Any media outlet devoted to Catholicism is expected to accurately report what the pope says. Unfortunately, the Vatican correspondent for “Crux,” Inés San Martín, says that Pope Francis told an audience of Christians yesterday that he “asked for forgiveness for Catholic persecution of other Christian churches,” and that he did so once before in 2014. But a closer look at what he actually said shows her bias.
Pope Francis did not use the word “persecution.” He asked for “forgiveness for the behavior of Catholics towards Christians,” but he never accused them of “persecution.” He added, “At the same time, I invite all Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if they, today or in the past, have been offended by other Christians.”
AP, Religion News Service, and the Catholic News Service did a better job than “Crux.” None said the pope was asking for forgiveness for any alleged “persecutions.”
The 2014 comment that Martín cites was in reference to fascists in Italy under Mussolini who persecuted Pentecostals. The pope rightfully acknowledged that “some were Catholics.” That is altogether different from blaming the entire Catholic Church.
There is a tendency among some Catholics to engage in breast-beating, always looking for the dark side of their religion. This self-righteous exercise is not helpful, especially when it comes from journalists.