Kind of a big deal….

After weeks of protest and prayer from faithful Catholics (examples of mine here 1 and here 2), it seems that “the Scalfari interview” has finally been removed from the pope’s speeches at the Vatican website

This is a fabulous answer to prayer! On the one hand it makes much of my recent polemics irrelevant, but on the other hand it makes them all the more justified. I think I knew that this change was inevitable, so I printed out an English copy of the interview (11/2/13), just to have something to remember old Scalfari by, now that he’s been thrown even further under the bus.

screen capture - Pope Francis speeches - Scalfari interviewBlogging Excellence: screen capture shows a tab for the tutorial I needed to take screen capture.

I took that screen capture on October 6, but in the following weeks four other translations were added. Now it’s all gone. I may have missed an official statement about this, and a correction may be upcoming (dry cough), but short of that, I believe that this Orwellian erasure will go unheralded in the larger Catholic blogosphere.


I have already explained how problematic the pope’s own regret over the Scalfari interview is for soft-ultramontanist water-carriers, but this stealthy retraction only nails the coffin shut on their “Catholic” obeisance. The pope himself, and now even the molasses-like gear work of the Vatican, has renounced the Scalfari interview as beneath the dignity of the Vicar of Christ. This means that every insipid defense of “there is no Catholic God” must go out the window; that all arguments defending the pope’s reference to the desire to convert others as “downright nonsense” must be spurned; and that all vapid defenses of “everyone has his own idea of good and evil” must be chucked. And so on, and so forth.

And so on.

And so forth.

Will we hear any of this from the leading lights of Catholic blogdom? Don’t count on it.

I’ve spent weeks trying to explain why the Scalfari interview, if nothing else, rightly offends any informed Catholic soul (and I’m not the only one)–and yet at the same time I’ve been talked down to as if I were a chimpanzee troglodyte in a sandbox with crayons, and have been reassured in the most patronizing tones that it all makes perfectly orthodox sense, if I would just stop scribbling my ideological Pelagianism on the walls, pharisaical older brother that I am.


The Vatican has quietly retracted that disaster of an interview, which once went out to the world in six languages, and presumably I–.

Well, you know the rest.

Keep praying, kiddos.


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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17 Responses to Kind of a big deal….

  1. Branch says:

    Exactly right.

  2. Branch says:

    Throughout this affair, I’ve had the scene from the Wizard of Oz in my head, where they discover the “wizard” is just a man behind the curtain though the man himself continues to try to cover that up. Not exactly parallel, as I think the water-carrying Catholics have played more the part of the man scrambling to restore the curtain, but it’s been a similar dynamic.

  3. How embarrassing it must be to be a soft ultramontanist after *this* revelation!

  4. c matt says:

    I wonder how these same folks would react in the following scenario:

    Obama gives an off the cuff interview to Pat Buchanan, in which Pat reports the O said: Abortion should be illegal; and taxes are too high (or other anti-liberal statements). The O posts this interview on For months, Kos, slate and other websites try to explain how these statements of the O actually are in line with liberal groupthink. Finally, after about two months, the WH removes the interview. Would they not be calling BS on Kos, slate, et al?

  5. Dale Price says:

    Another answer to prayer:

    I’ve really been meaning to get the Marchetto book–now it goes into the “must order now” pile.

  6. wewjude says:

    Another good reason for faithful Catholics to ‘make a mess’ and stir things up a bit when nonsensical ramblings from Rome are presented to the world as representative of Catholic teaching. Good enough…now on to stirring things up a bit more and demanding that Ricca and his ilk be banished from their positions of authority within the Church. Silence in the face of evil is a grave sin!

  7. Janet Baker says:

    I guess “better late than never”, but sometimes you can’t get the toothpaste back in the tube.

  8. Toothpaste? What toothpaste? You know an atheist like Scalfari probably would stoop to publishing a phony interview with Pope Francis. 😉

  9. rob says:

    This interview resulted in the faithful bewildered and disheartened. Wish the Pope will think of the consequences of creating confusion among the 1.2 billion Catholics.

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  11. Jim says:

    The interview has been taken down but it did take place. I, for one, continue to be concerned. Has the Vatican said that the Pope’s remarks were misrepresented by Scalfari? Do they say that Pope Francis repudiates the comments attributed to him in the interview? Simply erasing the interview does not, for me, erase the questions and concerns,

  12. I fully agree. Teaching that 2+2 = 5 is still false and harmful even if you erase it from the board and don’t clarify the “glitch”. It’s Orwellian, or very near to it.

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