Did Pope Francis really say he wants to see trouble in the dioceses that gets rid of clericalism or did AP make it up?

The world’s media are reporting that Pope Francis told  young people at World Youth Day that he wants to see them go back to their countries and cause trouble in their dioceses with the purpose of getting rid of clericalism:

Associated Press are reporting:

“I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!” he said, speaking off the cuff in his native Spanish. “I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!” Apparently realizing the radicalness of his message, he apologized in advance to the bishops at home.

Vatican Radio are reporting:

“I would like to tell you what my expectations are regarding this World Youth Day” said Pope Francis “I would like us to make noise, I would like those inside the Dioceses to go out into the open; I want the Church to be in the streets; I want us to defend ourselves against all that is worldliness, comfort, being closed and turned within – Parishes, colleges and institutions must get out otherwise they risk becoming NGOs, and the Church is not a Non-Governmental Organization”.

Protect the Pope comment: The differences between the Associated Press report and the Vatican Radio report are striking. The AP report quotes Pope Francis as saying he wants ‘a mess’ as a consequence of WYD. Vatican Radio makes no mention of ‘mess’ but instead has ‘I would like us to make noise’. The AP report quotes Pope Francis as saying he wants ‘trouble in the dioceses’, the Vatican makes no mention of ‘trouble in the dioceses’ but instead quotes Pope Francis as saying ‘I would like those inside the Dioceses to go out into the open’. AP reports Pope Francis wanting to get ‘rid of clericalism’, the Vatican report makes no mention of clericalism, and instead has ‘ I want us to defend ourselves against all that is worldliness, comfort, being closed and turned within.’ There are significant differences between the AP report and the Vatican report. Which one is correct?

The AP version is being used to justify the MSM spin that Pope Francis is rebellious against the Church, with the opening paragraph, ‘Pope Francis has shown the world his rebellious side, urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a “mess” in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith ‘. Protect the Pope has no problem with the idea of Pope Francis wanting to shake up self-absorbed dioceses and getting rid of clericalism, which has long been the bane of the Church. But Protect the Pope doesn’t trust the source of this report, because AP has been consistently anti-Catholic and anti-Pope. Vatican Radio needs to explain the discrepancies between their report and AP’s.



31 comments to Did Pope Francis really say he wants to see trouble in the dioceses that gets rid of clericalism or did AP make it up?

  • Sonja

    What he actually said can clearly be heard from the Pope in the video of the proceedings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwF6eTYbz18
    Unfortunately I don’t speak Spanish so cannot comment. el ruido = noise and un desastre /el desorden = disorder.
    I watched the video and felt the connection between Pope and his young followers from Argentina, but it did not come across as a rally inciting to disruption in the diocese. The fact that he is against clericalism for its own sake — is already well established in a number of homilies delivered to Papal Nuncios, seminarians, etc. The truthful transcript will be available — but I suspect the Pope is being sadly misquoted.

  • I saw this earlier here and could not believe it. The Vatican needs to take control of all messages, talks, etc. which come from this Pope. Clericalism is a strange word here, anyway. The Church is based on the hierarchy, the apostolic succession,etc. as you well know. Clericalism is what? Does he mean priests wearing black, or the traditional hierarchy using a word which has both a positive and pejorative meaning? I have seen more problems with language with this good Pope than with the last two. Is it that he speaks extemporaneously and catches the official translators off-guard?

    The real problem has been the clericalization of the laity. The laity have forgotten they are leaven in the world.

    This type of misquoting or bad translations has happened since the first week of Francis’ papacy.

    It is becoming chronic.

  • Victoria

    I speak Spanish. I heard his speech in Spanish. I offer you a poor, but sort of literal, translation of what he said: “I want trouble in the dioceses, I want to go outside, I want the Church to go out into the street. I want us to defend ourselves from all that is worldliness, all that is comfort, all that is clericalism, all that is being closed in ourselves. Parishes, colleges and institutions are to go out; if they don’t go out, they become a NGO and the Church cannot be a NGO!”

    Then he added: “I want the bishops and priests to forgive me, if some cause you troubles later, but that’s the advice.”

  • Lionel (Paris)

    I found this speech a little ambiguous… However, maybe I did not understand, because I do not know much about Spanish. I think that, ultimately, he wanted to urge young people to a “missionary spirit”(?)

  • NIcole Winfield is the byline. She is one of a the so-called “religious” editors/reporters. Just do a search for her stories. They are consistently anti-Catholic. She doesn’t report on religion in the sense one normally thinks of it. She has an agenda which is to promote the “religion of secular humanism”. Which is to say atheism. (Dr. William Marra has an excellent talk on this subject which is available online.)

    When Benedict was Pope she wrote a story titled “Pope urges respect for embryos” which was based on his call for a “vigil for all nascent human life”. So this type of distortion is nothing new for her. You would think that AP would have more dignity. And once AP releases a story it gets picked up by news sources all around the world.

    Another anti-Catholic “religion” journalist to watch out for is Laurie Goodstein at the New York Times

    • Denis

      Here in Britain there are so many “mischevious” or should we be truthful and say downright malicious journalists it’s hard to know where to begin. Perhaps as a kind of parlour game I can start with Nick Squires, and the now disgraced hero of the secular lobby, Johan Hari. Interesting that when Hari was in his pomp he not only relied on cut and paste plagiarism, but also appeared on “debates” which consisted of a verbal onslaught on his opponent that allowed no contrary opinion to be heard. A frightening glimpse into the world of “equality” that he and his kind would impose on us all.
      For an interesting example of Squires work see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/10197056/Pope-Francis-forced-into-helicopter-to-avoid-protests.html
      Note in particular the deliberate and damaging innuendo at play in Squires article.

  • If I was choosing someone to head a worldwide institution I should choose someone with proven communication skills. Pope Francis speaks the language of his parents and that of the country in which he was brought up. No great shakes! He does not appear to be a great communicator. He is therefore at the mercy of those who will translate him. No wonder he is so popular. He can be anything they want him to be!

    • Michael B Rooke

      @ MelanieB
      Thank you very much for the link. I note the Holy Father said ‘noise’

      He also spoke of the unity of Faith.

      “Please do not water down your faith in Jesus Christ. We dilute fruit drinks – orange, apple, or banana juice, but please do not drink a diluted form of faith. Faith is whole and entire, not something that you water down. It is faith in Jesus. It is faith in the Son of God made man, who loved me and who died for me. So then: make yourselves heard; take care of the two ends of the population: the elderly and the young; do not allow yourselves to be excluded and do not allow the elderly to be excluded.”

      He repeated at the end of the homily

      “take care of the two ends of the population: the elderly and the young; do not allow yourselves to be excluded and do not allow the elderly to be excluded.”

      The young and elderly are excluded by abortion and euthanasia. The secular press have ignored that statement.

    • Peter

      The official document clearly states “everything to do with clericalism” therefore I would suggest the AP release is the more accurate.

  • “(T)he MSM spin that Pope Francis is rebellious against the Church, with the opening paragraph, ‘Pope Francis has shown the world his rebellious side, urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a “mess” in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith‘.

    Firstly, I have no idea who or what is MSM. But, secondly, he, she or it is demonstrably wrong. If Pope Francis wants “mess” in one or some dioceses, he would want it in all. So why did he appoint Mgr Leo Cushley as Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh specifically to clean up the mess in that metropolitan archdiocese? And be assured this was very much a personal appointment whether or not Leo was at the top of the terna.

  • Michael B Rooke

    The Spanish text of the Pope’s remarks may be found on this link.

    The word used that is translated as ‘mess’ in Spanish is lio. Google translates that in the whole passage as ‘mess’.
    However if lio is translated as a single word Google lists a series of meanings. Spanish seems to be a very fluid as a language regarding meaning. I note lio can also mean mix up!.
    In the context of what Pope Francis was saying fuss sounds about right and although google does not list ‘noise’ (as yet) it conveys the same sense in English.

    It looks as though there will be close attention to Spanish meanings in the future.


    mess lío, confusión, enredo, revoltijo, rancho, mamarracho
    muddle confusión, embrollo, desorden, lío, perplejidad
    hassle molestia, problema, lío, pelea, bullicio
    fuss escándalo, aspavientos, jaleo, lío, protesta, bulla
    bundle haz, manojo, bulto, lío, fajo, ramillete
    package paquete, embalaje, envase, bulto, conjunto de medidas, paquete de programas
    tangle enredo, maraña, embrollo, confusión, lío, nudo cosido
    scrape rasguño, raspado, arañazo, chirrido, lío, reverencia obsequiosa
    imbroglio embrollo, lío
    clutter desorden, confusión, lío
    ruckus lío
    rumpus lío, revuelo, batahola
    ruction bronca, lío
    hash picadillo, hachís, chocolate, lío
    stink hedor, tufo, hediondez, lío, follón
    wad taco, fajo, bolita, tapón, guata, lío
    palaver palabrería, lío, charlatanería, conferencia, asunto, engatusamiento
    truss braguero, entramado, racimo, haz, fardo, paquete
    pellmell lío, barahúnda
    f* up lío, follón
    pell-mell lío, barahúnda
    snarl-up congestión, bloque, lío, caos
    mix-up confusión, lío, pelea

    *My abbreviation.

  • Dominic MacCarthy

    Maybe this would be an example of the sort of thing Pope Francis means: back in about 1990/91, Youth 2000 was in its first years, and they arranged to run a Youth Retreat weekend in Liverpool Cathedral, with inspiring speakers, Mass, Exposition etc. This was all OK’d by the cathedral authorities. Part of their schedule, however, was for the young people to go out witnessing and evangelising on the streets of Liverpool, in the city centre.

    This set the alarm bells ringing for the great and ecumenical Archbishop Derek Worlock. He felt that the youngsters going out to evangelise might disturb the ecumenical balance, it might cause trouble in some way. So he refused to allow the street evangelisation as part of the weekend conference / retreat. Youth 2000 could only have the cathedral venue if they dropped their street evangelisation element.

    All credit to Youth 2000. They weren’t going to surrender on what they considered a key part of the weekend retreat experience. So they moved the whole Youth retreat to Southwark, and I don’t think they have been back to Liverpool since.

    I wonder what Pope Francis would think of the great Archbishop Worlock’s stance on youth evangelising? The great Archbishop obviously felt slightly uneasy about his decision because he insisted on explaining his reasons to me personally at great length (I had been involved in some of the organisational arrangements). But obviously in the great Archbishop’s mind, the considerations of the ecumenical entente cordiale with his great friend Bishop David Shepherd outweighed other things, like youngsters going out to spread the Catholic Faith.

    We are now privileged in retrospect to see the great fruit borne by the great Archbishop’s general approach to ecumenism and evangelisation: Mass attendance in the great Archdiocese last year stood at 51,000 out of 570,000 nominal Catholics (about 9%).

    • ms Catholic state

      I agree with you Dominic. The English hierarchy seems to draw the evangelisation line at lapsed Catholics….and no more. That is really a disgrace. Do they not want others to join the Church. Sometimes it seems they are perfectly happy with the social life in the Church….and don’t want this cosy club disturbed by newcomers.

    • Denis

      Dominic ,
      How sad. Liverpool and Catholicism were once synonymous. I pray that Archbishop Warlock is now in Heaven, but here on earth it seems he did terrible damage. I remember him being ridiculed by the satirical magazine Private Eye when unable to condemn the murder of an innocent man as a heinous sin he said “are we not all to blame”. Pathetic!!
      Thank God there are still the devout in Liverpool and that by following God’s will the Faith will grow once again.

    • John Fannon


      I hope you enjoy Alice Thomas Ellis’ take on Archbishop Worlock Spectator 2005 as recounted by Damian Thompson.

      She remarked that his ecumenical ministry had involved ‘taking something pure and strong, mixing it up with something weak and polluted, slashing it about, watching the churches empty and then congratulating himself on his progress’.

    • Rob

      Thanks Dominic for a thoughtful comment. I suspect your thinking is along the rights lines.

  • Genty

    While the two appear to be incompatible it’s not entirely either/or. One is a Francis off-the-cuff comment. The other is a formal script by a team of speechwriters. Where the latter is clear and unambiguous, the former can be random and loose and a translation slavishly faithful to the words, but without nuance, creates this kind of confusion. We’ve seen it in the liturgy.

  • ms Catholic state

    To be honest….with the stultifying complacency of many bishops and priests…..this message is not as bad as it seems. And I don’t interpret it as a revolution against the Church….but as a backlash against Catholics sitting cosily with secular society….without making any noise.

    We are to be on the streets filled with the Holy Spirit…..and making converts for Christ. We could be passing out prayer cards and other material on the streets….and we could be wearing our Crosses visibly etc We could be bringing the Blessed Sacrament to the streets…..and we could be holding Catholic festivals etc (I do think there has been a slight increase in this sort of evangelisation….but we need more….much more. God Willing). And we must remember to go out of our closed Catholic circles…

  • tro

    Well, Bishop Francis has consistently downplayed the papacy. In the context of his papacy so far, AP’s translation of his comments doesn’t seem too outlandish.

  • One of the problems with the new evangelization is that too many of those doing it are not orthodox, and that includes priests, brothers as well as lay people. The Pope really needs to be more careful in his statements, as the world has different ears than the faithful in the Church, especially those who support Him but cringe at the media circus.

    • Michael B Rooke

      @ Marie Dean
      We have a secular press that is trying to trip up and find fault with the Holy Father at every turn. It will be increasingly the duty and obligation of Catholics to consult primary sources and expose the manufactured divisions whenever they arise. Division is satanic. Unity is from God.

      We should not overlook that some liberal ‘Catholic’ journalists, MPs and academics may have only obtained their position and were selected because they dissented from the unity with the Magisterium.

      • tro

        “We have a secular press that is trying to trip up and find fault with the Holy Father at every turn.”

        That’s not the impression I’m getting – quite the opposite. They seem to think he’s a “breath of fresh air” and a man of great humility (unlike his predecessors).

        Benedict got grief in spades from the media – but I’m not seeing that with Francis. I have no doubt that will change, though.

        • Michael B Rooke


          You don’t have to go very for from these pages.
          Look at the excellent analysis by Deacon Nick on the Pope being misrepresented in this section.

          Look at the Editorial in the Tablet in

          Look at the article on the interview of Archbishop Chaput.
          Interviewer comments such as ‘Commentators have pointed out that during his first 120 days, Francis hasn’t used the words “abortion,” “gay marriage” and “euthanasia.” Is that troubling to you?’

          Then read the leaflet ‘Care for Life’ It’s Worth It being distributed at Holy Mass this week end that includes the sermon by the Holy Father in 2005 when he was Archbishop Bergoglio.
          Some of it is on this web page.

          The Pope is covering the same ground of the protection of life using different words.

          • Wake up England

            Michael Rooke:

            Maybe you’re right, but why not just call abortion what it is: abortion? Why mince words and go in for euphemisms and paraphrase? What we need is plain speaking – not hinting.

      • Michael B Rooke

        @ Wake up England ref post July 28 2013 2:18pm

        God is love , beauty and perfection. Beauty is derived from God. God is not a summation of negatives.
        The Pope said “All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth…to give life is to open (our) heart, and to care for life is to (give oneself) in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in my heart for others.

        “Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing… So, go forth and don’t be discouraged. Care for life. It’s worth it.”

        The emphasis on the positive is more likely to make a person seek to be closer to God than description in the negative ” abortion is sin”.
        Pope Benedict XVI has used similar words ( see footnotes.)

        We should all follow the lead of the Holy Father. Pope Francis has spoken in the tradition of Pope Paul VI , Blessed Pop John II and Pope Benedict XVI and has outflanked all of the secular journalists by taking us closer to God with emphasis on the beauty of life

        Some footnotes

        The Penny Catechism stated
        113. What is sin?
        Sin is an offence against God, by any thought, word, deed, or omission against the law of God.

        The Catholic Encyclopaedia under Sin provides an exegesis from St Thomas Aquinas
        Sin is described as a moral evil.
        Evil is a deficiency in perfection and therefore cannot exist in God.

        Pope Paul VI wrote
        9. We believe that this only God is absolutely one in His infinitely holy essence as also in all His perfections, in His omnipotence, His infinite knowledge, His providence, His will and His love. He is He who is, as He revealed to Moses;(4) and He is love, as the apostle John teaches us:(5) so that these two names, being and love, express ineffably the same divine reality of Him who has wished to make Himself known to us, and who, “dwelling in light inaccessible,”(6) is in Himself above every name, above every thing and above every created intellect. God alone can give us right and full knowledge of this reality by revealing Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in whose eternal life we are by grace called to share, here below in the obscurity of faith and after death in eternal light. The mutual bonds which eternally constitute the Three Persons, who are each one and the same divine being, are the blessed inmost life of God thrice holy, infinitely beyond all that we can conceive in human measure.(7) We give thanks, however, to the divine goodness that very many believers can testify with us before men to the unity of God, even though they know not the mystery of the most holy Trinity.


        Blessed John Paul II wrote
        9. It can be said, paradoxically, that the sin presented in the third chapter of Genesis confirms the truth about the image and likeness of God in man, since this truth means freedom, that is, man’s use of free will by choosing good or his abuse of it by choosing evil, against the will of God. In its essence, however, sin is a negation of God as Creator in his relationship to man, and of what God wills for man, from the beginning and for ever. Creating man and woman in his own image and likeness, God wills for them the fullness of good, or supernatural happiness, which flows from sharing in his own life. By committing sin man rejects this gift and at the same time wills to become “as God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:5), that is to say, deciding what is good and what is evil independently of God, his Creator. The sin of the first parents has its own human “measure”: an interior standard of its own in man’s free will, and it also has within itself a certain “diabolic” characteristic,29 which is clearly shown in the Book of Genesis (3:15). Sin brings about a break in the original unity which man enjoyed in the state of original justice: union with God as the source of the unity within his own “I”, in the mutual relationship between man and woman (“communio personarum”) as well as in regard to the external world, to nature.


        It is necessary to help them understand that evil is the deprivation of the good that should be present, and that sin is man’s turning away from God, the source of all good.


        Pope Benedict XVI used very similar words to Pope Francis in 2005.

        “..wherever people are ready to dispose of unborn life because it seems to take up room in their own lives, it is there that the life of others is most at risk. If we want to protect life, then we must above all rediscover the source of life; then life itself must re-emerge in its full beauty and sublimeness; then we must let ourselves be enlivened by the Holy Spirit, the creative source of life”. The Pope used the parable of the Prodigal Son also to speak about freedom: “He wanted life and therefore desired to..”

        The beauty of being a Christian and the joy of communicating it
        The Encounter of Pope Benedict XVI with Ecclesial Movements and New Communities


        “…rather, the beauty of Truth appears in him, the beauty of God himself who draws us to himself and, at the same time captures us with the wound of Love, the holy passion (eros), that enables us to go forth together, with and in the Church his Bride, to meet the Love who calls us…”

        The above quote is from a homily by the then Cardinal Ratzinger in 2002. Beauty is mentioned no less than 44 times
        “The Feeling of Things, the Contemplation of Beauty”


  • Wake up England

    Well, there’s trouble a plenty at Comopstella

  • Hi I am happy has a voluntary catholic youth worker working in reality with the words of Pope Francis, he is a breath of fresh air in the humble beginnings of being Pope, caring and speaking out for the poor, I have been called a liberal catholic many times, but this does not worry me. Because in our youth work with young people, we meet them where they are and if they create a mess and make people listen great, change is something we don’t like, but must accept at times.

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