Of course, there's nothing he says that can't be explained, and sometimes he explains it himself when he says something different in one audience from what he said in an interview; and if he doesn't, you can always rely on Fr Z to explain what he said, even while the Tabletistas are dashing down the wrong track. He never attacks the deposit of the Faith: we know, because other people explain his comments and put them into a proper context. But I find the hermeneutic of Pope Francis baffling. How is it that somebody so wise, so clever, so holy, seems not to care about expressing himself in a way that allows people not just to draw wrong conclusions, but to pin them fairly and squarely on him?
If he stuck for a year to his homilies and avoided all other public utterances (he can say what he likes on the phone as long as nobody is recording him) we might begin to appreciate the radicalism of his Faith, the challenge that the Truth he expresses at times so clearly means for the way we live, the gentleness of his continuity with B16 and JP2 (rabbit hole: is this mutatis mutandis what JP1 would have been like?), and appreciate his obvious holiness as a complement to the obvious holiness of his predecessor, and therefore another challenge to the rest of us.
Instead I read in a Spanish newspaper yesterday that the Pope wants to appoint a female Cardinal, a deaconess in an order of the early Church that he will restore. He won't, of course, because it's an ontological impossibility: but how many readers of an article by a Spanish version of an ACTA follower will understand that the author has twisted the Pope's words to suit his agenda? How many people seeing the Pope wonder why so many disciplinary matters are referred to Rome may conclude that the hierarchy of E&W's not acting against heterodox Bishops is because they aren't heterodox, rather than because the CBCEW is a capon in a farmyard full of menace? How many people see his looking at the synodality of the Orthodox as a belied in the dogmatic infallibility of Bishops' Conferences, when Orthodox orthodoxy is rooted in the orthodox mission of the Bishop as an individual, not as a team member?
Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe the Tabletistas were right all along. Maybe the Pope's words are right and will have a magical effect on those who aren't orthodox Catholics which will bring them into the Church in droves. Maybe he's right to make us question what we actually believe in, and that's what he's trying to do.
It's a funny way to be right, though.