“It seems to me that this pope is saying exactly what he wants to say and his words are being interpretted exactly as he wants them interpreted.”
Actually, I don't believe this is true. I could be wrong, but my sense is that Pope Franky is just intellectually sloppy. He blurts out whatever comes to his fertile mind, and doesn't look back.
When I look at remarks that I assume are prepared beforehand (such as his remarks during his audiences, like what one sees in this thread: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/3076661/posts ), it's pretty good stuff.
It's when he “grabs the mike” and starts ad libbing that we see,... unusual results.
I could speculate on the reasons for this, but I think I won't for now. But what is evident to me is that he really has no idea how his off-the-cuff remarks will be interpreted. In fact, I'm not sure he has much of an idea of what he's going to actually say much before he says it.
I think we should take his press spokesman's words to heart, that he is speaking casually, informally, that these are not magisterial pronouncements. Essentially, they're bull sessions. When I used to bowl with the Knights of Columbus, we had these sorts of conversations all the time. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with them.
The primary difference is that none of us bowlers thought that our casual conversations should have been published in the world press.
However, as I noted on another thread, the pope thinks that most clergy are narcissists. Who am I to argue?
Speaking of "signs of the times," take a look at this article in, of all places, the Huffington Post: