I recently received a chain email about an alleged interview with Pope Francis prior to the papal conclave by Chris Matthews of MSNBC fame. The email contains the compelling and well written interview, yet is completely fictitious.
Here is a sample.
REPORTER: Welcome Cardinal.
BERGOGLIO: Thank you. Happy to speak with you.
REPORTER: Well, let me get into it directly. Last conclave, you were almost elected Pope. Can this happen again?
BERGOGLIO: What? That I will almost be the Pope, again?
REPORTER: No. Will you be the next Pope?
BERGOGLIO: Friend, I’m only jesting with you. I understand the question. I will not be the next Pope.
REPORTER: Why not?
BERGOGLIO: I chose not to. God has someone else in mind I’m certain.
REPORTER: But you would take the job if it were offered.
BERGOGLIO: I think not.
REPORTER: Why not.
BERGOGLIO: I believe I’m too embroiled in the secular fiasco. It is a spiritual job and I’m a soldier. Look at the nature of power. In Europe first and now in America, elected men have taken it upon themselves to indebt their people to create an atmosphere of dependency. And why? For their own selfish need to increase their own personal power. I’ve been a keen observer of the effect this has on the people, especially the poor. They are very good at creating poverty where there is no reason to explain it. My job is try to alleviate poverty and if that means to oppose the ‘cause then I will not be Pope.
REPORTER: But you are worried you would be a spend thrift pope?
BERGOGLIO: Friend. Where did you go to school?
REPORTER: La Salle College High School in Pennsylvania and….
BERGOGLIO: And after that?
REPORTER: College of the Holy Cross.
BERGOGLIO: They told me you were Catholic. Once elected the Pope is by virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error. God would change any spend thrift politician into a responsible Pope. I’m just saying I’m not that man.
REPORTER: So what is your job?
BERGOGLIO: My job is to ask you, “why are men creating poverty?”
REPORTER: What do you mean?
BERGOGLIO: I mean that poverty is part of the natural condition and that is bad enough. But my task is to prevent the aggravation of this condition. The ideology that adds to the poverty must be denounced. I have and this is the reason I will not be Pope. I have a saying for myself, “No more poverty than God originally intended in the fall from Grace.”
BERGOGLIO: It is a spiritual choice and I’m a political person. I’m sorry. I know you will make more money from this interview if I’m Pope. Or want to be Pope. But I’m sorry. I can’t help you. God has already chosen someone anyway. Right? You learned this in school?
Link (here) to the full fictitious piece
This is an except from a website entitled, Truth or Fiction
TruthOrFiction.Com has found no evidence of this being true. A search of the MSNBC website found no such interview in the archives and inquiries sent to Matthews have yet to be responded. According to a March 24, 2013 article in London's Telegraph, the transcript of the interview was published on the website of the Roman Catholic diocese in Salford but was later taken down because it could not be verified. Salford is a city in England that is East of Manchester. There are indications in the transcript that this may be a hoax.
Matthews is a Roman Catholic as well as a professional interviewer. A professional would not have begun an interview by addressing a Catholic Cardinal with "Welcome Cardinal." The correct protocol when addressing a Catholic Cardinal is "Your Eminence," according to "How to Address Church Officials" found posted on the website Catholiceducation.org. Cardinals may also be addressed by "Your Lordship" but it would be considered bad form to say "Welcome Cardinal" without including the clergyman's last name. Another clue that this could possibly be a hoax is that the spelling of Matthew's name is incorrect in the transcript of the forwarded email.