Over at the Fishwrap, our dear old friend Phyllis Zagano has a fantastic piece this week. It’s a classic!
First, let me say – as I have said before – that Phyllis is solidly pro-life. She is firmly against abortion and for that I give her props.
However, this week she resorted to a nasty trick that she has used before: false moral equivalence.
In her recent offering, she drew a moral equivalence between ISIS, the Taliban, Boko Haram and… wait for it… Ludwig Gerhard Card. Müller, Prefect of the CDF.
Bizarre, I know, but that’s what she did.
Ms. Zagano looked at an interview that Card. Müller gave to the French outlet La Croix. HERE In that interview the Cardinal addressed issues facing the upcoming Synod, include Communion for the divorced and remarried.
She saw his phrase “Il est impossible d’avoir deux femmes!”.
She translated this as “It is impossible to have two women!”, and had a melt down.
What Card. Müller actually said:
Q: Sur la question des divorcés-remariés, ne peut-on imaginer, après un chemin de pénitence, de reconnaître une seconde union qui n’aurait pas de caractère sacramentel?? [On the question of the divorced-remarried, can we imagine, after a path of penance, recognizing a second union which wouldn’t have a sacramental character?]
Card. G.L. M.?: Il est impossible d’avoir deux femmes?! Si la première union est valide, il n’est pas possible d’en contracter une seconde en même temps. Un chemin de pénitence est possible, mais pas une seconde union. La seule possibilité est de retourner à la première union légitime, ou de vivre la seconde union comme frère et sœur?: telle est la position de l’Église, en accord avec la volonté de Jésus. J’ajoute qu’il est toujours possible de chercher à obtenir une déclaration de nullité devant un tribunal ecclésiastique. [It is impossible to have two wives! If the first marriage is valid, it is not possible to contract a second at the same time. A path of penance is possible, but not a second marriage. The only possibility is to return to the first legitimate marriage, or to live the second marriage as brother and sister: that is the Church’s position, in accord with the will of Jesus. I’ll add that it is always possible to seek to obtain a declaration of nullity/invalidity before an ecclesiastical tribunal.]
It is perfectly clear what Card. Müller said (i.e., “wives“), but Zagano chooses the weirdly false meaning of “femme” because that fits her agenda: to slander Card. Müller.
Read all of her strange piece over there, if you wish.
Is there anyone who has been at least through freshman French (sorry, freshperson) who doesn’t know what “femme” means? Did she miss the class that taught that “femme” means not only “woman” but also, and commonly, “wife”?
Obviously, Card. Müller said that “It is impossible to have two wives“, not “two women”.
The premise Phyllis uses, in order to draw a moral equivalence between ISIS, the Taliban, Boko Haram, etc. and Card. Müller is her mistranslation of “d’avoir deux femmes” as “have two women”, implying ownership or that women are objects.
The benign conclusion is that Ms. Zagano doesn’t know any French, and therefore plugged the text into Google Translate. That’s why she got the entire premise of her thing wrong. Here’s what happened when I used Google for that phrase:
I would rather think that that is what happened than that she purposely mistranslated what the Cardinal said. That would be mendacious.
But she did begin with drawing a moral equivalence between murdering Islamic terrorists and Card. Müller.