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?]
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?]