Pope Francis given Hammer and Sickle “crucifix”, reacts “No está bien eso” … that’s not right.”

FranciscoEvoRegalo_LOsservatoreRomano_090715

“No está bien eso”

UPDATE: In fairness, I will add that there are some reports that what the Pope really said at the sight of the commie-crux is not, “No está bien eso”, as previously reported (“That’s not right”), but rather “No sabía eso” or “Eso no lo sabía” (“I didn’t know that” – as Morales explains the hideous thing.  FWIW  The audio is, admittedly, very hard to understand.

___ Originally Published on: Jul 9, 2015 @ 11:51

A little tempest has been stirred around the “gifts” (aka traps) that Bolivian Pres. Morales gave to Pope Francis during his 4 hour stop in La Paz.

Morales, a socialist who dedicated his last election to Chavez and Castro, gave the Pope a “crucifix” in the form of a hammer and sickle as well as a small pectoral “cross” with the same design.

Check the ACI version of the story in Spanish. HERE

Gifts at these meetings of heads of state are worked out ahead of time. So what gives with this?

Alas, the Pope put on the damn pectoral “cross” thing, which is a little hard to understand.  I have a theory about that, below, but only a persistent grilling of Fr. Lombardi has the potential of producing the authentic explanation.

In any event, and this is what we have to pay attention to, when the Pope saw the “crucifix” (much larger than the little pectoral “cross”) he said, “No está bien eso… That’s not right.”

The conservative/traditional element are predictably blowing arteries at the sight of the Pope with these … things.  I, too, am disturbed.  After all, the hammer and sickle is a symbol of extermination of both human dignity and human beings numbering in tens of millions.  It is a symbol of oppression and degradation of billions that by far outstrips the swastika.

Some will counter, “But Father! But Father! The connection those noble yet humble proletariat crosses of mercy have with the Jesuit priest who was killed in the 1970s outweighs the …!” Blah blah blah.

Can you imagine anyone daring to put something like these into the hands of St. John Paul II?

Times have changed.

Look at the photos and the video.  Francis is clearly unhappy when he saw the large version of what was on the smaller pectoral “cross”.

Could this have been a Pres. Bartlett moment, like the one with the flag of Taiwan?  In The West Wing, Bartlett mistakenly accepts a controversial Taiwanese flag which stirs a hornet’s nest with the PRC on the eve of a state visit.  Bartlett didn’t see the flag (why is another, not relevant, issue).  In this present Bolivian case, Francis might not have noticed the symbol on the small pectoral “cross”, but he reacts sharply – negatively – when he sees the larger version in wood.

I think that Morales move was sheer manipulation and political theater for his commie base in Bolivia.  it was a trap set for Francis to score points. Francis was polite in accepting this “gift/trap”, much as would a kind grandfather when given an inappropriate gift by an errant grandson.

I suspect that we haven’t heard the end of this one.  In the meantime, keep your cool and wait for additional information.

The moderation queue is ON.

And, warning, keep the knuckle-head stuff and spittle-flecked nutties out of my combox.  If you want to rave, go over to the Fishwrap where they have no charity or reason filters.

UPDATE 9 July 2038GMT:

According to CNS with my emphases and comments:

[…]

Father Lombardi, who said neither he nor the Jesuit pope had ever seen or heard of Father Espinal’s crucifix, said he believes it is much more likely that the pope admitted to not knowing its origin than to saying it was wrong. [Fr. Lombardi “believes” it is “more likely”.  Not exactly a clear answer.]

After discussing the cross with several Jesuits July 9, Father Lombardi said that Father Espinal, who “was an artist, very creative,” [?!?] made the crucifix as an expression of his belief in the need for dialogue involving all Bolivians at a time of great political tension and upheaval. [The need for dialogue with… Marxism?]

morales pope cross detail

Ideological? Not ideological? You decide.

For Father Espinal “it was not ideological,” Father Lombardi said; he was not giving “a Marxist interpretation of the faith.” [Okay.. let’s look at the thing again… photo on the right]

How other people interpret the piece or use it today is another question, the spokesman said.

[Were I to channel my inner Marshal McLuhan, I might say that an image trumps audio every time.]

“Certainly, though, it will not be put in a church,” he said.

The crucifix, he added, was “an expression of what Father Espinal was living” at the time he made it. [A horrible thought.]

Asked his personal reaction to the piece, Father Lombardi said he tried to understand the origin of the piece and what Father Espinal intended when he made it. [So, this is a thing that Jesuits get, I guess.  Made by a Jesuit, given to a Jesuit, and explained to another Jesuit by more Jesuits.  No wonder I don’t get it.  Maybe we have to just take their word for it.  Prediction: What do you want to bet that more Jesuits will be explaining this thing to us in the near future?  Who could they be?]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", Pope Francis, The Drill, You must be joking! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Pope Francis given Hammer and Sickle “crucifix”, reacts “No está bien eso” … that’s not right.”

  1. ccrino says:

    As John Allen remarked, it isn’t as if the Pope put this on his wish list. It wasn’t a polite gift, but it was politely received, if not approved. What is the harm, ultimately? And I’ll bet it ultimately backfires on Morales

  2. Back pew sitter says:

    In fairness to the Pope – and, when it comes to the Pope, we have to be at least fair if not more than fair – I suspect he was just taken off guard, and at such times it’s not always as clear, as it might be with hindsight, how one should have acted for the best.

    If you’re a guest in somebody’s home or country and they unexpectedly insult you – which the President essentially did (while also insulting Jesus and the Catholic faith) – it’s not always clear how one should react.

  3. Siculum says:

    Wow. Thank you for sharing this, and His Holiness definitely did his best to keep his cool but then hand off that disgraceful thing. Yes, the hammer and sickle did much more than the swastika.

  4. benedetta says:

    Like the kiddos say, “that’s whack”! Time was also that different terms meant something in popular and media understanding: socialism, communism, Marxism, liberalism, progressivism, liberation theology. What does it say that these are all lumped together with little distinction and with vapid approval. Show me a charismatic leader who styles himself a liberator of the oppressed, and I will present to you a cross carved from the wood of the tree stump where Fr. Ciszek celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (which of course was the same EF of today), or one fashioned from the barracks where innocent women were condemned to live…I’m sure we can find similar present day offerings the world over in the midst of self styled political messiahs hell bent on delivering Marxist dogmas to “their people”.

  5. majuscule says:

    At least he didn’t hold the “crucifix” for very long.

  6. FL_Catholic says:

    There are just simply no words to describe how horrible that blasphemous “cross” is. Why oh why can’t Heaven send a stray lighting bolt to smite politicians like this when they try to publicly attack the Lord and His Church??

  7. JeffLiss says:

    I find myself taking refuge in the hope that Pope Francis is crazy like a fox. Knowing the world is slouching toward something awful, he is building as much good faith and, for lack of a better term, ‘popularity’ as he can so that, when the time comes, he will be in a position to lead not just Catholics but a much greater portion of the world at large. It may not be terribly likely, but its more productive that the alternative: imagining just what would have happened if someone had given John Paul II such a thing. That quickly degenerates into a riff on 80s-style action flicks: “In a world…where communists think its safe to come out of hiding…one man…one Pope…stands in their way…”

  8. APX says:

    The expression on his face says it all.

  9. Ben Yanke says:

    Isn’t this why the pope has “people?” So that these things can be screened? It seems insincere to treat him constantly as the victim of the media, and of this president who gave him the horrible gift.

  10. vandalia says:

    I think there is a time for basic manners. I probably have a dozen stoles made by the school kids with hand prints and the like that are presented at different times during the year. You put it on, you smile, and then it goes in the drawer in the sacristy where it never sees the light of day. Take a look at some of the gifts given to Queen Elizabeth II over the years. You smile, nod, and then it never sees the light of day again.

    I think Pope Francis had the correct response. Polite, but also clear that “it is not right.”

    Maybe I am too old fashioned, but I miss the etiquette and manners of the past centuries. Today, everyone has to make a statement, or be politically correct. Think of how Wellington dealt with Napolean after his capture, Washington and Cornwalis, Grant and Lee. I believe we need more etiquette, manners, and diplomatic nicety. I have seen enough temper tantrums from politicians. I don’t want to see one from the Holy Father.

  11. Robbie says:

    What strikes me as terrible about this episode is Morales felt comfortable presenting the Pope with such a terrible item. In my book, that’s the real scandal.

  12. Geoffrey says:

    His Holiness did the right thing by saying what he said. What else could he do? Storm out? Create a diplomatic incident? Perhaps the Holy Father put the “cross” on because he couldn’t make out the details until he saw the larger version?

    I foresee traditionalists equating this incident with St John Paul the Great’s misunderstood kissing of the Koran. Speaking of the great saint, Pope Francis’ words reminded me of when St John Paul II publicly scolded Ernesto Cardenal.

  13. billcrews says:

    this is what leaves me conflicted about the episode. Evo Morales didn’t pull this out of thin air. This crucifix based on the hammer and sickle is a replica of the crucifix used by Jesuit Father Luis Espinal, a priest killed in Ecuador in 1980 and for whom Pope Francis stopped at the site of his execution and offered prayers.
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-apparently-not-amused-by-communist-crucifix-33337/
    http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/07/09/the_pope_prays_at_the_site_of_fr_luis_espinals_murder/1157207

    The fact that the Jesuits acted as the quasi religious arm of communist revolution in Latin America is hardly a state secret. If the pope is going to pay homage to the man, how can he reject a symbol closely associated with him. Did he not know? Has the Vatican fired all their PR people (I’m open to this being possible)? Is he running the crease between honoring a murdered Jesuit and distancing himself from the man’s work?

  14. This is extremely painful to watch and will be difficult to explain to my non-Catholic family. The media is all over this except they are NOT translating the displeasure the Holy Father voiced at the sight of this “gift.”

    Snakes everywhere. The Holy Father showed immense restraint at the in your face insult that this president gave. Lord have Mercy!

  15. Eugene says:

    I am speechless…St John Paul II, please pray for this Pope and those around him with an agenda to undermine the Church.
    I certainly hope someone’s head will roll in the Pope’s entourage for allowing this to happen, I can see he is embarassed to receive it and promptly laid it flat in his hands and did not hold it up. The images from this papacy are something I thought I would never live to see.
    God have mercy on all of us.

  16. torch621 says:

    The Holy Father perhaps should have considered giving him, in return, a copy of Pope Leo XIII’s Quod Apostolici Muneris.

  17. Katylamb says:

    Father, in this video that cross is put on Pope Francis so quickly that it kind of looks like an ambush. I don’t think the pope knew what it was ahead of time.

    http://launch.newsinc.com/share.html?trackingGroup=90052&siteSection=townhall_nws_non_sty_dynamic&videoId=29347632

  18. Cosmos says:

    Let’s pretend we are ONLY concerned with recording his reaction as accurately as possible, and not any of the political/social/theological ramifications of the act.

    To me, it looks like Morales is speaking as he hands the Pope the cross. The Pope he is reacting to the speech, and never actually looks upset with the gift at all. He is a listener, and the serousness on his face is just listening.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/pope-francis-receives-communist-hammer-sickle-cross-bolivia-president-1510071

    This comports with Fr. Lombardi had to say about it, apparently:

    “At a July 9 press briefing the Holy See press officer, Fr. Federico Lombardi, noted the lack of clarity in the audio of the exchange, and remarked that Pope Francis had been unaware the crucifix was a replica of Fr. Espinal’s.

    He also claimed that Fr. Espinal’s use of it was not ideological but expressed a hope for dialogue between communism and the Church, adding that Pope Francis’ remark likely expresed a sentiment of “I didnt’ know”, rather than “This is not right.””

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-apparently-not-amused-by-communist-crucifix-33337/

  19. wmeyer says:

    The intriguing question is, as you point out, whether these gifts were negotiated before the fact, or whether there may have been a switch made after the negotiation. And if they were pre-approved, then by whom?

    I would guess that the pectoral item may have been small enough for the details to be less than obvious in the moment of the gifting. But clearly, that was not the case with that large abomination.

    Yes, times have changed, but I pray they will never change so much as to render such gifts welcome.

  20. mharden says:

    Over at Crux, John Allen writes: “(In fairness, it should be noted that the cross was actually a replica of one that belonged to the Rev. Luis Espinal, a Spanish missionary killed in Bolivia by paramilitary forces in 1980…)”

    That just documents that the Church in Latin America under the sway of liberation theology had gone completely off the rails. It’s one thing for the Pope to awkwardly receive an unwanted gift; quite another for a priest to have OWNED this blasphemous crucifix.

  21. RobW says:

    But why did the Pope accept it into his hands? I don’t want the Pope to act like a kind grandfather. As a matter of fact my grandfather wouldn’t have accepted it. Him holding it with a smile on his face with cameras capturing the moment isn’t helpful.

  22. discens says:

    By historical fact the hammer and sickle signify murder and destruction. By their nature they signify the humble labor of the common worker. We should not let the hypocrisy of Communism (which pretended to honor the common worker and instead enslaved and murdered him) take from us the natural goodness of humble things. Perhaps President Morales meant to trick the Pope. Or perhaps he wanted to honor the Pope’s honoring of the humble poor by giving him a symbol that in itself, though not in its distortion, honors the humble poor. Abuse does not take away legitimate use, as they say, and we shouldn’t let the ill-intentioned deprive us of things and symbols naturally innocent. Let us “despoil the Egyptians”, to adapt St. Augustine, and take back from the bad what they took from the good.

  23. Polycarpio says:

    File under “WDTPRS/What Did The Pope Really Say?” It’s not clear to me that Pope Francis really said “No está bien eso” (“That’s not right”). Some Spanish speakers think he said “No sabía eso” (“I didn’t know that”–after Morales gives the provenance of the artefact), to which Morales appears to respond “Ya lo sabe” (“Now you know”). I couldn’t make out whether he was saying either of these things, or something else, given the audio quality of the video, so it will be interesting to see what Fr. Lombardi may say. As an admirer of Blessed Oscar Romero, I think it’s an opportunity to recognize what has been said before: that there are many variants of the social doctrine of the Church and liberation theology in Latin America. Morales presents the Pope with an artifact that purports to fuse the ultimate Christian symbol (the Cross) with the ultimate Communist symbol (the hammer and sickle), apparently representing an unadulterated fusion of Christianity with Marxism. That’s one view. Perhaps that’s the view that Fr. Espinal may have espoused and sought to promote with this artifact. But that view was vehemently rejected by Blessed Romero who said “The Church cannot be Communist … The Church is not interested in who has more and who has less. The Church is interested in everyone, whether they have or do not have, promoting themselves to truly live as Children of God … The Church cannot be complicit to any ideology which tries to establish upon this world the kingdom where men will be completely happy. Therefore, the Church cannot be Communist.”

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Tangentially, on the “symbols self-described ‘socialists’ like” side of things, I was struck by learning of the Nazi use of hammer and sickle from Edvins Snore’s film, The Soviet Story (2008).

    Ultimately, it’s yet another example of thugs hijacking things, although I don’t know of any symbolic ancient use of these tools together: but how does one get them back, let them reflect true dignity of labor?

  25. Makemeaspark says:

    Oh Dear!! Father, I hope this is solved soon, there is a facebook storm brewing, with pope haters having a field day! I am trying to stay out of it…sigh.

  26. Bosco says:

    ¡Vaya lío!

  27. jltuttle says:

    In the army, it was incumbent on me to discern the commander’s intent. As a Catholic, is it incumbent on me to discern the Holy Father’s intent? My thought is no. I don’t have to spend my time trying to figure out what is behind his conflicting statements. If he says something ex cathedra, then it is incumbent on me to figure out what he means. Otherwise, the burden is on him to be clear if he expect me to act on his exhortations. I assume I am bound by obedience to respect the authority of his office, but that can’t possibly apply to all the wacky, off-the-cuff statements that he makes. Can it? Do I have to dig through all his chatter to find the “Catholic” bits? Must I always play the apologists to all the Church’s enemies that say, “See, even your Pope doesn’t believe it!”? I’d rather just ignore it all and actually work on strengthening my faith.

  28. RichR says:

    Maybe he didn’t realize what the small crucifix was, but the larger one was hard to miss. When I watch the video at the part where the big cross comes out, I see in the HF’s eyes the look of, “Really, on international TV you’re doing this? Really?” I’m glad he spoke up and said this isn’t right. If I was the underling who approved this “gift”, I’d be a little nervous.

  29. Seamus says:

    Looks like Morales was hiciendo un poco de lío of his own. And not in a good way.

  30. Muzhik says:

    Was the gift list worked out before? Sure it was: The gift list included books on Bolivian history, a biography of the president, a state medal (that was the innocuous medallion first given to the Pope), a hand-made pectoral cross that includes symbols from Bolivian Catholic history, and a crucifix carved from native trees.

    The expression on His Holiness’ face is rather like when you have to stand in front of the family at Christmas when you are 10 and thank your elderly aunt for the bunny suit she made you. (“Oh, please put it on for me! You will look SO cute!”)

  31. Pingback: The Pope is Not Amused | The Catholic Geeks

  32. marcelus says:

    He says: No esta bien eso, shaking his head .

    Clear as water to spanish and argentine listeners.

    Where did anyone get the :No SABIA eso . from?

  33. SimonR says:

    I am angry at witnessing our beloved Saviour blasphemed in this way.

    I also believe the Pope was clearly unhappy at being given this item and did rebuke the Bolivian President. Look at the Holy Father’s body language and his eyes. He is clearly unhappy and repeats words to the Bolivian President.

    The translation of “No está bien eso” as That’s not right seems to fit the context properly instead of Father Lombardi’s version.

    Notice of course that Fr. Lombardi is not saying that the Pope told him he was asking what the item was – this is merely Fr. Lombardi’s interpretation of events.

    And here is the understatement of the day by Fr. Lombardi “Certainly, though, it will not be put in a church,”.

    All in all, I think the Pope did rebuke the Bolvian President!

  34. pseudomodo says:

    ok. lets look at this object.

    A hammer oriented vertically.
    A corpus on the hammer in a tau shape.
    A sickle oriented horizontally with blade down.

    Now google communist hammer and sickle. Different no?

    Now look at the gift again.

    It’s like having the flag horizontal with the stripes vertical and the stars in a block along the left edge. It has the elements and colors of the flag but different. What does it mean? What if someone put a crucifix on it? Would it symbolize Christs presence?

    Perhaps Pres. Morales doesn’t even recognize how thier communist symbol has been altered and re-oriented with the triumphant Christ on the now re-distributed symbol.

    Perhaps the old jesuit priest pulled a fast one…

  35. danidunn says:

    Sometimes, it is not so bad that art, like speech, no longer belongs to the artist. When I see Jesus crucified on the hammer and sickle, I see communism and its worldly outlook complicit in His crucifixion.

  36. Pigeon says:

    One can only imagine the firestorm that would have erupted from the left of Benedict had received a crucifix in the form of the symbol beloved by the German national socialists in the 30s.

  37. Polycarpio says:

    Marcelus, assuming you’re a Spanish/Argentinian speaker, I am glad you think it’s “clear as water” that he said it’s not OK. I’m a native Spanish speaker and it seems to me as clear as muddy water what he said, but given that he’s smiling when he says it and that it’s all he says, I am inclined to believe his spokesman in this instance.

  38. Charles E Flynn says:

    In keeping with the spirit of the recent encyclical, we should recall that metals are recyclable.

  39. discens says:

    Venerator Sti Lot. I heartily agree. Our Lord no doubt used a hammer in the carpentry shop. His distant female ancestor Ruth probably used a sickle while gleaning grain in Boaz’ fields. The cross on which Our Lord hung to save the world had nails driven into it by hammers. The grain fashioned into bread to become his body on Holy Thursday was surely harvested with sickles. We have abundant reason to make the hammer and sickle our own and rescue them from the communists’ abuse.

  40. demivalka says:

    Here are some tidbits from a Spanish language blog via Google translate that I found interesting.

    “The gift is a replica of a cut made by the Jesuit priest Luis Espinal before he was killed in March 1980 in La Paz. The original piece is in the headquarters of the Society of Jesus from the Bolivian capital. ”

    So it this the type of thing that Bolivian Jesuits are into? Was it proudly on display or locked in the archives vault as an artifact?

    “The Jesuit priest Xavier Albo, a friend of Espinal, reported: ‘I fight in the new cross coupled to Christ their first vows, with a vertical hammer and a horizontal sickle to express the necessary but elusive Marxist Christian dialogue with the workers and peasants. Which made him the Christ of their votes he shows how the urgency felt in such a dialogue. ‘”

    The idea of a “new cross” doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

    “He also reported that the carving of Espinal referred to the hunger strike in January 1978 forced the Bolivian dictator Hugo Banzer to call national elections in July of that year.”

    Perhaps we can blame the “art” on famine-induced delusions.

    “”It has many faces, just outlined, a skeleton hungry in the center and in the four corners, diagonal, two heads of wild animals, a flower and a star,’ he added.”

    Just weird and creepy. I don’t get it. [I don’t get that the first one was made, let alone another one!]

    Read it yourself HERE

  41. JKnott says:

    I doubt that Pope Francis even noticed the details of the small cross, and am heartened by his comment on the larger one, if it is true.
    What really concerns me is that every Communist, Marxist / Liberation Theology group on the international block, including the American block is celebrating this Pope. It is festival time for them. Why? I think I will stick with Pope Saint John Paul II.

  42. Kathleen10 says:

    Setting up and following strict protocols would have prevented this, and many other like problems.

  43. marcelus says:

    DO not take it from me. Thouugh I hear it as any argentine would pronounce it.
    All Argentina NP are reporting on this and the Pope’s “discontent”.

    Even infobae shows as twit from Msgr Karcher, the Pope’s personal secretary, friend and fellow argentine: That reads: Pope to bolivian President: That’s not right

    http://www.infobae.com/2015/07/09/1740691-el-enojo-del-papa-francisco-evo-morales-no-esta-bien-eso

  44. Michelle F says:

    The Holy Father has dealt with blasphemous art before, and he did so appropriately.

    An “artist” named Leon Ferrari had an exhibition open in Buenos Aires in November 2004. It featured a Crucifix made using a model of a USAF fighter (I think it’s an F-16), and included statuettes of saints in blenders, toasters, frying pans, etc.

    Pope Francis, then Cardinal Bergoglio, called the exhibit blasphemous, and called his people to observe a day of prayer and fasting on December 7th as an act of reparation for blasphemy. On the evening of December 7th, Pope Francis led a Holy Hour of Reparation at his cathedral in Buenos Aires.

    The exhibit was closed 10 days later.

    Here is an article from the time, dated Dec. 2, 2004, on the Catholic News Agency’s website:

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/cardinal_bergoglio_exhorts_argentineans_to_persevere_in_faith_in_response_to_blasphemous_art_exhibit/

    The look on the Holy Father’s face in the video above shows clearly that he is not pleased with Hammer & Sickle Crucifix. I am certain he will say some prayers of reparation for that thing, and he will pray for whoever made it as well as everyone involved in presenting that thing to him.

    Oh – and Leon Ferrari died on July 25, 2013, so he has already answered for the things he did in this life.

  45. cyrillist says:

    Maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the Holy Father would consider remaining in Rome on a permanent basis. Lose the globe trotting entirely. Gather a little moss. In that case, Morales would have had to make the trek himself to drop off the pair of marxifixes at the Vatican, and they probably would have set off the metal detector.

    You know, just stay put. Pontiffs have done that occasionally in the past, to fairly good effect. (And as a bonus, it would sure reduce the old carbon footprint.)

  46. SanSan says:

    the Holy Father was ambushed for sure. He was not happy with their dog and pony show. Such evil all around. I feel sorry for the people of Bolivia

    “Setting up and following strict protocols would have prevented this, and many other like problems.” Maybe, but it’s a corrupt government that lies…..

  47. ChesterFrank says:

    Can it also be interpreted as the Christ’s Cross defeating communism?

  48. Father Bartoloma says:

    And the train goes further off the tracks..

  49. The Astronomer says:

    Fr. Lombardi’s remarks and verbal gymnastics = cognitive dissonance.

    As a former CIA operations officer that gave the best years of my life fighting the Communists under Presidents Reagan and Bush, this ‘art’ is a blasphemous obscenity.

  50. orlandocruz says:

    Sadly our Holy Father said “I didn’t know” (no lo sabia) not ” no esta bien”. You know he said this because Morales followed up the Holy Fathers comments with ” now you know”. A condescending comment nonetheless. Very sad that he was allowed to be used as a prop by a desciple of Hugo Chavez.

  51. Matthew says:

    It could be ‘saber’ but I’ve watched the video five times at least and from the expression, the shaking of the head and the audio -somewhat obscured by background noise- I think the Holy Father said the equivalent of “That ain’t right.”

  52. Geoffrey says:

    “Can it also be interpreted as the Christ’s Cross defeating communism?”

    When I looked at a up-close picture of it, all I could think of was how many people suffered and died under Communism, and how many saints united their sufferings to those of Christ. Perhaps in that light, the object is almost beautiful. (Of course, that is not how it was intended. I am just trying to make lemonade out of lemons!)

  53. CharlesG says:

    As mentioned above, where are his minders, his advance men? Does he really care about how this looks? To me it seems a slap in the face to the millions of victims of that bloody ideology. Perhaps spontaneity isn’t always the best thing for someone having the office of Pope. Oh for the days when Popes issued condemnations of atheistic Communism…

  54. tako says:

    As a native Spanish speaker I think it’s a 95% at least that the Pope said “that is not right”. If I hear it for the first time I have no doubt. But if I hear it knowing that some think he said “I didn’t know that” then it does sound like that! Strange. However, looking at the body language I think it’s pretty certain that he said “that is not right”.

  55. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    ” Prediction: What do you want to bet that more Jesuits will be explaining this thing to us in the near future? Who could they be?]”

    Frs. Reese and Martin, call your office! Have we heard from them yet?

  56. ocalatrad says:

    This was a dirty trick by a wicked politician who has contempt not just for the Church but for the historical heritage of Christianity in his nation. I can’t imagine a greater clown being in a position of power with the exception perhaps of POTUS.

    Also, I am a native Spanish speaker and I’m fairly certain that the Holy Father said “no sabia eso” (I didn’t know that) and not “no esta bien eso”.

  57. DisturbedMary says:

    I’m wondering if besides the hammer and sickle thing there are any masonic symbols on that chain put around his neck?

  58. Elizabeth D says:

    I looked up what @JamesMartinSJ is saying on Twitter. I will put these chronologically rather than in the order they appear in his feed:

    Before everyone freaks out (though it may be too late): The hammer and sickle crucifix given to @Pontifex was…

    ..apparently a replica of one used by the martyred Jesuit Luis Espinal, for whom the Pope prayed earlier in his visit http://www.elmundo.es/internacional/2015/07/09/559de7b2e2704e9b3d8b456b.html

    And to forestall the inevitable question, I’m not a communist and I would have given a different gift, pace Fr. Espinal.

  59. Bea says:

    The audio is so garbled. I played it various times and could not pick up the exact words. Though it does kind of sound like “no esta bien eso” that is not good. On his realizing it, I wonder: “why did he not hand it back to Evo immediately?”

    APX says:
    9 July 2015 at 12:29 PM
    The expression on his face says it all.

    APX? I was wondering: “Who’s expression?”
    I guess you meant the pope’s, but look at Evo’s expression.
    “Evo” (by the way) sounds so much like “evil”.
    He has the look of needling/teasing the pope and the jacket he is wearing….Evo is wearing a “Che Guevarra” jacket. He is making a mockery in confronting the Pope and the Pope doesn’t get it.

  60. Gail F says:

    It looks to me like a very tacky and gross attempt to co-opt the cross, kind of like a really bad souvenir where someone glues plastic “praying hands” to a seashell. On the other hand, MILLIONS of people have been slaughtered by Marxist governments… so maybe Jesus crucified on a hammer and sickle is very apt. But probably not what the President of Bolivia was trying for. It’s really weird.

  61. benedetta says:

    I too would have given a different gift than leader Morales. And also, had someone given me that gift I would probably say something similar such as “That’s not right” or “That’s whack” etc. But yes lol when no one in the American “communist sympathizing” (lol) media wants to shame a communist leader in South America just doing his photo opp moment, I guess. It’s just propaganda, right? Harmless…But seriously, let’s discuss the situation in those prisons. I had an extremely liberal not quite card carrying communist professor once upon a time who was very proud to tell a class in grad school that a society’s greatness may be measured by the way in which their criminals are treated in their prisons. Whether one looks at it from an excessively “liberal” or “capitalist” perspective, or neither of these, the fact remains that Bolivia as an already poor country which has been subject to great injustice, will need more than a enthusiast who presents a pope with a Marxist symbol attached to a crucifix to manage that great leap forward.

  62. benedetta says:

    And also, how very sad that the Jesuit martyr murdered in Bolivia would be remembered in such reductionist terms, no? And that the president seems to regard the faith in such reductionist terms, and to publicly associate himself with that notion. I think the international community already sort of knows that he is very into stagecraft and media manipulation.

    It is true though, this is an era in which it is perfectly fine to be a communist or any of those amorphous labels which no one even in our evolved and enlightened America can properly articulate meaningfully…but to be a prolifer is the worst thing imaginable! lololol

  63. Amos says:

    This is the same video but cut off. Pope Francis takes the microphone and beings to speak. Anyone know what he is saying???

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAwfqThYklk

  64. Amos says:

    Edit to my previous post: He takes the mic at the END of the video and begins to speak. Whatever he is saying may shed more light on the issue. Can anyone translate (or hear it to translate)???

  65. KateD says:

    Geoffrey, I can’t speak to the intent of the artist, Father Espinal nor that of Anti-Catholic President Morales, however the interpretation that leaps at me from this piece is the crucifixion of the Body of Christ, His Church, by Communism.

    Oppressing the Church only provides fertile soil for future saints….Which, come to think of it, may explain Putin’s support of the Russian Churches.

  66. Pingback: Pope Francis’ Unwelcome Gift |

  67. Kathleen10 says:

    It’s Groundhog Day again. Pope says or does something. Conjecture as to meaning follows. Dissonance reigns.
    I comprehend the Holy Father prefers to be accessible, casual. I get it. But to give two-bit Communists a platform? I’m sure Our Lady of Copacabana did nothing to deserve having that monstrosity to be left in her shrine, or wherever it was left, but it would have been better if it had been handed back immediately upon receipt. Correction: It would have been better if those who set up these meet and greets had said no to this meeting in the first place. The Vatican, these days, seems unfathomable. (weird)

  68. Pingback: PopeWatch: Commie Kitsch | The American CatholicThe American Catholic

  69. Pingback: CU Weekly 289: The Cruci(fix). - The Catholic Underground

  70. JonM says:

    I can almost accept that Pope Francis was blindsided (though what should one expect when meeting with a real live communist leader). The clincher to this is the clear stream of noise after the fact. Without question, the Vatican and indeed the Pope himself have explained away a hammer and sickle blasphemy as though it is just suggestive religious art.

    I have defended the Pope on his criticisms of capitalism. But with the close of this South American tour, it is rather clear that the program is not ‘third way’ economics or a crypto subsidiarity platform. Rather, there is clear favoritism towards socialism. And, given Cardinal advisors, I am not surprised as to this turn.

    Tre hammer and sickle is at best on par with a full on Nazi tilted swastika. I doubt that were someone to gift a swastika crucifix that we would be entertaining such elaborate explanations.

  71. Christ_opher says:

    Sadly, it seems that the evil one is trying every trick in the book to put Catholics against the Pope. I hope and pray that the upcoming synod reaffirms the truth and the message is delivered in a loud and crystal clear manner (to avoid any further confusion).