Daily Archives: October 7, 2013
I wasn’t there, of course, and can therefore not give witness of what exactly has caused the last madness of the Bishop of Rome: the interview with Scalfari.
I am, though, old enough to try to make a hypothesis – as charitable as I can – of what I think led to the present meltdown in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. If you think I am not entitled to make such hypotheses stop reading now, or hold your tongue. Otherwise, this is what I think might have happened.
– Francis obviously doesn’t trust many people. He feels that the Vatican apparatus is his enemy, bent on blocking every initiative of his. They don’t know anything of the favela, you know. They listen to Beethoven, dress exquisitely, and eat like princes. Among them, he feels like a revolutionary peasant in the middle of the bureaucrats of the King he has just deposed.
– He thinks he knows everything better, though. He has a certain idea (heretical, and stupid; but this post is not about that) of how the Church must become: a confused, explosive mixture of Peron, Chavez and Che Guevara; a mixture of which he has persuaded himself, a long time ago, that it is something not only good, but even Christian. He knows the Vatican “machine” is out there to (to use the delightful expression of “Yes, Minister”) “house train” him, and he therefore decides to “do his own thing” without looking left or right.
– His pride therefore leads him to isolation. He has nowhere to turn among the soft-spoken, but extremely alert personnel of the Vatican. He fears encirclement, isolation and, ultimately, castration. He decides not to enter the Papal Apartments, and to live as far away as he can from the Vatican bourgeoisie. A self-appointed spiritual son of the favela, he knows they are his class enemies.
– Coherently with his Jesuit-born “all you need is luv” religion, he starts surrounding himself with strange people. People like the homosexual Ricca, whom Francis keeps near him – very near him, actually – even after a huge scandal erupts. Francis does not care much of what other people think, so he does not think it fit to send Ricca in the wilderness – as a layman, if you ask me -. At least, he does not care as long as they do not dent his ceaseless quest for approval and popular adoration, which is proving more and more the most evident weakness of this, in the best case, mediocre man. He must think – I am charitable again – that he is doing what the Lord (or at least the very confused image he allowed himself to have of Him) would want him to do and, blinded by vanity, must see the popular approval as the evidence that he is on the right track. Vox populi, vox dei: the battle cry of demagogues and vainglorious leaders since time immemorial.
– Francis ends up, then, with a very close circle of trusted friends, none of them prudent or expert, none of them fit in Catholicism, many of them certainly sycophants. It’s the eternal bane of power, that wants the boss relentlessly subject to flattery of all sort. If he is a man of integrity, he will deal with it brilliantly. If he is Francis, he will soon believe he is the one who will be remembered in the centuries for his groundbreaking revolucion.
– I think I might know who some of these friends are. If they aren’t exactly those ones, then they are people like them. People with an agenda, or people who do not know, or people who do not care. They become the inner circle of this lonely wannabe revolutionary, and help him to fabricate his own personal tragedy. He doesn’t see the pit, because he isn’t enough intelligent or humble for that, and like all those who aren’t very intelligent he believes himself extremely smart. This is why he puts a bomb under his chair every two weeks, and still thinks he is doing just fine.
– One of these people might just be Monsignor Ricca. Francis wanted to keep him near him as the head of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, and he evidently trusts his advice. Don’t laugh. Francis is just the type to ask a scandalous faggot what he thinks of his theological views. Faggot priests he has seen and tolerated enough and for long enough, and, in his own words, “who is he to judge?”.
– Another one of these people might well be Rabbi Skorka, his dear buddy from Argentina who, besides being a Jew (no, they do not believe in the same God as we. They truly don’t!) is in favour of perverted “unions”. Skorka was in Rome around the time of the interview. He is possibly Francis’ closest friend, or at least one of his closest friends. Francis is so confused concerning matters of religion, that this very Skorka said in an interview Francis watches that he eats kosher. I kid you not. Google it!***
– If this is the morning, how can the day be any better than what we have just seen? Is it so unrealistic to think that Francis receives the draft of the interview, has it open on his desk, knows that it will be read the world over, and asks for advice people like Ricca and Skorka, and perhaps these very two? What will, then, a faggot and a Jew say to him when they see him (unwittingly, perhaps; again, he is not a genius) demolishing the Catholic faith? Will they say to him “are you sure this is how you want to be seen?” Will they say to him “I am not sure this is very Catholic?” Or are they going to say to him “this is so beautiful, Jorge! The world will applaud you! This is the dawn of a new era of peace, dialogue, understanding among the people, luuuv, and you are the prophet who ushers this new Christian (!) vision!” ?
– Again: Francis might not have asked exactly Skorka and Ricca (though again, he might well have asked just those two: they were near enough, and are trusted enough). But if he has cut himself out of sound advice – as he must if he wants to pursue his revolutionary plan; and as abundantly showed by his decision to avoid the Papal Apartments – he must have around him an awful lot of sycophants, perverts and unbelievers; people seeking personal promotion and advantage, or perhaps even believing in their very badly formed conscience that they are doing the right thing, and working for “world peace”. You read Skorka’s words, and you realise besides a thin varnish of Christ put here and there by Francis there isn’t much difference between the two: peace, dialogue, understanding, love; more peace, more love, more dialogue. Individual conscience, no matter how badly formed, is the metre of everything. Are you a Jew? Eat kosher!
If this is true, it become not only clear, but unavoidable how the meltdown could happen: when a confused Peronist who would be astonished at reading the Penny Catechism decides he can do without the “leprosy” of the Vatican apparatus, the result can only be the decision to publish the Scalfari interview as we have all read it, and allow it to go around worldwide without a word of correction.
Word, by the way, for which I am still waiting: then up to now an awful lot of people has started saying the interview does not reflect the Pope’s thinking; only, not the Pope.
I know, I know. Some of you think this is a far too gentle reading of the events, and I understand these readers though I do not agree with them. I do not think he is willfully evil. I think he is very confused, very ignorant (and I mean brutally ignorant, as in “no knowledge of the very basics”: commandments, sins crying for vengeance, works of mercy, stuff like that…) and naturally arrogant, and the mixture of the three leads him to believe he is being a good Catholic.
A thin excuse I know, and the Pope is the last one who can be excused for not having a properly formed conscience. Still, I would say it’s still better than the malicious intent. At least one can hope he lives and learns.
Pray for our confused, ignorant and arrogant Pope. It’s the confused, ignorant and arrogant Popes who need our prayers the most.
*** Then people are surprised he considers proselytism nonsense…
The latest contortionism of the Clericalist Troops seems to be to imply – or to say openly; I have read that, too; and no, I will not post the link – that Eugenio Scalfari is not “there” anymore with his head, and the value of Francis' interview is therefore to be dismissed because hey, it was an interview with a very old man, and there was no recorder!
As so often, the Clericalist Troops are bending over forward to adapt their drams to the crude reality on the ground. Let us see why.
– The Bishop of Rome lives in Italy. He is obviously well aware that Scalfari enjoys the reputation of a very intelligent man even among those who, like me, consider him a dangerous bastard. Francis has answered to a letter of this man, and gave him a historic interview. If Scalfari is gaga, what does this say of Francis?
– If there were no recorders and no note taking, this can only have been because of an express wish of the Bishop. This makes sense. Even the man himself realises one hour or more of uncoordinated, confused waffle would amuse the planet exceedingly. Therefore, he chooses the “informal chat with no hard evidence” way, where he can waffle at pleasure and Dr Scalfari will then have the ungrateful task of putting all the eh-ing and ah-ing and no-ing into something intelligible. I doubt Scalfari would do this for many people. I do not doubt he – and everyone else – would do it for the huge “scoop” of an interview with the (though he does not call himself this way) Pope. If anyone thought Scalfari forgot the recorder, he had better go back to reality now.
– If no recorders and no notes were used, then the interview can only be a reconstruction of the disordinate ramblings of Francis after the fact. But this does not make it less of an interview, at all. Think one second and you will realise that the absence of recorders or note-taking does not dent a bit the credibility of the interview, or the gravity of what Francis stated. On the contrary, it enhances it. With a recorded interview or notes taken on the spot you are, in a way, delivered to the ugly truth of the words you have spoken. With an informal chat, the interview's content is the draft you have just received, now lying on your desk and patiently awaiting for you to decide what to make of it. No time pressure at all. In fact, you have now all the time in the world to read; re-read; examine the theological implications; wonder what effect this or that phrase might have on the readership; have other people read the thing and tell you what their impression is; & Co, & Co. It would be then very easy – and truthful – to say to Dr Scalfari “Dear Eugenio, thank you for the draft text of the interview. I do not think some of the phrases in the draft reflect the content of our conversation; at least I did not mean it to be so. Kindly forgive any misunderstanding I may have caused. Please find enclosed a corrected version of your draft, better explaining what I should have been able to convey.” Easy peasy. At this point, the draft is the only content of the interview any journalist in good faith is authorised to consider as expressing the mind of the interviewee. Nothing of all this happened. Make no mistake: this bomb was made to explode by Francis himself.
– The use of quotation marks in the interview is certainly strange, and I do not know what the Italian code of conduct for journalists say in the matter. If in this case an extraordinary exception to the rule was made, it is obviously because of the extraordinary nature of the interview, and of the exceptional position of the interviewee. Still, there can be no doubt that Francis accepted in full the paternity of every word printed as his own direct quotation. Even if you do not believe that Francis approved the draft in full knowledge of its content – and if you do, it's not Scalfari who is gaga – you must accept the fact he had the interview with the quotations going around the world without objecting in the least. Very simply, Francis has nowhere to hide.
These considerations would be very obvious in any other circumstance, with every other interview to every other interviewee whatsoever. I am forced to write them because an alarming number of Catholics seem to believe elementary logic and common sense cease to find application wherever Francis states something outlandish, or worse.
Stop dreaming. Start thinking.
The Clericalist Troops are now triumphantly saying the “Repubblica” interview can happily be discarded, because it has emerged the Bishop of Rome… either lied himself in the interview, or else accepted an obviously wrong fact to be published and read worldwide because it let him appear oh so “mystical”.
There was no recorder! It's all a fabrication! Discard everything! The man is 88! Phew! Yippee-ya-yay!!
How is it, then, that the same Clericalist Troops defended the content of the interview as orthodox with such fantastic verbal contortionism? How is it they did not object to the age of the interviewer as the interview came out? How is it no one of them said the interview was not credible when it first appeared? How is it no one of them asked that the Bishop of Rome reneges the content of the interview?
Those who defended the interview when they first read should do the same now. It's not that the content has changed.