John Allen Jr. writes on how the speech delivered to the press about the Pope’s talk with the Swiss bishops bore no relation to what the Holy Father actually said.
…The back-story to what happened is that on Sunday evening, the Secretariat of State sent the 2005 draft up to the papal apartment in preparation for Tuesday’s meeting. Hearing nothing, they presumed that Benedict intended to use it, and gave it to the Press Office and L’Osservatore Romano for distribution. In fact, however, the reason Benedict never replied with any corrections or amendments is because he decided to set aside the draft altogether. When the mistake became clear, copies of L’Osservatore Romano with the unused text had to be withdrawn, and the Press Office found itself in the awkward position of retracting its own bulletin.
If this were the White House, some of us might suspect that all this was on purpose. In the end, the criticisms of the Swiss church that Vatican officials wanted to make are now on the record, but the pope gets to look like a nice guy because he decided to go positive. In fact, however, the only realistic reaction to such a theory is the Italian word magari — if only the Vatican communications operation were that sophisticated! In fact, this is simply a classic instance of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing, an all-too-frequent reality of Vatican life.
I don’t think that this is a case that this was a mistake where first a more harsh speech is reported and then later corrected. I think maybe this could be a case, and perhaps the first, of them playing Good Pope/Bad Pope -a psychological tactic used for softening up wayward bishop conferences. Well I don’t actually believe that, but I do think it is a pretty funny idea especially if you contrast the two speeches.
Bad Pope: "it is a right and duty of everyone to ensure (the Mass) be celebrated in accordance with the rules laid down by the Church."
Good Pope: "This complete form of faith as expressed by the Creed, of a faith in and with the Church as a living entity in which the Lord is at work,"
With Good Pope/Bad Pope you can smack down about liturgical abuses and then go all pastoral and catechist on them. I guess this could also be called Pope-Rope-a-Dope.