This video is another example of all the wrong things going on in Francis’ mind.
Can you imagine a Pope of the past severing the hands of a child joint in prayer! It is disturbing to even think of a father doing this to his son, and no child with some sense of religion would do the same to another child. To Francis, this is worth doing before the cameras.
Look at the video attentively. The child has his hands joint in prayer. Francis talks to him and seems to ask him whether his hands are incollate, which means “glued together”. The child insists on keeping his hands joint. At this point Francis proceeds to severe by applying a certain amount of gentle but unmistakable force. It seems clear to me the child still does not want to disjoint his hands, and it is only the force (both physical, and certainly derived from the man’s position and authority) of the Pope that reaches the aim of finally separating the boy’s hands.
At this point, the Bishop of Rome says something not easily audible, but containing the words “hai imparato”, which clearly indicates words to the effect of “see? You have learnt (how to do it)!”. The child, though, has more sensus catholicus than the Pope and has, thankfully, not learned: he immediately rejoins his hands in prayer, another sign that Francis’ separation of them was unwanted and unwelcome, and rather forced on him. Boy one, Pope nil.
By looking at this video I cannot escape the conclusion that Francis sees with suspicion every obvious manifestation of traditional Christian piety. Very probably his buddy, Rabbi Skorka, does not join hands in the way of the Christians, so there must be something “Pelagian” and “divisive” in doing things the proper Christian ways.
Notice that Francis is not teaching the child how to keep his hands properly joined in prayer (which the young boy is doing, actually, very well already), but he is rather teaching him not to join his hands in prayer, and is pleased when the boy has “learned” to do it properly. Nor can it be that the child is keeping his hands so frantically pressed together the Pope must teach him a more relaxed attitude. Francis is not teaching how to do it. He is teaching not to do it.
It is too soon to say whether Francis is trying to correct his public image from the one of a clown to one of a Pope, and there is some timid indication he is starting to listen to the one or the other of the (certainly terrified) people around him. Still, it cannot be denied either this man is unable to think straight whenever a camera is present, or he is so advanced in his estrangement from proper Catholic thinking that he does it all the time, with the cameras unavoidably catching him as he lives his “priest-cum-rabbi” homemade spirituality in his daily routine.
Joining one’s hands in prayer is one of the most beautiful gesture at the disposal of a Christian. I do not know exactly what infidels do, but off the top of my head I cannot recollect any Jew or Muslim or Hindu showing his devotion in the same way, though I think other culture may join their hand in a similar way to show respect to a person. Be it as it may, I would say the gesture can be fairly described as typically Christian and, here in the West, very closely linked with Christianity.
Would Francis have straightened the back of a Jew repeatedly bowing in front of the Wall in Jerusalem? Would he have raised a Muslim boy on his kneels, who is bowing in the direction of the Mecca? Would he tell them “now you have learned” after doing so? Thought not….
More in general, this Pope does things that no other pope or even priest would ever dream of doing. From the red nose to this last episode to countless other blunders – the suggestion to the leftist nun to basically disregard missives from the CDF is the first one that comes to my mind – his behaviour is so outlandish one wonders who taught him to be a priest in the first place.
Let us hope the man slowly learns to behave in a way appropriate to a priest and a pope. He isn’t stupid after all.