Vatican Unease Over Latest Scalfari Interview With Pope

Vatican Unease Over Latest Scalfari Interview With Pope

Vatican officials are uneasy and perplexed after the publication this week of a conversation between Pope Francis and an atheist journalist who, for the third time in his conversations with the pontiff, didn’t record the exchange.

The officials’ discomfort also extends to the Pope’s spontaneous telephone calls to strangers, a couple of which implied he deviated from Church teaching but, being private and unrecorded conversations, are difficult to verify.

On Sunday, Eugenio Scalfari, co-founder of the Italian daily La Repubblica, published in the newspaper a long account of a conversation he had with the Pope last week.

Francis didn’t say anything particularly unusual, but some of the subject matter was highly sensitive including clerical sex abuse, priestly celibacy and the mafia.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, clearly not notified in advance of the conversation nor present during the exchange to record it, was unable to offer satisfactory clarification but — as has become usual — had to pick up the pieces.

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