In an extensive interview Sunday, Pope Francis said that much of the unrest generated by the recent Vatican marriage summit came from people only reading “some news in a newspaper, or an article,” rather than reading what the synod actually said.
Asked about those who were afraid of the collapse of traditional doctrine, Francis said that these fears came from misinformation, rather than from what really happened at the meeting.
“What was the takeaway from the synod?” the Pope asked. “It was the post-synodal document and the Pope’s address. That’s what is definitive from the synod,” he said. And even that, the Pope went on, “will become relative and provisional, turning into a working draft for the next synod.”
Part of the problem, the Pope insinuated, came from the way the bishops at the synod dealt with the media. “I think some fathers made a mistake in the explanations they gave the media,” he said. “We decided that each one of us would grant as many interviews as he liked, with total freedom, no censorship was imposed. We opted for transparency,” he said.
Why, for instance, “did we choose briefings,” the Pope asked, rather than giving out the texts of the addresses? There were two reasons, he said. “In the first place, because they sent their written texts ahead of time, and in their oral presentation said either part of it or changed things. So it wasn’t the real news.”
The second and most important reason, the Pope said, was “to protect the person.” If this were a parliament, Francis continued, “we would have to render an account to our constituents, i.e., the local church. But this is not a parliament and so the person needs to have the freedom to express whatever he has inside, without everybody knowing he said it.” He added, “Sure, let people know what was said, and that’s what the briefing was for. And always with several bishops who had different approaches.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.