The “Thumb Up” Pope

During my recent stay in the città eterna, I have noticed the huge quantity of kitsch articles carrying the image of Pope Francis with the “thumb up” gesture. From coffee mugs to calendars and from wall plates to desk statues, the man and the thumb were both everywhere.

Granted, the Pope with the thumb up probably ranks #127 in the list of all the stupid, or worse, antics of Jorge Bergoglio once elevated to Pope Diana. Still, allow me to notice that the thumb alone would, in normal times, be considered unfitting for a Pope, vulgar or at least too familiar for a man in his position, and in general debasing the dignity of the Papacy.

This leads me to consider how far this Pope has deviated from a correct understanding of his office, and the extremes to which his unquenchable thirst for popularity has led him. At the same time, this tells us to what extent Catholicism had already degenerated even before Francis became Pope. The earth-kissing icon of the former decades has certainly not helped.

You might think that there are more pressing problem than an Argentinian thumb, and this is very true. At the same time, it is from smaller things like this one that we see very clearly why the bigger ones do not cause enough scandal.

Let us not lose the will or ability to be scandalised for the littler things. If we lose it, it means that our understanding of Catholicism is so corrupted, that gestures that would have been unthinkable in a Pope for our grandmothers are now considered normal by ourselves.

You see a Pope with the thumb up, and you already know what kind of Pope he will be.



Posted on January 3, 2014, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. May God forgive me, but after looking at that thumbs up picture, all I see is Stan Laurel of the famous duo of Laurel and Hardy…perhaps a photo of Cardinal Dolan with a moustache would complete the pair…..a little Friday levity is not harmful is it? Thumbs up if you agree?

  2. Stan Laurel is exactly the person Pope Francis has reminded me of all along…but I am surprised to read it…many people now do not remember Laurel.

  3. A Blessed New Year to you, Mundabor! Did you hear about Pope Francis’ “parable” of the fish and loaves? Surprised haven’t read a blog from you on that one – forgive me if I missed it. It really has the Pollyannas stretching beyond all reason and decorum… Would also love to hear a blog post on the psychology of the professional Pollyannas. What is it they seek to gain by calling a square a circle?

  4. Dear Mundabor, regarding JP II kissing the ground, you are mistaken. In his Polish background, kissing the ground means respect, peace, humility toward the nation. In this way he showed respect to the nations he visited, in a spirit of Jesus kissing feet of His Apostles.

    • Everything can mean anything in some strange place.
      JP II made of his kissing the ground a huge media circus, willingly amplified by the media.
      Francis merely continues the circus. In Peronist circles, to have black shoes is a sign of modesty.


  5. A Spaniard tells us that in Italy, the thumbs up signifies death.

    • I am Italian and cannot agree, unless it’s some regional usage.

      We did not have the thumb up before the American invasion during WW II. Since then, it has remained an untypical gesture, foreign to our culture.


  6. I correct myself: In Rome, the “thumbs up” signifies death.

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