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A question of interpretation

· ​The Pope with journalists on the return flight from Latin America ·

Exploitation and interpretation in context: two possible keys to understanding the visit in Latin America. Pope Francis pointed out this distinction during his interview with journalists aboard the plane on Monday afternoon, 13 July.

Asked by journalists to clarify the meaning of several statements, the Pontiff warned them about the limits of ideological interpretation and the danger of exploiting a single phrase. “I believe careful attention is needed”, he said, underlining that “a text cannot be interpreted by a single sentence. The text as a whole has to be interpreted. There are certain key phrases in that interpretation and there are others that are said 'for illustration'”. Ultimately, he said, it is necessary “to look at the whole context, look at the situation and even look at history”.

The Pope advised the use of “hermeneutics”, specifically referring to his words addressed during the welcome ceremony in Quito and to the references made to the Synod of Bishops on the family in passages from his homily in Guayaquil on the wedding at Cana. As for the welcome ceremony, Francis recalled that “Ecuador is not a country of waste. This refers to its population as a whole and the great dignity of this people who, after the border war, stood up and became increasingly aware of their own dignity and their richness of unity in diversity”. Regarding the Mass, the Pope repeated that “Jesus makes good wine with dirty water, with the worst” and he repeated his wish that “Lord purifies us”, also from crisis situations which today involve the family.

“Every word, every phrase of an address can be exploited”, he underlined in conclusion, confirming the need to always take his words in context. 




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