It’s not that he didn’t mean that. It’s that he didn’t *say* that. They say that he said that because that’s what hey what him to say. They’re inferring things from one or two sentences that are obviously wrong if you read more of what he said. The Pope is NOT going to suddenly support abortion, gay marriage or women priests. Libs will try to infer that whenever they can just to rile rank and file Catholics. They’ll ignore it when they find out they’re wrong.
"They" want every Pope to say stuff like that. They wanted Benedict to say it, they wanted John Paul II to say it. Yet neither ever said anything that could remotely be interpreted as liberalizing the church. There was no way to spin anything either man said in such a way. Yet the things Francis says are routinely reported that way.
At the very best he is a traditionalist who is not particularly articulate as apparently his message is misunderstood by almost everyone all the time. At the very worst he's a liberation theology wolf in sheep's clothing. Reality is it's probably a little of both, frankly. My guess so far is that he's left of center, more liberal than I'd like and he's not very articulate so his small steps to the left look like giant leaps because of poor word choices. But I'm not sure yet.