The key question, however, is: Does this correction fundamentally alter the point of the story — that shortly after his election, Francis experienced some sort of brush with the divine that gave him a sense of peace?
The answer would appear to be no, and we have confirmation from at least two other sources.
First, I published a column Friday in which I quoted a cardinal on background (not an American) who recently had a private session with Francis. This cardinal said he’s been struck by the more freewheeling and spontaneous style Francis has demonstrated as pope in comparison to the fairly restrained and shy manner he exhibited in public in Argentina, and he told me he had said to the pope point-blank, “You’re not the same guy.”
According to the cardinal, the pope’s reply was more or less the following: “When I was elected, a great sense of inner peace and freedom came over me, and it’s never left me.”