“Rabbitgate”: Video Witness Shames The Pope








Louie Verrecchio has a very interesting post  about “Rabbitgate” and whilst the subsequent statements of the Pope do have to be considered a backpedaling on the aeroplane statements themselves, the matter of the sincerity of the man is another pair of (presumably, black) shoes altogether.

I suggest you watch all the video, which is well worth your time. I am Italian and, following Mr Verrecchio’s invitation, I will focus on the part starting at 3:25 and ending at 3:47, that is: on the video witness of the words of the Pope.

My observations:

1) “rimproverare” means “rebuke, scold, reprimand”. It is the verb typically used to express the scolding of the teacher to his elementary school pupil, or of the parent to his child. As such, it most often implies a kind of educational superiority (perfectly OK in this context, as a Pope can certainly “rebuke” a faithful, if there is a valid reason for it). A friend does not “rimprovera” a friend. In no way can the verb be made to mean “encounter, express”, & Co. It’s not even the offering of an opinion, or a suggestion. It’s the statement of a wrong attitude or behaviour, coming from the one who has the task of correcting any such wrong attitude or behaviour.

2) I am a bit picky here, but I thought I should give some colour: a properly educated and properly speaking Italian would invariably say, in this context, “Signora” instead of “donna”, “lady” instead of “woman”. He would do it naturally, without looking for the word, because donna is nowadays automatically used in a more familiar context (“che bella donna!”) or in a less complimentary one (“stai attento a quella donna!”), whereas “Signora” is automatically used when a more proper or formal context is involved (“di’ “grazie” alla Signora!” “Mi scusi, Signora…”). Again, “Lady” and “woman” very much give the context. Francis probably does not have the linguistic finesse necessary to make such a distinction, nor do I know how this is properly expressed in Spanish. But if a Pope does not get the fine things, he should only read texts that have them already on paper instead of blabbering around. When one speaks with journalists one flirts with disaster even if one has his thoughts and language perfectly under control. Francis has neither.

3) 3:34 to 3:35 show a typical, rather endearing trait of the Italian communicator: the use of the body to support what the mouth is saying. In this case, Francis bobs his body as obvious result of a largish (large, for his age) arm movement. This is a typical Italian trait, always seen when a certain excitement is making itself noticeable, and invariably meant to convey the conviction of the speaker. Francis could have said the same words in a careless, half-humurous, casual manner not implying emotional involvement (“oh, I remember that time…”) and there would have been no arm movement and no body bobbing. Here, though, there can be no doubt: this is the body language of one who is saying: “She did so and so! Really?! What kind of behavior is THAT!?” (note: the eyes wide open during the phrase: another typical reinforcement).


What does this tell me? 

1) Francis was rather excitedly persuaded of what he was saying.

2) He thought he was making an obvious point. He had no suspicion whatsoever of an ensuing controversy. Therefor,

3) What he said reflects his true feelings, his convictions concerning that particular pregnancy. He can’t even imagine others would disagree. This, my friends, is what Peron and Tango do to you…

He has backpedaled, I know. He has backpedaled in pretty much as much of a clear and unmistakeable way as can be normally expected by a Pope. But there is no doubt in my mind that this backpedaling is not the fruit of him realising that he has inadvertently expressed himself in, say, an unlucky way. On the contrary: he says very clearly what he means, and his body language makes the point all the way. The backpedaling is therefore, without the shadow of a doubt, an exercise in damage control meant to distract the faithful from what the Bishop of Rome really thinks.

The text taken in isolation could make someone think of an impropriety of expression, or of a slip of the tongue, or of a very tired man. But the video shows the man in its authentic behaviour, and to this Italian he shows the full man as he gesticulates and bobs back and forth, calling (in conformity of what age allows) his whole body to agree with his tongue, as we Italians so beautifully do. IN two words, the video tells the lie about the story of the misunderstanding.

The backpedaling was a correction all right.We accept it as a correction of a wrong statement.

But do not think for a second that it reflects what the Bishop of Rome thinks. To him, the woman is clearly as worthy of rebuke as water is wet.


P.s. As for Mr Verrecchio’s observation about neighbours.

Of course I would not want him as a neighbour.

Who would want to listen to the anti-Capitalist rant of a frustrated Commie with a big mouth, but who knows jack about pretty much everything?





Posted on January 23, 2015, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Thanks for sharing the video. I can’t speak Italian but I noted the body language and his facial expression and see what you mean. As a father of four who has been trying to trust completely in God’s providence to provide for my children, and who believes my children are blessings, I wrote my own blog post a few days ago on this where I contrast what the Psalms say and which have been very meaningful to me over the years, and no doubt other parents.

    If you care to read or share with your readers, the link is

    If you don’t, please delete it. No hard feelings!

  2. Dear Mr. Mundabor, I am sadly persuaded now that you are right. As I raised earlier this week, this seems such a stunning break – both in style and substance – from previous popes. (Doubtless, watching the Pope Pius XII film over lunch did not help in this regard!!) But this is truly beyond my understanding.

  3. This video is priceless. It is so clear even to non-Italian speakers that Francis is at ease and convinced of what he is saying as he expresses his true displeasure and indignation at this faithful Catholic mother who chose to trust in the Lord.

  4. indignusfamulus

    Dear M.
    It could be called “TMAHICH-the Video” or “How to attack the virtuous, while completely ignoring “Evangelii Gaudium” -in which he (co)-wrote:

    — ” never respond to questions that nobody asks.”
    — “In preaching, which is always respectful and gentle, the first step is personal dialogue–the other person shares -joys, hopes,concerns, heartfelt needs.”
    — ” ..Contemplate the word, ..while paying attention “to actual people, ..develope a broad, profound sensitivity– think of compassion..”(154)
    — “Positive preaching always offers hope..does not leave us trapped in negativity.” ..lest it remain mired in complaints, laments, criticisms and reproaches.(159)
    — “the Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow .. without making judgments about their responsibility and culpability (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37).
    — “Someone good at such accompaniment does not give in to frustrations. (172).

  5. One of the reasons I found most compelling when I converted to Catholicism in ’13 was the teaching on procreation/contraception. I came from a medium-sized family (5 kids). I have four daughters. Once, someone relayed the idea that perhaps four was too many and had I thought about birth control? My response: There is little control when giving birth. You mean not getting pregnant, right? Well, yeah. Or abortion? Uhhh. But after they are all born, you are telling me I have too many kids? Ummmm. Yeah. Which one should I go drown?

    On Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:50 PM, Mundabor’s Blog wrote:

    > Mundabor posted: ” Louie Verrecchio has a very > interesting post about “Rabbitgate” and whilst the subsequent statements > of the Pope do have to be considered a backpedaling on the aeroplane > statements”

  6. Catholic Thinker

    IF, that’s some impressive mining of Evangelii; I would think spending that much time with that particular text is likely worth a good deal of time off Purgatory.

    (As we are all well-aware, with liberals, “thou shalt not judge” applies to immoral behavior that they personally have no issue with – it most definitely does NOT apply to *persons* who said relativist does not care for – and that normally because they speak or represent truth.)

  7. Mundabor, the complete transcript of the Pope’s airplane interview is at


    At the end of the transcript is this note:

    Updated Jan. 23, 2015 at 9:07 a.m. MST to correct two inaccuracies in translation due to poor audio recording quality. The original article quoted the Pope as saying he “met” (trovato) a woman “who” (che) was pregnant. The Pope in fact said that he “reproached” (rimproverato) a woman “because” (perche) she was pregnant.

    I am amused when reading some other blogs at the bloggers’ insistent advice that those who disagree with the Bishop of Rome should stop complaining and concentrate on being better Catholics in their own lives. They seem unable to comprehend that a loyal Catholic can–and should–do both.

  8. It’s not clear who this man is.

    He has no real knowledge of who Jesus Christ is, and the Holy Virgin will no doubt be aghast at his hurtful comments made to a clearly Roman Catholic woman.

    It appears he has no Faith. If he HAS, it does not appear to be Catholic (or even Orthodox for that matter)

    He is charming and all smiles with those who are Heretics and Schismatics, – (NB with all fairness to such people, perhaps it isn’t their fault that they are Heretics, when their Host, Our Lord’s Divinely Instituted Pontiff, the one who SHOULD enlighten them regarding Truth, remains silent.)

    Homosexuals, gain his loving sympathy. The hangers on who defile the Church, the Liberals, Pro Homosexual Agenda, the Revisionists of True Catholic Dogma – he fights shoulder to shoulder with them, clearly considering their cause to be of prior concern and worthy of consideration, – However, Catholics?? Well, he doesn’t like us and will not tolerate US in our Church for an instant!. He apparently despises all things Catholic, yet considers our Church worthy of entering and leading….


    • My take in two words:
      an atheist of leftist parents who joined the Jesuit for a comfortable life, he learned to play the hypocrite game and carve a career out of it. Through his own serpent cunning (different from intelligence) and a series of fortunate circumstances he became Pope. He is now discovering what worked in the province (a career made of stupidity and assorted nonsense, and anti-Capitalist blabber) does not work as a Pope, where he is under fire all the time and people discover he is all hat and no Catholic cattle.
      He will have no great joy in this pontificate.

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