Papal spokesman reacts to Rolling Stone article

More on Rolling Stone from Edward Pentin:

Vatican Spokesman Censures ‘Rolling Stone’ Article on Pope

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has strongly criticised an article on Pope Francis that appears in the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine.

Although he acknowledged that the Holy Father’s appearance on the publication’s front cover shows a diverse interest in the Pope, the Jesuit spokesman denounced the article’s negative portrayal of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s pontificate, saying the piece disqualifies itself as serious journalism. [Who thought of the content of Rolling Stone as “serious journalism”?]

“Unfortunately, the article disqualifies itself, falling into the usual mistake of a superficial journalism, which in order to highlight the positive aspects of Pope Francis, thinks it should describe in a negative way the pontificate of Pope Benedict, and does so with a surprising crudeness,” Fr. Lombardi said in a statement. [Not surprising if you have ever looked at Rolling Stone before.]

In the piece titled “Pope Francis: The Times They Are A-Changin'”, author Mark Binelli calls Benedict’s papacy “disastrous” and goes so far as to attack the former pontiff’s appearance and character. He also describes Benedict’s acclaimed apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis as “wonky” but without explaining further. [What else would a papal document be?]

“What a pity,” Fr. Lombardi said. “This is not the way to do a good service even to Pope Francis, who knows very well what the Church owes to his predecessor.” [Who thinks that it was Rolling Stone‘s intention to “do a good service” to Pope Francis?]


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Bosco says:

    Totally cool! Dr. Hook must be insanely jealous.

  2. Servant of the Liturgy says:

    I suffered through all six or seven pages of the article last night. Besides being highly insulted over the “crudeness” with which they treated Benedict XVI, I was more upset with how they spoke about beliefs central to the Faith, namely the Eucharist: the “wonky” Sacramentum Caritatis on the Eucharist (heaven forbid B16 spend 32,000 words on the Eucharist), as well as (page 5) Cdl. Piacenza’s reassignment to the Penitentiary, where he “adjudicates extremely rare and esoteric sins (e.g., the desecration of Communion wafers)”.

    Nothing less than insulting.

    Certainly, the entire article was not meant to do a “good service” to any of the faithful.

  3. Netmilsmom says:

    Oh Father, you are amazing! When I saw The Holy Father on there, I was singing Dr. Hook to my kids.
    I couldn’t make it through a few paragraphs of the Rolling Stone article. I give credit to anyone who could make it through that Belly of the Beast.

  4. Unwilling says:

    Lombardi also said “the Popes’ communications teams try to do their work well, so that the papal messages are not only transmitted but also understood.” I’ll bet they do!

  5. Andrew says:

    I take the “rolling stone” to be a reference to Sisyphus.

  6. Sean Stark says:

    Thanks alot Zuhlio!
    Now I can’t get that song out of my head!
    I won’t dare click on the Temps or I’ll be living in MoTown the rest of the day!

  7. Robbie says:

    Fr. Lombardi has been awfully busy this past year. The Vatican press shop might consider renaming itself the Vatican Clarification Office.

  8. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Gonna buy five copies for my mother! :^)



  9. OrthodoxChick says:

    Dr. Hook?! Haven’t heard him in forever. Did anyone else watching this vid notice what esteemed company Pope Francis is in? At about 1:55 in, there’s a cover of Bart Simpson. And as if that doesn’t put this all in perspective, right after the Bart cover, there’s a cover with a banner in the bottom-right corner declaring Fr. Guido Sarducci, S. J. “Pope”. So Francis was NOT the first pope to appear on a Rolling Stone cover – lol!

  10. CrimsonCatholic says:

    @ Robbie, RS didn’t interview the Pope nor is the Vatican spokesman clarifying anything.

  11. Arele says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you posted the Dr. Hook song, “Cover of the Rolling Stone!”
    I posted it on Facebook after Pope Francis made the cover, and my husband thought I was reposting from Fr. Z’s blog because it was so clever and appropriate (and because I DO repost lots of Fr. Z’s posts on Facebook).

    In fact, I was kinda looking today to see if Fr. Z had posted it. And here it is!

    It just sums it all up so nicely. In so many ways…

  12. benedetta says:

    Yeah, same old usual Church haters pushing their own personalized agenda on everyone else…this time under the mask of a big cover photo of Pope Francis. But who am I to judge.

  13. The Cobbler says:

    @Andrew, I should have thought of that years ago… I’ll never be able to hear the name/phrase the same way again. 8^)

  14. Vecchio di Londra says:

    It was quite right for Fr Lombardi to make a dignified but strong protest against the abuse of Pope Benedict by this rag for ageing rockers. That kind of insult is beneath personal papal comment.
    I’m only sorry that the bit about Pope Francis knowing ‘what the Church owes to his predecessor’ was slipped in only right at the end of Fr Lombardi’s statement, and in that rather understated and surprisingly low-key phrase.
    In his daily homilies the Holy Father seems perfectly able to criticize and exhort, so hopefully in a future homily he will deal firmly and eloquently with the harmful way he himself is being systematically used by the modernist liberal media and the world’s demagogues as a stick with which to beat every doctrine and tradition of the Church.

  15. Fr. Pius, OP says:

    How very interesting, as Fr. Lombardi does not seem to have responded to similar sentiments–ascribed to him–in James Carroll’s New Yorker piece a bit ago. From the New Yorker article:

    Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., was appointed the director of the press office of the Holy See near the start of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, so he has been explaining Vatican policies for more than seven years. Early in his papacy, Benedict gave a speech that insulted Islam. He reinstated the Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson, brought back a Good Friday ritual that includes a denigrating reference to Jews, and issued a list of “more grave crimes” that seemed to equate the ordination of women with sexual abuse of children by priests. The Vatican was often having to clarify its positions.

    I met Lombardi in a spartan room in a grand Mussolini-era building just outside St. Peter’s Square. Lombardi is a dark-eyed, silver-haired man of seventy-one, who looks as if he could be an Italian film director. I asked what his life had been like since Benedict stepped down. Lombardi broke into a broad smile. Then he said, “We experienced for years—and for good reason, also—that the Church said, ‘No! This is not the right way! This is against the commandments of God!’ The negative aspect of the announcement . . . this was in my personal experience one of the problems.” Father Lombardi and I are almost the same age. In his earnest good will and kindliness, he struck me as the priest I would have liked to become. He said, “The people thought I always had a negative message for them. I am very happy that, with Francis, the situation has changed.” He laughed. “Now I am at the service of a message . . . of love and mercy.” He laughed again.

    A member of the press corps in Rome told me that during the Benedict years Father Lombardi, when addressing reporters, was bothered by a persistent nervous cough. The cough is no longer in evidence.

  16. avatquevale says:

    And yet another progressive. publication used the Pope to sell copies. The formerly respectable New Yorker magazine published a long profile of Francis by James Carroll (Jan.30). As Carroll is a former priest, he writes better and is more knowledgeable than the hacks at Time and Rolling Stone who jumped on the Francis bandwagon. Nevertheless, his profile of Francis and the Church is almost as skewed.

    Commenting on the Pope profile, one of the letters to the editor had this to say:
    “…failing to reverse the Church’s anachronistic proscription of birth control, Francis
    chooses not to alleviate poverty and environmental degradation….The world’s population is expected to approach ten billion in the next few decades. To ignore this is to collaborate in the destruction of the earth.”

    So, Pope Francis is killing the earth? Seriously?

  17. Pingback: Pope Francis: Politics, Policy, and the Press | Blog of the Courtier

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