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General News    H3'ed 9/4/18

Pope Francis May Not Be Ready for Prime Time

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Thomas Farrell
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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) September 4, 2018: The chess game between retired Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano and Pope Francis continues -- this time with a new move of sorts by the pope and another move by two former Vatican spokespersons.

The two former Vatican spokespersons, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, S.J., and the Rev. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., issued a joint statement on September 2, 2018. Fr. Lombardi is the former director of the Vatican's press office, and Fr. Rosica formerly acted as Lombardi's aide for English-speaking media.

Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press has reported their joint statement in Time:


The context of their joint statement involves claims Vigano makes in his statement of August 30, 2018, about Pope Francis' private meeting during his 2015 visit to the United States with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who had refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Winfield says, "The Rev. Federico Lombardi and his English-language assistant, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, issued a joint statement disputing Vigano's claims about the encounter he organized with American anti-gay-marriage campaigner Kim Davis during Francis' September 2015 visit to the United States."

Winfield says, "In the joint statement Sunday, Rosico transcribed what he said were handwritten notes from a meeting he and Lombardi had with Vigano the following evening [i.e., the evening following Vigano's meeting with Pope Francis on October 9, 2015]. In those notes, Rosico quoted Vigano as telling them that the pope had actually chastised him for 'deceiving' him with the Davis encounter, and for having withheld the fact that Davis had been married four times."

OK. Rosico's transcription of Vigano's remarks on October 10, 2015, show that Vigano lied big-time in his online statement of August 30, 2018, about how the pope did not criticize him at all.

"In his part of the joint statement," Winfield continues, "Lombardi said [that] Vigano initiated the Davis meeting, [that he] should have known about the furor that it would cause, and that even though Vatican officials approved of it, they were not sufficiently informed about the significance such a meeting would take on."

In short, Vigano in 2015 manipulated certain under-informed Vatican officials with big-sounding job titles and the too-trusting pope -- and then Vigano lied big-time in his statement on August 30, 2018, about his meeting with Pope Francis on October 9, 2015. It is good to know that Vigano lied big-time; this much calls his overall credibility into question. However, in the final analysis, it is small potatoes, as they say. Even if Vigano now responds to the statement issued by Lombardi and Rosico with a rejoinder, the whole business about Davis is small potatoes.

But note how Lombardi portrays the Vatican officials with big-sounding job titles and Pope Francis himself as "not sufficiently informed about the significance such a meeting would take on." In plain English, Lombardi is portraying not only certain Vatican officials but also Pope Francis himself as not ready for prime time, as they say.

Now, on September 3, 2018, the too-trusting Pope Francis resumed his early morning Masses with invited guests. The gospel reading at the Mass was from the Gospel of Luke. Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service reports about the gospel reading and the pope's homily.


According to her, the gospel reading "recounted Jesus' return to Nazareth and the fury of the townspeople when he refused to perform miracles for them. The reading from St. Luke ends: 'They rose up, drove him out of town, and led him to the brow of a hill on which the town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.'"

In Pope Francis' homily, according to Wooden, he "said the reading should help Christians 'reflect on how to act in daily life when there are misunderstandings,' but also to understand 'how the father of lies, the accuser [i.e., Satan, as in the prologue to the book of Job], the devil acts to destroy the unity of a family, of a people [e.g., the people of God in the Roman Catholic Church]."

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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