How to Explain Pope Francis's Overabundant Communications? (1)

Source: FSSPX News

In recent times, the Pope has considerably increased his interviews with journalists. This is what Andrea Gagliarducci points out in Monday Vatican on July 11, 2022: in 10 days, “Pope Francis granted three interviews published this past week. One to Reuters, published in installments; one to the Telam agency; and one for the podcast of Guillermo Marcò, his legendary spokesman in Buenos Aires.”

The Vaticanist is not only interested in the content of these interviews, he tries to decipher the Pope's communication strategy: “the more Pope Francis’ health deteriorated, the more he was present in the media. The more there was talk about the end of the pontificate, the more the Pope wanted to show, even with images and words, that he is firmly in command of the Church.”

And he lists four themes that underlie this communication strategy: “The first theme is that of reaction. Pope Francis does not like to talk about his succession, also because talking about succession means, de facto, undermining the decision-making force of the pontificate.”

“Meeting with the Jesuits of Slovakia in September 2021, he complained that the cardinals had ‘already had his funeral’ after the operation for diverticulitis on July 4, 2021. … [In reaction ] Pope Francis multiplies his public appearances, gives interviews, takes the opportunity to share his opinion on everything, and starts marking his legacy.”

“The second theme concerns the debate around the Pope. The reform of the Curia has materialized, but Pope Francis wants to take another step: a discussion with the cardinals. What better way than a consistory?”

“For the first time since 2015, the cardinals will meet to discuss and get to know each other. The theme will be precisely the reform of the Curia. But it will not be a meeting to propose a reform, but a meeting to certify a reform. Pope Francis has called it for August, thus freezing the debate. In the meantime, he uses public communication to convey the messages he considers most important, confident that no one will then be able to oppose his ideas of reform.”

“The third theme concerns the need for Pope Francis to be popular.… When it comes to giving his opinion, Francis never backs down. In these personal incursions in the media, there are no filters from the Secretariat of State.… He is a pope who controls communication and wants everything to work according to his plans.”

“He is a Pope who makes an astute, populist use of communication media. Pope Francis uses strong messages for non-divisive themes, and sometimes unclear messages for divisive themes [such as communion given to pro-abortion politicians. Ed].”

“The fourth theme concerns the communication of the Holy See. Pope Francis does not tend to unite but to create rifts. These interviews are often personal initiatives of the Pope and are done without filters and sometimes without the Dicastery for Communication knowing anything about them in advance. In short, no one manages the communications of the Pope.”

“It is the Pope who decides how and when to show himself. The dicastery’s task is to follow the magisterium and support the Holy Father. It cannot be that of communicative planning because the Pope makes the decisions in that sense.”

On July 14, in The New Daily Compass, Riccardo Cascioli returned to the pope's all-out communications: “Frankly, we’ve had it up to here with interviews with Pope Francis. They are being churned out in a constant stream.… Even the Pope’s most ardent fans should realize that these are interviews that, beyond their content, are ultimately damaging to the Church and the institution of the papacy. Because in this way the Pope’s authority is diminished, reduced to the rank of an ordinary pundit.”

“But above all, it generates in the faithful (and non-) a confusion between what is personal opinion (legitimate, but debatable) and what instead is the teaching of the Church, which should be the Pope's only real concern.”

On the Italian site Silere non possumus [We cannot be silent], of July 12, there is this judgment with a punch: “It must also be emphasized that these interviews, which the Pope grants, are becoming a bit like the fourth tablespoon of Nutella: a little bit nauseating.”

“Journalists’ questions are always the same and, clearly, uncomfortable issues are not addressed. Risks are different. In the first place, we want to pass on the idea that these interviews are off the cuff, free and spontaneous, but it is clear that the Pope is not asked ‘uncomfortable’ questions.”

And to support this assertion with some well-known facts but never discussed in these interviews: Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta sentenced by the Argentine courts on March 2, 2022 for sexual abuse, but who lives in Santa Marta not far from the Pope.

Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, dismissed by Francis even before his conviction by a court, his trial is still in progress. The complaints of priests and faithful attached to the Traditional Mass, persecuted by their bishops in the name of Traditionis custodes... This silence on embarrassing questions raises a question: are the journalists who have the privilege of obtaining an interview with the Pope, courtiers?

The question is not illegitimate, when we know that Valentina Alazraki (who conducted the interview for the Mexican channel Televisa-Univision) and Philip Pullella (who conducted the one for the Reuters agency) were awarded the titles respectively of Dame and Chevalier of the Grand Cross of the Pian Order from the hands of Francis himself, on November 13, 2021.

And Silere non possumus concludes: “It is clear that these interviews will never reveal anything genuine that relects a desire to clarify certain issues.”