Today at GetReligion, it's deja vu all over again.
Once again, a story on Pope Francis by Associated Press reporter Nicole Winfield has us asking, "What is this?" As I wrote the last time around:
Is [the article] meant to be hard-news journalism, or is it meant to be advocacy or commentary? And if it's commentary, or analysis, why is it not labeled as such? Why is the AP selling it to news outlets as straight reporting?
This time, the AP article is on Francis's address to the International Theological Commission, "Pope to Theologians: Listen to the Ordinary Faithful." It begins:
Pope Francis urged the Catholic Church’s top theologians on Friday to listen to what ordinary Catholics have to say and pay attention to the “signs of the times,” rather than just making pronouncements in an academic vacuum.
If this is meant to be straight news story, then the first question is, did the pope really say that? And the answer is no -- at least, not exactly. He did mention the "signs of the times." However, having read his entire speech, the claim that he decried "making pronouncements in an academic vacuum" strikes me as pretty far-fetched.
Moreover, Francis's reference to the signs of the times was actually in reference to the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes. In context, it does not seem to mean what Winfield takes it to mean. As a Twitter user noted, it's not about blowing with the wind, but rather about evaluating contemporary voices "in light of the word of God":