Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
Reports that Pope Francis told the Italian journalist, Eugenio Scalfari, that remarried divorcees “will be admitted” to the sacraments via the confessional are “in no way reliable” and “cannot be considered as the Pope’s thinking", Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has said.
In a Nov. 1 article in La Repubblica, Scalfari, a 91 year-old atheist and Socialist, wrote that he had spoken with the Pope about the Synod on the Family on the telephone last Wednesday, during which Francis allegedly said: “We must not think that the family does not exist any longer, it will always exist, because ours is a social species, and the family is the support beam of sociability, but it cannot be avoided that the current family, open as you say, contains some positive aspects, and some negative ones.”
The Pope, according to Scalfari and translated by the Rorate Caeli blog, went on to say: “The diverse opinion of the bishops is part of this modernity of the Church and of the diverse societies in which she operated, but the goal is the same, and for that which regards the admission of the divorced to the Sacraments, [it] confirms that this principle has been accepted by the Synod. This is the bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted."
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the Register Nov. 2: "As has already occurred in the past, Scalfari refers in quotes what the Pope supposedly told him, but many times it does not correspond to reality, since he does not record nor transcribe the exact words of the Pope, as he himself has said many times. So it is clear that what is being reported by him in the latest article about the divorced and remarried is in no way reliable and cannot be considered as the Pope's thinking."
Father Lombardi said he would not be issuing a statement about the matter as those who have “followed the preceding events and work in Italy know the way Scalfari writes and knows these things well.” Over the past two years, Scalfari has written several such articles following conversations with Pope Francis, each of which has drawn controversy.
This exchange appears no different, which raises the question: why does the Pope continue to speak to someone such as Scalfari, and discuss such sensitive subjects with him, when he knows he is unreliable but likely to report his words without reference to a recording or transcript?