Atheist interviewer didn’t take notes, record interview with Pope Francis: Vatican spokesman

The Vatican spokesman noted that “Scalfari has stated that he showed the text to Francis for his approval, but it’s not clear how closely the pope read it.”
Mon Oct 7, 2013 - 5:39 pm EST

ROME, October 7, 2013 ( - The accuracy of the latest interview with Pope Francis, published in the Italian newspaper La Reppublica, has been called into question by the Vatican days after its release. 

Initially, questions about the interview, wherein Pope Francis reportedly said, "The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old,” were met with silence.   However, when the Vatican press chief, Fr. Federico Lombardi, was pressed on the La Repubblica interview during a press conference last week on another subject, he noted that the interview was “not a magisterial document.”

Then, in a letter of clarification by English-language Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica, sent to the National Catholic Register, Rosica revealed that the interviewer, atheist Eugenio Scalfari, “did not tape his interview with Pope Francis, nor did he take notes, so the text was an after-the-fact reconstruction.”

Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari SOURCE:

The letter, published in full by the Register Saturday, also notes that “Scalfari has stated that he showed the text to Francis for his approval, but it’s not clear how closely the pope read it.” 

Nevertheless, the interview, as it was reported in La Repubblica, was published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and on the Vatican website in the section reserved for speeches by the pope. In addition, the letter notes that Fr. Lombardi “has attested to the overall ‘trustworthiness’ of the Scalfari interview.”

The clarification release signed by Fr. Rosica also noted of the Scalfari interview, “Such texts run the risk of either missing some key details or conflating various moments or events recounted during the oral interview.”  It pointed to “some minor, unprecise details” contained in the interview, such as a supposed “hesitation on the part of Pope Francis in accepting the election to the papacy and another, a so-called ‘mystical experience’ of Pope Francis on the night of his election to the Papacy, March 13, 2013.” 

While it does set the record straight on the matter of the unfolding of Cardinal Bergoglio’s acceptance of the papal election, the clarification letter doesn’t speak to other controversial matters contained within the interview. 

Read the full clarification letter at the National Catholic Register

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