Vatican quietly alters transcript of Pope's remarks on pro-choice pols

His apparent endorsement of excommunication kicked up way too much of a fuss, especially in Mexico, so they went back in after the fact and cut a few words to make it slightly more ambiguous. If the White House tried that, they’d be pilloried; if I tried that with one of my posts, I’d be pilloried. Just like Greg Mitchell was when one of his archived columns mysteriously received a few years-after-the-fact redactions.

Looks like Rudy’s off the hook.

Asked during an in-flight news conference Wednesday if legislators who legalized abortion in Mexico City should rightfully be considered excommunicated, Benedict replied, “Yes.”

“The excommunication was not something arbitrary. It is part of the code,” the pope said, referring to canon law.

On Thursday, the Vatican issued a slightly edited transcript that dropped the word “yes” in the pope’s response. Several other changes made his remarks seem a more general statement, rather than referring specifically to Mexican bishops who had said the politicians had excommunicated themselves.

Benedict’s spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters that such edits are common. “Every time the pope speaks off the cuff, the Secretariat of State reviews and cleans up his remarks,” he said.

Why? He wasn’t speaking infallibly at the time. Isn’t he entitled to change his mind, or at least say, “On second thought, I need to consider the issue further”? If they’re willing to walk back the cat on Limbo, why aren’t they willing to take a mulligan on this for the time being?

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