Monday, October 28, 2013

Letter released in hopes of clarity

Address looks to prove misinterpretation of papal statements

Auxiliary Bishop of Edmonton, Gregory J. Bittman releases a letter to his fellow colleagues about how the media mistakes the meaning of Pope Francis's statements in various question and answer sessions, interviews, and letters. As well as providing examples of other people's displeasure with the media's misinterpretation. Photo: Archdiocese of Edmonton website.

In a recently released letter, Bishop Bittman of Edmonton outlines how the media skews the intended meaning of many Papal statements.

The following is the letter from Bishop Bittman:

Dear Colleagues,
In Pope Francis we have a spiritual leader who is like none of his predecessors. He speaks with candour and informality, and he is an inspirational pastor to the world. His words are always refreshing; some might even call them revolutionary. Media outlets around the world are as enamoured by the Pope as everyone else. But in many of their reports about Francis, the media have taken his words out of context and suggested that they indicate radical departures from Catholic belief, doctrine and Tradition. When considering the words of the Pope and speaking to others about him, it is especially important for those of us serving the Church to read what he has said in credible sources with full context, and not judge on the basis of a newspaper/website headline or broadcast sound bite.

Here are some examples:
Pope Francis speaks about gay people and the situation of divorced and remarried persons.
This is the question and answer session he held with journalists on papal flight back from Rio; here is the full text from Vatican Press Office.

Pope Francis on Church reform, ministry to the divorced and remarried, same-sex couples, abortion, contraception, ecumenism, role of women, and much more.
This interview with Pope Francis took place over the course of three meetings during August 2013 in Rome. The interview was conducted in person by Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal.

Pope Francis on the role of Bishops and priests As reported on Vatican Radio.

Father Penna on Pope Francis
Father Stefano Penna of Newman Theological College was a recent interview guest with Michael Coren of Sun News Network, who introduces the piece with his own complaints about mainstream media coverage of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis on salvation for atheists
Francis wrote this letter in response to one by Eugenio Scalfari of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, who described himself as an interested “non-believer.”

Pope Francis on atheists, converting others, ecumenism, and how he hopes to change the Church Pope Francis is unique in his willingness to speak directly to journalists. He followed up his letter to Scalfari with a personal interview. La Repubblica published this dialogue.

In closing, I ask once again that you discern carefully before believing, and propagating, some of the misinformation that appears in the media. For accurate sources on papal news, Vatican Information Service <>  (you can subscribe to this service via email), Vatican Radio <>  and  Zenit <>  (also offers subscriptions) are excellent places to start. Thank you for your consideration and, as always, for your faithful service.

In Christ,

Gregory J. Bittman
Auxiliary Bishop of Edmonton 

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