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Pope's Repubblica interview removed from Vatican web site

Catholic World News - November 15, 2013

The text of a controversial interview with Pope Francis which appeared in the Italian daily La Repubblica has been removed from the Vatican’s web site.

The interview, conducted by Repubblica’s founder Eugenio Scalfari, had caused an international sensation. In the text published by the Italian newspaper, the Pope was recorded as saying that he was not interested in converting the atheist journalist, that youth unemployment is the world’s most serious problem, and that it is sufficient for a non-believer to follow his own conscience. The Pope was also harshly critical of attitudes that he said were commonplace at the Vatican.

Later it emerged that the text published in La Repubblica was not an exact transcript of the papal interview. In fact, the octagenarian Scalfari had not taken notes during his conversation with the Pontiff, and had reconstructed the Pope’s remarks from memory.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told reporters that because the Pope’s words were not reproduced exactly, it seemed inappropriate to carry the text on the Vatican web site. He said that the Secretary of State, not the Pope himself, had made the decision to remove the text—contradicting reports in the Italian press that the Pontiff had been unhappy with the presence of the interview on the Vatican site.

Father Lombardi continued to assure reporters that the interview was a fair representation of the Pope’s general thoughts, if not his specific words.

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