own stories in life. I think I’ll vary what I have for breakfast from time to time. This makes for a healthier intake!

  • gwvanderleun

    Okay, Frank, we shall all just note, in passing, the NYT headline “Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control” and just pass on by after offering them a breath mint.

  • Victor

    (((I can just hear the mainstream secular press. )))

    Listen Hank rest, “I” mean Anchoress, all of U>S (usual sinning) , “I” mean us gods have had “IT” WITH VICTOR NOW! No body, “I” mean nobody can say that we have not been fair with this little so called four per sent age,, “I” mean 4% retardo cells you know

    Listen Anchoress! Don’t get us gods wrong cause we don’t care, “I” mean, “I” hope the press get a nose bleed but when Victor gets “ONE”, he doesn’t have to tell the hole, “I” mean the whole world about “IT” Does he NOW? “I” mean now!?

    Anchoress, if Victor wants to make a “Fool” of his hotel, “I” mean his idols, no, no, “I” mean himself coma why should we help him to apologize for his, be hey vie her, “I” mean his behavior. “IT” is fine with us if your Papa wants to work in adults stables, I mean we agree that working adults can have a stable marriage and afford to raise children but Victor should keep us gods out of “IT”. We don’t care that Victor keeps thinking that if HIS HOLINESS keeps UP on this course, the world is going to start saying stuff like ‘CRUCIFY HIM’ “I” mean crucify him and……



    Go figure brothers and sisters! :)
    God Bless Peace

  • Augustine

    Shall we put the words and actions of the Pope in perspective by mentioning that he publicly challenged the president of Argentina Cristina Kirchner on both abortion and gay marriage. He was so aggressive that she never granted him an audience, in spite of repeatedly requesting one. And then, when the good archbishop of Buenos Aires became the bishop of Rome, she was the first person he received in audience.

  • Augustine

    Card. Bergoglio challenged the president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, aggressively and publicly on both abortion and gay marriage. So, to say that he’s calling a truce now as Pope is a mistake. Alas, yesterday he used grave words against abortion:

  • Augustine

    And, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he challenged the Argentinian government aggressively and directly on both abortion and gay marriage.

  • Billiamo

    More like ‘Dissociated’ Press!

  • InsaneSanity

    You surely must mean unfettered socialism, because Argentina has never had unfettered capitalism.

  • Donna

    Mike, well said. Thank you.