The Papal ‘Gotcha’ Game

The Pope waves at the end of his airborne news conference.
The Pope waves at the end of his airborne news conference. (photo: CNS/Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI continued his practice of speaking with journalists accompanying him today aboard the papal plane traveling to Jordan.

In so doing, the Pope demonstrated he can’t be intimidated by the media’s game of isolating his comments out of context during papal trips in order to fuel controversy.

The most recent example of this was the media-generated flap in March over the Holy Father’s comments, made while flying to Cameroon, about the ineffectiveness of condom distribution in preventing the spread of AIDS in Africa.

Early indications are that reporters weren’t able find something similarly controversial to highlight from the remarks Benedict made while aboard today’s flight to Jordan. In that sense, we suppose, “no news is good news” in terms of the Pope being able to focus on the real purpose of his trip to the Holy Land — to serve as a pilgrim for peace.

In any event, the Holy Father’s willingness to talk with media representatives again, in the face of their collective history of engaging in “gotcha journalism” while he is traveling, is a clear signal Benedict intends to continue to speak freely about important matters during papal trips.