Joanne McPortland’s amusing “Parable of the Papal Interview” expressed a simple truth: orthodox Catholics who have actually read the interview Pope Francis gave Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ have mostly loved it. Forget what you’ve read elsewhere: Pope Francis may be unorthodox in his style, but his substance is by no means heterodox.
So I had to chuckle when a troll popped up in the combox to say, “Not at all a good parable because it is so predictable. Right wing cognitive dissonance over the Pope’s interview prevents them from really hearing what he said.”
You see, this piece of complacent snottiness popped up after the rest of the progressive world was gobsmacked by what the AP’s Nicole Winfield, in her original lede, called Francis’ “bizarre U-turn”: a speech given Thursday to Italian gynecologists, in which he slammed abortion and euthanasia as parts of a “throwaway culture”. Talk about cognitive dissonance — Matthew Balan of NewsBusters observes that Winfield’s new lede still tries to preserve the “progressive” box in which media liberals have put Papa Bergoglio by calling it an “olive branch” offered to the “more doctrine-minded, conservative wing”.
This is what comes of not paying close attention to what the Pope is saying, of trying to pigeonhole any pope — hell, any major player. My buddy Frank Weathers, for instance, points us to a 2006 speech in which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI also spoke of the “issues trap” to Swiss bishops on their ad limina visit. And Marcel LeJeune of Aggie Catholics includes other quotes that, taken by themselves, would lead one to conclude that B16 is a liberal. Quoth the wise man Thomas L. McDonald, “There is not a hairsbreadth of difference between the theology of Francis and Benedict.” Different styles, same substance.