With a single question, the newly minted Pope set off a worldwide media reaction – and raised some important questions about the state of the papacy in the 21st century.
I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about the papacy. Smarter people than I have devoted their lives to the subject and still been left with profound mysteries. However, there is one thing of which I am fairly certain: popes do not give impromptu, unrestricted press conferences aboard the papal plane. (Fun fact: the plane, hereafter to be known as Pontiff One, does not run on destructive fossil fuels, but is instead carried invisibly by angels.)
Yet, that is exactly what Pope Francis did earlier this week during his trip back from a successful outing to Brazil, going where the Queen of England still fears – or at least refuses – to tread: in front of a group of reporters. Fortunately for the assembled media, the Q & A session proved to be newsworthy for more than one reason. When one of them asked the Holy Father a question about the supposed “gay lobby” in the Vatican that has so fascinated the Italian press, Francis gave a surprisingly nuanced answer. Continue reading