Pope Honorius II shocks the world with another unscripted boat interview

ROME—Pope Honorius II left apologists and media outlets everywhere scrambling on Friday, after a controversial interview Vatican officials say was unscripted. 

The remarks came as reports were peppering the 12th-century Pontiff with questions aboard his trans-Mediterranean boat ride, on his way for talks with King Roger II of Sicily. A reporter asked whether there was an “investiture lobby” in the Vatican. 

“If an Emperor invests a bishop and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” the Pope responded. 

His comments are widely seen to be a reversal of an issue long thought settled by his predecessor, Pope Calixtus II. Whether secular leaders have the power to appoint bishops in their realm had been a controversial point ever since the Lateran Synod opened up the question in 1059. The conservative-leaning Calixtus II appeared to close the book on investiture with his Concordat of Worms, until Pope Honorius II’s recent remarks.    

Liberal wings of the Church have applauded the new Pope’s apparent openness to new ideas. 

“This Pope is clearly less judgmental and rigid than his predecessors, and that’s a beautiful thing,” Holy Roman Emperor Henry V said. “It’s, like, so long overdue. If the Church wants to stay relevant to my generation, the Vatican needs to start welcoming the lays’ [investiture].”

Others took a more centrist approach. 

“The Pope’s remarks, while not changing essential Church teaching, is a call for renewed dialogue on this matter,” Archbishop Fredrick I of Cologne said in a prepared statement to The Daily Inquisition. “We, as an Easter people, must always be ready to accompany secular officials and clerics appointed by them on their journey to Christ with compassion, patience, and openness.” 

This is not the first time Pope Honorius II has caused waves with his off-the-cuff comments. Back in May, he made headlines for suggesting lay rulers could be granted “civil investitures” to bishops which would only need confirmed by the Pope later. Conservatives and liberals alike saw this as a potential pathway to full lay investiture, showing the Pope is open to progressive voices in the Church. 

The Daily Inquisition reached out to local peasants to get their take on the direction of the Papacy. We asked one farmer in Woolpit, Suffolk what he thought about Pope Honorius II’s comments.

“Pope who?”

Originally published Mar 1, 2020