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Italian journalist admits inaccuracies in controversial papal interview

Catholic World News - November 22, 2013

The Italian journalist whose interview with Pope Francis caused an international sensation has revealed that he made up some of the answers that he attributed to the Pope.

Eugenio Scalfari, the founder of La Repubblica, had based the interview on a conversation with the Pope. Scalfari did not record the conversation, nor did he take notes. The 89-year-old editor reconstructed the interview from memory.

Before publishing the interview in La Repubblica, Scalfari wrote to ask the Pope’s permission. He warned the Pontiff:

Keep in mind that I did not include some of the things that you said to me. And that some of the things that I attribute to you, you did not say.

Despite that warning, Scalfari says, the Pope—through his secretary, Msgr. Alfred Xuereb—gave permission to run the interview without changes.

“I am perfectly willing to think that some of the things that I wrote and attributed to him are not shared by the Pope,” Scalfari now concedes.

When the interview first appeared, the Vatican press office said that it was an accurate representation of the Pope’s thinking, although the quotations attributed to the Pontiff might not be exact. The text of the interview was posted on the Vatican web site. But this week that text was removed.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Nov. 23, 2013 4:16 PM ET USA

    The article occasioned a wake up call for Catholics, and likely the Vatican, to practice what we preach. On almost a weekly basis I teach my students to be skeptical of claims made in the press about scientific "discoveries" and new "warnings." I inform the catechists on Sundays to do the same with regard to religious reporting. And yet we continue to stumble when a journalist pulls our chain.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Nov. 23, 2013 2:21 PM ET USA

    This amateur hour in the Vatican does not make the new evangelization easier. Impressions once made are almost impossible to turn around. Correcting his errors is a good thing to do but some things cannot be undone that easily. Once on the public record these errors it will be cited again and again by the enemy. Words have meaning, especially when attributed to the Holy Father.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Nov. 22, 2013 11:23 PM ET USA

    This is just plain nuts! The Catholic Church is in big trouble if this is how things are done in the Vatican and with the Pope's permission.

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