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An interesting no-comment comment from the HSPO

April 24, 2014

For a no-comment comment this is interesting. Let’s look at Fr. Lombardi’s four-sentence statement.

Several telephone calls have taken place in the context of Pope Francis’ personal pastoral relationships. {Okay}.

Since they do not in any way form part of the Pope’s public activities, no information is to be expected from the Holy See Press Office. {The HSPO has never been limited to commenting only on a pope’s “public” activities, but this statement certainly serves to distance the HSPO from anything related to Francis’ phone calls. The phrase “in any way” strikes me as strong language.}

That which has been communicated in relation to this matter, outside the scope of personal relationships, and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion. {Through the garbled syntax of the sentence, I think this says, again, that the HSPO has no intention of trying to parse what might or might not have been said in a papal phone call, so please don’t even ask.}

Therefore, consequences relating to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred from these occurrences. {The most important sentence in the communique, and a welcome one, first for what it says—though that should have been obvious—and for its not repeating what was said earlier in regard to Francis’ homilies and ferverinos, namely that they supposedly form no part of the papal magisterium. Of course such statements, being liturgical, public, and on points of faith and morals, were part of the papal magisterium. Not a very big part, I grant, but still, a part. Popes cannot switch-off being popes in the middle of Mass, and the HSPO was, I think, wrong to imply otherwise. Anyway, that mistake is not repeated here.}

Overall a helpful statement. Certainly an interesting one.

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