Chile Faux Pas the Latest of Pope Francis’ Interview Missteps


National Catholic Register, 9 February 2018

Alongside the Pope’s recent apology for his remarks during his last trip, there have been other notable examples of papal mistakes.

On his return flight from Peru, Pope Francis asked pardon for a brief press interview he gave while in Chile, wherein he said that those accusing Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno of covering up sexual abuse were engaged in “calumny.” That created such an uproar that Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston publicly criticized the papal statement. Hence the apology on the plane home.

Andrea Tornielli, a Vatican correspondent close to the papal household, took note, saying that the apology “will go down in history as the first explicit and public mea culpa of a Pope who acknowledges his own mistake (and not that made by his predecessors in a distant past).”

Whether that is true or not, it is certainly not the first time that Pope Francis has made a serious mistake in his press interviews.

“I have made a mistake two or three times in my way of saying things,” Pope Francis told Dominique Wolton in an interview book published last year, Politique et Societé. “On the plane: Two or three times, I’ve made a mistake.”

The Holy Father doesn’t specify when he made mistakes, and Bolton doesn’t ask, but in light of what happened after the Chile-Peru trip, we can consider examples of when the Holy Father thought he made a mistake.

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