No Pope should make a habit of offering his spontaneous reflections to the world.

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Given the adversarial relation between the Church and the world—it is the height of naiveté to deny it—the Supreme Pontiff must be careful to weigh every word and phrase he chooses to utter in public, for the world will eagerly seize upon any ambiguity or telling omission in order to declare triumphantly that a new breach has appeared in the citadel and that the invasion of the Church by worldly thinking has made a stunning new advance. Thus a Pope’s pursuit of “simplicity” and “sincerity,” if it leads to the idea that the Pope must shun all formalism in his public addresses and “speak from the heart,” can come—inevitably will come—at the expense of all the faithful and at the risk of undermining the very credibility of the Church herself.

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Editor’s note: We’ve all heard the phrase, “The devil’s in the details.” It is also equally true that lack of detail might also serve evil purposes. When a pope makes vague, open-ended statements in public, he incites both scandal and dismay – while at the same time, reinvigorating the enemies of the church – who twist his imprecise language to their own nefarious ends.