The deliberate and continuous misreading of the Pope’s little pastoral talk about curing souls, as okaying condom use, when the man comes out and says they’re not — well, it’s not the first time.
Humanae Vitae was billed by wishful thinkers in the media and the Church as the encyclical that would allow birth control, and maybe even abortion.
(Pope Paul VI reiterated and explained basic Church teaching about various life issues, and got a firestorm of criticism from the wishful thinkers — for not writing what they’d promised themselves he’d write.)
Not eating meat on Fridays throughout the year was never dropped.
(The US bishops okayed doing “another penitential practice” instead, if you felt like it. American Catholics heard in the news that they didn’t have to do any penitential practices on Friday, and most still believe it.)
The “new Mass” was always supposed to be said ad orientem, toward the east, as a careful read of the rubrics reveals.
(American Catholics heard in the news that all the altars had to be turned around or destroyed or replaced with new altars, thanks to wishful thinking.)
And so on. Pretty much everything, that in actual Church documents was described as an option, has become an obligation somewhere. Pretty much everything that was described as the normal thing has been practically outlawed in the US. And why? All smoke and mirrors, with no theological or legal backing, and only kept in place by keeping both clergy and people ignorant of the primary sources.
And it still goes on, though it’s harder to make it work these days. Not impossible, though, as this story has shown. All sorts of things are supposed to be allowed any day now, and people repeatedly fall for it because it’s in print. Then people get mad at the pope for not making all their (creepy and un-Christian) magical unicorn wishes come true. (Or they oppose what’s supposedly being done, and make fools out of themselves by noisily blaming the popes for things they never actually said or did.) The media makes the message, and who cares whether it’s true.