Where is the liberal ‘c’atholic anger at insult to the Pope and the Church?

dukesofhazzard1Where is the liberal catholic anger and frustration at the insulting gesture of the hammer and sickle “crucifix” offered to Pope Francis and the Catholic Church by Bolivian President Evo Morales? Look at the liberal catholic sites… do you see any commentary?

Let’s play this out.

How would the libs react were someone to give a Confederate Battle Flag to the Pope during his visit to these United States?

What would Amerika and Fishwrap say if the Pope, handed the flag, smiled and nodded and mummured quiet comments?

Would they say that it isn’t about “ideology“?   “No, no!”, they’d explain,  “It’s a symbol of… rights of states and .. and … tradition!”

During papal visits, Popes are presented with all sorts of things. Sometimes the junk, such as paintings, winds up on the walls of Vatican offices, as it did in ours.

Let’s imagine that the Pope were to be presented with a painting of Our Lord crucified during the burning of Atlanta. Instead of Our Lady and St. John by the Cross, you see Gen. Lee and Jefferson Davis. Above the Lord’s head, in place of INRI, DIXIE.

Would there be any official statement that that wasn’t about ideology?

Would there be any liberal reaction?

But, my bad.  I keep forgetting that Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, Dredd Scott v. Sanford  – denying personhood to human beings – were liberal non-ideological projects too.

hammer sickle

Moderation is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Theodore says:


    I saw that Omar Sharif passed away today. His best movie, IMHO, was Lawrence of Arabia, but his most important one for us today is Dr Zhivago. We are reliving Dr Zhivago’s world today. The Communist Revolutionaries are back again disguised as super hero Climatologists. Like Zhivago the best we can hope for is to keep some real and earthy life going until the new idealists finish carving up the world again to suit themselves.

  2. Robbie says:

    In watching all that’s taken place recently, I’m reminded of one of Father Zuhlsdorf’s posts from a year or two ago. I’m paraphrasing , but he suggested if he were the Pope the headlines might read something like this: “Pope not seen of heard from for several months”. A hermit papacy might just be a nice idea.

  3. ckdexterhaven says:

    I bet if a politician gave Pope Francis the gift of Jesus being crucified on a dollar sign, the Pope would have pushed it away with obvious revulsion.

    Hey Father Z, at least one of the drivers of the General Lee was named after an apostle, so it wouldn’t be totes offensive.

  4. comedyeye says:

    I had rather hoped that Pope Francis would have reacted in some way similar to the way Bishop Sheen reacted in the following story:

    Get out!
    A nice little anecdote about Abp. Fulton Sheen:

    “It was the United States’ Bicentennial, July 4, 1976. As part of the celebrations, Archbishop Fulton Sheen was delivering the guest homily at the noon Mass that day and I was one of the altar boys.

    I was fourteen and had heard about Sheen from my Dad. I’d heard he used to be on national television every week and quite regularly placed number one. Even at my young age of 14, I knew that was a big deal. So, I knew instinctively when I got picked to serve the Mass that this was a big deal.

    But it was what happened AFTER Mass that I remember most vividly. In the sacristy, he was visiting with us altar boys, smiling and cracking jokes about too much incense… He was being a kindly old grandpa figure. He was 76 and this was three years before he went back to Our Blessed Lord.

    Suddenly a younger…neatly dressed hippie came into the sacristy from the other side of the room and started walking toward Sheen brandishing a book of which he said he was the author. He said he’d just come back from the Far East after some years and had written this book and combined the best of Catholicism with Eastern Mysticism and he would like Sheen to read it.

    With all the justifiable anger he could muster Sheen wheeled around and shouted–and I mean shouted at the man–“Get out! Get out! The Catholic Faith is a gift from Almighty God and I will not have you polluting it. GET OUT!”

    Within a moment he returned to his grandpa self with us and resumed joking.

    I’ll never forget that scene. That was 35 years ago. I’ll NEVER forget that scene.

    Of course, today, many in the culture would say Sheen was some cranky old man with some personality disorder. Many in the Church would say he was not charitable enough; he should have sat down and dialogued with the man, exercised more prudence, not been as judgmental, blah, blah, blah.”

  5. Kerry says:

    At Christmas time, besides gifts, there was a ‘white elephant’ round of gift giving. Gifts could be chosen from the pile or, as long as there was a pile, taken from someone else. A gift unwrapped took the un-wrapper and said ‘gift’ out of the circle. As all were wrapped, no one knew what was what, almost. The prize which, though wrapped, and which everyone recognized and wanted, was the hospital bedpan. The trading and taking was great fun.
    I think the hammer and sickle cruci-thingy would make a “lovely parting gift” when the Holy Father visits with Barak the Destroyer in September.

  6. Lin says:

    Loved the story about Bishop Fulton Sheen! Those were the days when priests did not have to worry about being politically correct. It’ is going to get much worse for all of us, especially our priests! We must pray for our priests and our country!

  7. JARay says:

    Yes indeed, that hammer and sickle crucifix was a dreadful insult to us all and to God Himself. Not just the Pope. I did enjoy reading about that incident with Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

  8. Kathleen10 says:

    Wow. Comedyeye, you really had a singular experience there. God gave you and the other witnesses a great gift, did he not. That is certainly a memory for a lifetime. Thank you for sharing it.
    Archbishop Sheen is someone I think about with some regularity. When I look around and see what is going on in the church, he comes to mind. I think he would clean house like Jesus with the cords. God rest his mighty soul. Archbishop Sheen, please pray for us.

  9. gc5341 says:

    Why did Pope Francis accept and wear a chain with a medal depicting Our Lord’s Holy body on the evil communist anvil? Is this not the kiss of Judas? Pray for Pope Francis to convert. Pray the golden arrow prayer in reparation to,our Lord.

  10. tzabiega says:

    The problem people don’t realize is that Morales gives Pope Francis a high order of the Republic of Bolivia and then the pectoral. If the Pope shoves it back in Morales’ face, it would be an insult to Bolivians because of the order that he just received (and Pope Francis maybe thinking that both constitute part of the same order as he obviously doesn’t realize what is being placed on his neck), so the Pope is in a difficult situation and Morales basically traps him. Pope Francis quickly puts the hammer and sickle away. No matter what Father Lombardi says, and he has been known to lie many times before, Pope Francis definitely says “No esta bien eso.” The esta bien is very obvious to anyone who knows Spanish, as “no sabia eso” or “I didn’t know that” is quite a different phrase. But I guess Lombardi and the propaganda machine spreading misinformation believes in the policy of the Nazi propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, that if you repeat a lie frequently enough it will be believed as being the truth.

  11. Imrahil says:

    Sorry, folks, but in my view the only one who has cause to be embarrassed is, entirely, the President of Bolivia.

    As for the nice game of “well, let’s do something indefensible and then blame the opponent, however he reacts, for reacting falsely” – let the world play it among herself. We Catholics, let’s just file the incident away, put a smile on our face, or a chuckle, or a sigh, or a hardened expression. It’s not like being ridiculed, provoked and persecuted would be entirely new for us, is it?

    And then move on. At least here, we did nothing wrong, and that includes the Holy Father. Nice feeling for a change.

  12. Benedict Joseph says:

    The recollection regarding Bishop Sheen is fortifying. Can you imagine such an event happening today? It’s difficult to believe there were such men among us. Pope John Paul, Mother Teresa, Sister Lucia, Father Benedict. Remember beloved Cardinal O’Connor? What would his observations be? How quickly the days have disappeared, but even worse, seem to have been consigned to some place where they are no longer even appreciated by those who should know better.

  13. “A hermit papacy might just be a nice idea.” not possible and maybe not practical either. We have one in Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

  14. Gratias says:

    The Communist symbol of hammer and sickle represents hundred of million dead. Gluing a crucified Christ to it is not a good thing. This abomination was designed by a Jesuit agitator who was killed circa 1970. You may not know this but Che Guevara organized an uprisal in Bolivia in 1968 and to be put to sleep. This was a wonderful moment in Latin American history, when the CIA still earned their living. Evo Morales is a Communist and has named his son after the assassin of Che Guevara. The present cross the Pope Francis wears is not exactly nice, so he may consider wearing the new-Commie cross instead. The pope’s silver cross has no parallel sides, Christ is standing up and sheep are wandering on the transverse wood. To me it resembles a 1970s bottle opener more than a Catholic Crucifix. The issue about receiving the hammer and sickle from a Communist is that it is consonant with all the anti-Capitalist pronouncements Pope Francis is constantly bringing up. These comments are anti-American because we are the only rich country that does not play for the other side so far. You should understand that Latin American Marxist Liberation Theologists place the blame of all their problems on US, never looking in their own eye. Todo es la culpa de los Americanos.

  15. Traductora says:

    To understand exactly what happened at the presentation of this bizarre “crucifix,” you have to watch the video. First of all, Morales drapes two chains over the Pope’s head. One is probably holding the coca-leaf bag that Morales had said he was going to give him, and the other is the “pectoral cross” with a smaller version of that horrible image on it. The Pope doesn’t really appear to be aware of what is on it.

    Then Morales unveils the large grotesque carved “crucifix” and the Pope is puzzled. Morales leans over, pointing to various features, and explains the image to the Pope, obviously telling him that it was made by the Jesuit Espinal who is so dear to the Pope (who wants Fr Espinal canonized, btw). His exact words are indistinct, but then the Pope suddenly nods and smiles and says, “No lo sabía” (“I didn’t know that”) and accepts the image quite happily. He was not insulted and did not regard it as an insult.

    In fact, after his supposed negative words about the “crucifix,” he even had the long-suffering Fr. Lombardi make a statement next day clarifying the fact that the “Holy Father did not have any negative reaction to the gift and did not tell me to say that he had a negative reaction.”

    Yesterday, before leaving Bolivia, he left the two gifts at the shrine of the Virgin of Copacabana, Patroness of Bolivia, once again expressing his gratitude for these “honors” (which he kept during Mass) and commemorating the “sacrifice of Fr. Espinal.” I think he realized that the gifts were causing not a little consternation among others, but he himself certainly did not appear to be offended by them.

  16. Defender of Truth says:

    I am appalled and somewhat angry at all the negativity here concerning Pope Francis. Some of what he has done or said has caused consternation among Catholics. If we believe he has been given to us by the Holy Spirit, praying for him would be a better option.

  17. SanSan says:

    God Bless you comedyeye! You are a great child of Christ. ;)

  18. Mary Jane says:

    I watched the video Fr Z posted on this. I have to say that my initial impression when looking at the still image was that the pope was unhappy about the crucifix. I got a slightly different impression when watching the video (I couldn’t make out any of the words).

    Comedyeye, thank you for that story – that was marvelous to read. Would that we had more like him nowadays!

  19. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Is it just possible that His Holiness, seeing a crucifix made by a Jesuit assumed a significance to Christ being crucified upon a Hammer and Sickle that Morales didn’t intend? Sure, I’m willing to believe that Morales intended to score international media points (and I sincerely hope that when HH visits 1600 Pennsylvania Ave there are no photo ops) but isn’t the best way to ruin a joke to take it in a sense other than the prankster intended? Imagine someone taking Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal as a serious plan? Or … the examples could be multiplied.

    No, I’m not happy about the picture, but I think HH may be up to something. I sincerely hope he has a Pius IX moment soon.

  20. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Oh — and I forgot to ask: is Boss Hogg meant to have Pope Francis’ face?

  21. SKAY says:

    “Of course, today, many in the culture would say Sheen was some cranky old man with some personality disorder. Many in the Church would say he was not charitable enough; he should have sat down and dialogued with the man, exercised more prudence, not been as judgmental, blah, blah, blah.”

    And of course, comedyeye, they would be wrong. Thank you for sharing that special memory from your past. I will not forget it either.

  22. JerrytheYTPer says:

    I liked @comedyeye’s reflection on Archbishop Sheen. I would love to see more priests and bishops act like that in response to this “New Age” stuff. I think there are too many people who wish to add a “New Age” interpretation to Catholicism and it gets to me. I find a lot of that in the Catholic college I am going to now and I have seen signs of it at my home parish.
    Regarding the crucifix: I have watched the video. I do not know if this is my issue with reading body language (a struggle of mine), but I do not think our Holy Father seemed pleased. I personally read it as a “I want to leave this place without making a scene…now”. I could imagine I would react the same way if I was put in this situation since I struggle with confrontation. Being Pope seems to be very busy and adds a lot of stress. I must admit Pope Francis does not seem as energetic now as he was early in the Pontificate. The best we could do is probably pray for him. Perhaps life should be summed up like this: “When in doubt, pray.”

  23. The Cobbler says:

    Considering the cross was an instrument of torturous execution used by the empire that ruled the world at the time to murder God Incarnate at the behest of some political agitators of the time, I can’t help but see an unintended fittingness in switching it out with the symbol of recent mass-murdering, antitheistic, totalitarian governments motivated by modern utopian visions. When we say “God is not mocked” do we mean He always gets the last laugh and the joke is on His enemies? Perhaps we should. Perhaps we should see this as a warning to the world: put your faith in dreams of heaven on earth and you might as well try to kill God all over again…


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