Pope Francis has made headlines around the world with an interview in which he said 2% of clergy, including cardinals, are pedophiles, but the Vatican says those weren't his words—and it wasn't exactly an interview. The words attributed to the pontiff in the La Repubblica newspaper came from the journalist's memory of the conversation and "the individual expressions that were used and the manner in which they have been reported, cannot be attributed to the pope," a Vatican spokesman tells Vatican Insider. He says the interview was not recorded, and the pope never checked it for accuracy.
Specifically, the spokesman says, the affirmations that cardinals are among pedophiles in the clergy and that Francis says he "will find solutions" to priestly celibacy can't be attributed to the pontiff. The published remarks raised eyebrows because "there is often a studied ambiguity in Pope Francis' off-the-cuff statements," the BBC's Rome correspondent notes. "He wants to show a more compassionate attitude towards church teaching than his predecessors, but this can sometimes cause consternation among his media advisers," he says.