As seems to be the norm in this papacy, some of the most quotable remarks by Pope Francis came in his now obligatory chat with the press on the flight back to Rome after his visit to Africa. Click here for a full text, care of the Catholic News Agency.
This time, there were several hot topics to choose from, starting with the pope's statement that "Fundamentalism is a sickness that is in all religions," including in Catholicism. (Clearly popes are not required to follow the Associated Press Stylebook.)
Then there were his latest words on global climate change, in which the pope noted: "We are at the limit of a suicide, to say a strong word."
However, Pope Francis also talked about another topic that is sure to be of interest to GetReligion readers and, so far, these words have not been given much attention in the mainstream media. This is interesting, since the work -- and value -- of the mainstream press was the topic the pope was asked to address.
The context was clear: The legal tensions between the Vatican and the media, in the wake of the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal. For background, please note the interesting John L. Allen, Jr., Crux analysis of this case: "Why a criminal trial for leaks could boomerang on the Vatican." Allen notes, concerning a Vatileaks trial:
It could have a chilling effect on its relationship with the media. To state the obvious, acquiring information that institutions don’t want you to have and then making it public is a fairly good working definition of what reporters do for a living, and trying to criminalize that activity isn’t exactly a prescription for détente. ...
The Vatican’s Promoter of Justice insisted the charges aren’t about publishing confidential material, but the way the journalists obtained those materials, including whether untoward pressure was applied. But most observers will likely still see the process as payback for spilling the Vatican’s secrets.
In that context, Pope Francis was asked during his latest in-flight presser: