Monday, April 7, 2014


My comments first: This Vatican Associated Press Reporter simply tells you what I have been saying all along! The press has misconstrued Pope Francis--he is a very conservative pope!
AP Vatican reporter speaks about challenges, rewards of job:

AP Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield discussed the challenges and rewards of reporting from the Vatican. Photo by Caroline Olney, photo editor:

On April 4, Elon’s Society of Professional Journalists, the School of Communications, and the Truitt Center hosted Nicole Winfield, Vatican correspondent for the Associated Press. Winfield discussed the balance between critical and delicate coverage when reporting on religious figures as well as the stories she covered in her years at the Vatican.

“I have a pretty low risk assignment, but there is another side of reporting. Religious reporting can be particularly dangerous,” said Winfield. “Religion matters to people; they take it very seriously.”
At the Vatican, Winfield has covered three popes—John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. She has unique insights into each papacy. Throughout her lecture, Winfield put personal stories to the headlines coming out of the Vatican.

When Pope Francis told reporters “who am I to judge” if someone is gay, reports of a new progressive era for the Vatican swept across the world. Winfield, however, does not believe we can go as far as to say he is the ‘gay rights pope.’

“Don’t let Francis’ positive appeal mislead you; he’s a conservative Catholic,” said Winfield. “He doesn’t care for a lot of ‘small minded rules,’ but there are some rules that form the core of church doctrine. Those won’t change. He is still against abortion and gay marriage.”

Several students who attended the lecture remarked that they did not know Francis’ comment had been misconstrued.

“I was surprised to hear her say Pope Francis is a conservative pope,” said sophomore Shelby Lewis. “You always hear the media frame him as a champion of social justice. It’s interesting to hear that many of his quotes have been taken out of context.”

Winfield has had a front row seat to some of the Vatican’s most precarious moments. She shared her insights into the three papacies, noting how each one handled controversy within the church.
Winfield has covered three popes in over a decade of reporting from the Vatican. Photo by Caroline Olney, photo editor.

She describes Pope Benedict XVI as an academic with a gentle soul. Though he had problematic relations with Jews, Winfield insists he made efforts to mend ties later in his career. His relations with Muslims, however, were not as friendly.

Francis, on the other hand, has made a name for himself as the “interfaith” pope. He has held prayer services with people of many faiths, and even washed the feet of Muslim men.  Winfield recalled the time Pope Francis hosted Jewish guests and “kosherized” the Vatican kitchen.

“Do you know what that requires? You have to bring in a rabbi to bless it and cleanse the oven by burning off impurities and do all this stuff to make sure it’s kosher,” she said. “That doesn’t happen every day at the Vatican.”

Winfield, who is Catholic, spoke about questions of objectivity when reporting on the Vatican.
“I cover the Vatican as I would cover any other institution. I treat it as a bureaucracy, but I go at it with an incredible amount of respect for my readership and the person I am covering,” she said.


Gene said...

Blah, blah, blah...

John Nolan said...

So you can't be doctrinally sound and at the same time a champion of social justice? Someone should have told Cardinal Manning and Leo XIII, to name but two.

Anonymous said...

"The press has misconstrued Pope Francis--he is a very conservative pope!"

And Chris Christie is really anorexic.

Gene said...

Hey, guys, the Vatican has a spin chick...

Gabby said...

I don't think it's a case of 'either...or'. It's just that the media has fixated on the social justice side and improperly reported a lot of other stuff he's said. "Who am I to judge?" was in response a reporter asking him how he would deal with a homosexual priest who was celibate and chaste. But the 'priest, celibate, chaste' part of the question was glossed over so that only "Homosexual? Who am I to judge" was reported over and over and over...

Bobby said...

Oh Gabby, don't let the truth get in the way of peoples ignorance!

Rood Screen said...

Gabby and Bobby,

Agreed. Pope Emeritus Benedict made many "off the cuff" remarks that the media could have reported improperly. However, Benedict's personal statements and writings on faith and morals were so well known that no one could convincingly contradict them with misconstrued snippets from his remarks. It's only a matter of time before media ignorance about Francis becomes evident to everyone.

Anonymous said...

"Who am I to judge?" was in response a reporter asking him how he would deal with a homosexual priest who was celibate and chaste.

This would have been a good teaching opportunity--to explain carefully that, whereas any unmarried person of whatever "preference" is morally obliged to chastity and continence, a priest whose self-identity is homosexual cannot be truly configured ontologically to Christ the eternal high priest.

Gene said...

This interfaith Pope stuff is nonsense. This is a time in which the Church should be emphasizing her uniqueness, yes, her differences from other religions.
I know that goes against the feel good, modernist, cultural equivalence grain, but the Church must say to the world, "We know something you do not." Washing the feet of Muslims is like a mouse washing the feet of a hawk…the mouse sees the hawk as a friend and the hawk sees the mouse as lunch. And, what is the point of "koshering" the Vatican kitchen? Has a synagogue anywhere incensed an altar with the Host upon it? This going hat in hand to other faiths is bad business. That is not the meaning of ecumenism, which has been re-defined as egalitarianism by post-Christian theologians and other wastoids.

rcg said...

If it makes you feel better, none of those same students could name any of their elected representatives, either.

Православный физик said...

Proof to show that he (Pope Francis) needs to be precise when he speaks.