Elizabeth Scalia posted her idea at the blog of First Things. Here is an excerpt. You can read the rest over there:
Spinning and framing is what takes up most of the time of the mainstream press. That being so, some Catholics on social media are voicing concerns that Pope Francis is being “used” by the press in order to serve their own, gay-sympathetic agenda. Wrote one terribly irate man on Facebook: “Francis hasn’t broken through the media hostility to Catholicism—rather, they think (wrongly, I presume) that he’s an ally in their fight against Catholicism.”
Perhaps they do believe that; perhaps some of them really are “using” Francis. But how do they know he is not “using” them right back?
In Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, we read, “Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.”
Francis is doing precisely that. [Wellll… maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t.] Unlike Pope Benedict XVI, who was already despised by the press as Cardinal Ratzinger, Francis is the surprising, not-quite-known entity with whom the press is still unfamiliar and thus only marginally prepared to counter. He keeps people on their toes. He declines interviews, then unexpectedly pops in for one, and then proclaims the reality of Church teachings through a subject the press cannot resist covering.
So, if I get this right, Pope Francis purposely makes statements “off-the-cuff”, about alluring topics, perhaps even just ambiguous enough to be controversial, so that the MSM can’t help but bite. That’s when the newsies fall into his trap. The stir that he causes is both a chance to change people’s impressions of the Church and also for the Church’s actual teachings to be brought out and clearly explained when people are paying attention.
Francis baits traps? Is Francis an adept of subtle war? What’s books were in the satchel he carried to Rio? Caesar? Capablanca? Sun Tzu?
Okay, I’m pushing a bit. Maybe Francis is just, I dunno… a crafty old Jesuit?
兵者，詭道也。故能而示之不能，用而示之不用，近而示之遠，遠而示之近，… All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. – Sun Tzu