The respected, clear-thinking canonist Ed Peters of In the Light of the Law has offered a blistering assessment of the role of the Vatican’s daily L’Osservatore Romano in regard to the latest in a string of media screw-ups.
My emphases and comments.
The continuing mess at L’Osservatore Romano
While many able others are scrambling to respond to the eruption over the pope’s remarks on condom use by male prostitutes, I want to ask a few questions about the occasion of this public relations fiasco, namely, the decision by L’Osservatore Romano [Note these points] to publish  prematurely,  out of context, and  without commentary,  the single most controversial paragraph of the pope’s book, Light of the World, in, if nothing else, apparent violation of the agreement in place between its various publishers concerning a coordinated release of the work. [Elsewhere I mused about the possibility that the Holy See had an agreement with the publisher that they could strike passages deemed inopportune before going to press. So… what happened? No such agreement? Didn’t choose to use it? Just wanted to get out ahead of the story?]I frankly wonder whether, even now, L’Osservatore Romano yet realizes what a serious disservice it has committed by arrogating to itself the role of introducing the pope’s book, Light of the World, and by its making that introduction in such a palpably incompetent manner? [C’mon, Ed. You’ve gotta learn to express yourself!]
[…]Instantly, of course, the world formed exactly the wrong understanding of that paragraph that anyone could have predicted. [Yes… you would have thought anyone could have predicted it.] Now, instead of being able to present the pope’s interview as a positive and even vigorous affirmation of unified truth, Catholic theologians and spokesmen must respond defensively against secular attacks and distortions, resorting (for the most part) [And this is important…] to a level of sophistication that befits a graduate seminar in moral theology, not a reader-friendly presentation of ideas. I mean, great scot, the book is not even published yet, and already the Vatican Press is Office is having to issue hasty corrections and unconvincing clarifications!
And it’s all because of L’OR.
Yes, again. L’OR’s panting after pop relevance (with pieces on, e.g., The Beatles and The Simpsons) is embarrassing enough. I’ve learned to ignore that. It’s mistreatment of Brazilian Abp. Cardoso Sobrihno should have been seen as the warning sign that it was. I said so at the time.
But, if this media fiasco is not enough to bring sweeping changes to L’OR, then, I don’t know what ever will.
Eeeed Peteeeeeer’s, Ladies and Gentlemen! Give it up for Ed!