Notes about Vatican Press conference for Pope’s new book interview

Andrea Tornielli posted this about the recent Vatican mess up with the press.  Here are a couple excerpts in my quick translation.

With his characteristic irony and finesse, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, often called upon to run and fix up errors, misteps and slip-ups imputable to others, while presenting the Pope’s book this morning  (I’ll write about that tomorrow), admitted both at the beginning and at the end of the press conference that the preview by L’Osservatore Romano on Saturday – which came out on the day of the consistory and which in effect overshadowed it – “non è stata gestita bene … wasn’t handled well”.

[...]

In the course of his presentation during the press conference Archbishop Rino Fisichella said: “To reduce the whole [of the Pope's book-long] interview to one phrase extrapolated from the totality of the thought of Benedict XVI would be an offence to the intelligence of the Pope and a gratuitous exploitation of his words”.

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3 Responses to Notes about Vatican Press conference for Pope’s new book interview

  1. Henry Edwards says:

    Is the pope saying that use of condoms is not merely permissable, but is a lesser evil that transmission of HIV, and therefore may be the preferred moral action in some circumstances? From an AP account of Fr. Lombardi’s interview today:

    Vatican Pope’s condom comments apply to women too
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101123/ap_on_re_eu/eu_pope_condoms

    VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI’s comments about condom use being a lesser evil than transmitting HIV also apply to women, the Vatican said Tuesday.
    .
    The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters Tuesday that he asked the pope whether he intended his comments to only apply to male prostitutes. Benedict replied that it really didn’t matter, that the important thing was the person in question took into consideration the life of the other, Lombardi said.

    “I personally asked the pope if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine,” Lombardi said. “He told me no. The problem is this … It’s the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship.”

    But by broadening the condom comments to also apply to women, the pope is saying that condom use in heterosexual relations is the lesser evil than passing HIV onto a partner.

  2. kgurries says:

    Clearly the Pope is not talking about the condom, in itself. Neither is he making a statement about the effectiveness (or not) of condoms to prevent infection (in fact, he said condoms are not the real solution). Basically, he is talking about the interior will act of the moral agent. It is a step in the right direction (morally speaking) to take steps intended to protect the health of another. I don’t know that we can read much more into it.

  3. C. says:

    “To reduce the whole [of the Pope's book-long] interview to one phrase extrapolated from the totality of the thought of Benedict XVI would be an offence to the intelligence of the Pope and a gratuitous exploitation of his words”.

    But that’s exactly what l’Osservatore Romano encouraged by publishing that one phrase out of context and mistranslated, two days before the book launch. And I agree that it was an offence to the intelligence of the Pope and a gratuitous exploitation of his words.