“Good God!” – exclaimed the good, pious woman upon seeing the cat threatening the freshly baked apple cake.
“Jesus!” – was the utterance of the pious Neapolitan man when hearing Naples had lost the game 4-0 again.
“Jesusandmary!” (one word: Gesummaria!”) was the usual expression of the southern Italian gentleman upon being told of something very bad that had happened.
“Maledetto….!” “Damn….!” (add to the word the usual suspects: cats, dog, communists, whomever or whatever wasn’t OK!). This one was everywhere.
A pleasantly unruly child would be described as “a little devil”, often without the slightest hint of disapprobation. Similarly, “you are diabolical” would be the compliment reserved for, say, someone who had made something really cool playing soccer.
“Dio Bonino!” (Good Lordy…) was, meanwhile, the cry of disapprobation of the Tuscan Italian man, because they love terms of endearment.
“Dannazione” (“Damnation”), would the poor guy cry, who had just hammered his finger instead of the nail. Mind, though, that I can prove to you, scientifically, that said man had no intention whatsoever of either sending to, or wishing, hell to absolutely anybody known or unknown to him. The expression simply meant to evoke something very unpleasant. Nowadays, a more vulgar and unfaithful world would simply says ” f-cking sh-t”; which, apparently, nobody considers a blasphemy and must, therefore, be somewhat ok.
Last, we have the one to rule them all: “Dio Mio”, same as the Spanish Dios Mio!
What do all these phrases have in common?
Likely that, for all of them, you would find Protestants willing to call them assorted blasphemies, or curses, or generally being a sin against the Second Commandment.
This makes the 60 million Italians I grew up amongst a bunch of blasphemers, too. At least if you are a Protestant or, in case of a tragic lack of understanding, if you are a Catholic who has uncritically absorbed all the Protestant rubbish about the Second Commandment (and I am afraid there is more than some, of those, in the US).
Alas, in authentically Catholic Countries people have, traditionally, not thought that way; and as they are the cultural cradle of Catholicism, I think you should take very good note of this.
Blessedly free from Protestants playing the well-known game called “holier than thou”, Catholics developed a culture in which a constant reference to God in one’s daily life translates in often mentioning God, as the One around Whom the entire life of a person revolves.
Therefore, sadness, disapprobation, surprise, but also joy and hope, were constantly linked to the Divine. If you often have God in your mind, you will often have Him in your mouth.
The evidence: the de-Christianisation of Italy has brought to the rapid disappearance of all of the expressions above. Including the one to rule them all.
Why do I say this? In order to achieve 2 aims:
1. point out to the Protestantisation of Catholicism in Countries with vast contacts to the “holier than thou” sects, and
2. give my own take on the potential cultural background of Father Pavone.
As to 1
You really need to relax. A priests known for being a good priest will simply not blaspheme. If he uses a word that he (perhaps) shouldn’t be using as a priest, you need to let it rest. If he says to you that he even went to confession (that’s an interesting one btw: as he did not intended to blaspheme there should be no sin at all, same as if I hammer my finger and the expression escapes me I don’t need to go to confession, and it is not even a venial sin), you really need to shut up.
As to 2.
I don’t know if Father Pavone (no name can be more Italian than this: Pavone means… Peacock in Italian.) grew up in a specifically Italian cultural environment. If he did, he will have heard his (likely very pious) aunts and grand aunts call the cat, dog, hamster, & Co. “damn” a great number of times. Note here that in Italian, there is no proper Italian translation for “Goddamn”. Better said, there is, and it is, simply, “damn”, “maledetto”. But, clearly, only God damns. Therefore, every “damned” means “damned by God”.
“Maledetto cane”, “maledetto vento”, “maledetto gatto”, “maledetta pioggia” and the evergreen, extremely well-known song, “maledetta primavera”, in which said primavera (Spring) is damnable exactly because, as the song explains, it makes you fall in love in one hour.
This expression, “maledetto”, was so omnipresent when Italy was Catholic, that movies meant for a children audience (John Wayne comes to mind) had it. I saw such movies at the parish cinema. Nobody ever said a word. Not a priest, not a parent. Nobody. And there you have it: John Wayne saying a word, that you may easily translate as “Goddamn”, in front of the children, in the presence of the priest, without this causing the slightest embarrassment in anybody.
Now, though I don’t live in the US, I understand that the cultural environment over there is (likely because of the nefarious influence of the above mentioned Protestant sects) different. Father Pavone, Italian Aunt or no Italian Aunt, must have been aware of that. However, our culture, our upbringing, our own cultural sensitivities will always emerge when we get emotional. This is why people tend to swear in their own mother tongue, confident that their interlocutor will get the message anyway.
Why do I say all this? Because to me, Father Pavone saying, say, “Goddamn Commies” (no, it does not mean that he is God; that has has cursed them; that he wishes them hell, or any of that nonsense; it means that he really doesn’t like those people) does not make it less Catholic, but more. In fact, it brings this courageous priest nearer to me, exactly as we feel that an angry Don Camillo is really on our side, even if he loses his temper for it.
I wonder if Don Camillo would, today, be defrocked.
Enjoy the video, and pray for Father Pavone.
I wish one twentieth of our Bishops were as Catholic as he obviously is.
I have not followed the details of the matter. There might be something I have missed. Si sbalio, mi corigerete (look it up!).
But it seems to me that Father Pavone does more for the unborn in one day than all of the US Bishops, together, in a year. It seems to me that there is something deeply, fundamentally wrong in confusing an obviously Catholic issue like abortion with a strictly-intended party political activity.
Padre Pio, during the election of 1948, explicitly invited his faithful to vote to defeat Communism. Should we defrock him, too? And what about all those countless priests who, in former times, took obviously Catholic positions in political controversies? Should every priest who approved of anti-abortion legislation be defrocked, too?
Mind, I do not have all the story. There might be legal technicalities, and there might be other issues. But it seems to me that Father Pavone is not welcome within the US Church establishment, because it gives the lie to their way too cozy relationship with the Democratic Party, which has the right to kill the unborn as a fundamental part of their ideology.
Sheesh, the same people who allow angry lesbians every licence to pretend they are nuns, will defrock Pavone? The same people who consider Pelosi and Biden worthy of receiving communion, will deny Pavone his role as a priest? What is this, a joke?
I am not liking this and I am not buying it. If this is done out of fear that the Church could lose its tax-privileged status, then it is really disgraceful; then in that case, the right of the Church to talk Catholic should be defended vigorously in Court and, if necessary, the tax-privileged status renounced.
There must be more to this than meets the eyes.
I am grateful for link that give more background to the story.
Nancy Pelosi Asked To Stop Betraying Catholicism Or Apostatise
From the open letter of Father Pavone to Nancy “abortion is sacred ground” Pelosi.
If you follow the link, you will find a way to send Pelosi’s office your approval of Father Pavone’s letter.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Dear Mrs. Pelosi,
Last Thursday, June 13, you were asked a question in a press briefing that you declined to answer. The question was, “What is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?”
Given the fact that the Gosnell case has been national news for months now, and that Congress, where you serve as House Democratic Leader, was about to have a vote on banning abortion after 20 weeks fetal age, this was a legitimate question.
Instead of even attempting to answer the question, you resorted to judgmental ad hominem attacks on the reporter who asked it, saying, “You obviously have an agenda. You’re not interested in having an answer.”
Mrs. Pelosi, the problem is that you’re not interested in giving an answer.
Your refusal to answer this question is consistent with your failure to provide an answer to a similar question from me and the members of my Priests for Life staff. Several years ago, we visited your office with the diagrams of dismemberment abortion at 23 weeks, and asked the simple question, “When you say the word ‘abortion,’ is this what you mean?” In response, nothing but silence has emanated from your office.
In what way is this refusal to address an issue of such national importance consistent with the leadership role you are supposed to be exercising? Public servants are supposed to be able to tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. Apparently, you can’t. Otherwise, you would have been able to explain the difference between a legal medical procedure that kills a baby inside the womb and an act of murder — for which Dr. Gosnell is now serving life sentences — for killing the same baby outside the womb.
Moreover, you stated at the press briefing on June 13, “As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics.”
With this statement, you make a mockery of the Catholic faith and of the tens of millions of Americans who consider themselves “practicing and respectful Catholics” and who find the killing of children — whether inside or outside the womb — reprehensible.
You speak here of Catholic faith as if it is supposed to hide us from reality instead of lead us to face reality, as if it is supposed to confuse basic moral truths instead of clarify them, and as if it is supposed to help us escape the hard moral questions of life rather than help us confront them.
Whatever Catholic faith you claim to respect and practice, it is not the faith that the Catholic Church teaches. And I speak for countless Catholics when I say that it’s time for you to stop speaking as if it were.
Abortion is not sacred ground; it is sacrilegious ground. To imagine God giving the slightest approval to an act that dismembers a child he created is offensive to both faith and reason.
And to say that a question about the difference between a legal medical procedure and murder should not “have anything to do with politics” reveals a profound failure to understand your own political responsibilities, which start with the duty to secure the God-given right to life of every citizen.
Mrs. Pelosi, for decades you have gotten away with betraying and misrepresenting the Catholic faith as well as the responsibilities of public office. We have had enough of it. Either exercise your duties as a public servant and a Catholic, or have the honesty to formally renounce them.
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Get Your Kicks: Father Pavone
Like many Europeans, I know Amarillo only from the famous song:
Well goes from St. Louie down to Missouri
Oklahoma city looks oh so pretty
You’ll see Amarillo and Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona don’t forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino
It would appear that Amarillo is now condemned to a certain sort of popularity for being the theatre of the conflict between Fr Pavone and his bishop, Zurek.
The details still appear unusual: a bishop orders one of his priests to be confined within his diocese, but does not suspend him. He says that he wants to know more about his non-profit activities, but does not accuse him of financial impropriety. Fr Pavone himself obeys him by confining himself within the Amarillo diocese and stopping his ETWN apparitions (no pun intended), but doesn’t show up when the bishop asks to see him, is clearly planning to be moved to a different diocese and in general seems not to be in best terms with Zurek.
To us, this matter is interesting because of the vast popularity of Pavone and the favour he could summon for the pro-life cause in and outside of the Catholic world. Which is not to say that he is an angel, or clean , or even always appropriate in his behaviour (cue his vicinity to supposed pro-life gay groups; I wonder what he would do with pro-life dog “lovers”).
I truly hope this won’t become another Corapi case (what has happened to the man, by the way? Long-term, I fear the worst; short-term, I fear the worst). A torrid 2012 campaign is approaching, and we need all the pro-life cannons aligned and firing.
Fr Pavone Under Fire.
I had read several times about Fr Pavone and if you use the search function of this blog, you might find an entry or two about him. I liked his pro-life commitment and the way he engages to do that which too many clergymen do not want to do.
It would now appear that his Bishop has suspended him and has ordered him to come back to Amarillo, alleging that Fr Pavone has disobeyed him by not allowing the accounts of his 10-million-bucks-a-year charity to be audited.
One would say that this is (then) Father Corapi all over again (poor chap, by the way; what has happened to him? I see dark clouds there, but I digress…), but in this case the circumstances appear rather different because Fr Pavone obeys to the bishop (coming back to Amarillo as ordered) even when he is not obliged to (as he has already appealed, and the appeal allows him to wait for the decision; I am not an expert in canon law but I’d say that we have seen this in the case of bishop Nourrichard).
The matter here is rather disconcerting for a different reason: the bishop says that Fr Pavone doesn’t want to have his books audited; Fr Pavone says that the books are audited but the bishops doesn’t want to acknowledge that they are. As the matter of auditing of financial statements is heavily regulated all over the West and not much of a grey zone seems possible, I am sure that we will rather soon know who is talking without thinking here. If Fr Pavone picked his cousin to audit the financial statements because he happens to be an accountancy student, the books are not audited and I think he’s in trouble; if he had the accounts regularly audited I think the Bishop will have some explaining to do.
The other matter rather reminiscent of the Corapi affair is the bishop’s accusation about “persistent questions remained unanswered” regarding how the money is used (hence the great need for auditing, of course). Once again, either the books have been properly audited, or they haven’t. If they have, it should have been for the auditors to express concerns, if such areas of concerns had been established. If they haven’t, the problem is there irrespective of Pavone having being wasteful or not.
It is sad to see that once again, a famous priest makes headlines for the wrong reasons. On the other hand, if a scandal is really on the making (and be that one of careless administration) the Latin saying oportet ut scandala eveniant has once again deserved its excellent reputation.
As in Corapi’s case, Fr Pavone should be presumed innocent until found guilty.
I truly hope we won’t see him soon photographed in a motorcycle jacket, though.
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