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.
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?
We have just witnessed a clear backpedaling on “Rabbitgate”. This shows that TMAHICH reads around, or at least listens to two or three people who do, and when he thinks something is out there on the planet which does not correspond to his (if you believe him) or Catholic teaching he can, actually, react very fast.
Then one is tempted to ask: what does this mean for all the cases in which there was no correction?
What about the Argentinian woman going around saying that Francis told her to go and receive communion, scandal and adultery and all? Has he corrected this perception?
What about the many blasphemous or heretical statements (from the Blessed Virgin who might have thought “Lies!” on the foot of the Cross; to God that limits Himself to a slap on the wrist; to Jesus who deceived His disciples, & Co, & Co.) uttered by his own very mouth? Has he ever issued a clear backpedaling on them?
What about the “who am I to judge?” slogan, possibly the most obviously subversive statement ever uttered by a reigning Pontiff? Has he issued a clarification about the evil of homosexuality, and the grave sin of sodomy, just so everyone knows what the obvious teaching of the Church is?
Er… ummm… let me think…
No. He never did anything of the sort. And when you look at my Francis Papers page, you see that the list is very long.
Actually, he had the gut to call Cardinal Kasper’s sacrilegious heresies about giving Communion to adulterers “theology on one’s knees”, and “profound and serene theology”. No retraction on that, either. Rather, we had the delirious relatio post disceptationem, of which even my cat knows Francis was the perpetrator and driving force.
So, Francis can retract when he sees that the planet got his words – said, or said to have been said – in a sense not compatible with Catholicism.
He did it in this case. He never did it in the other cases.
What does this tell us?
I have always thought that a child was a blessing, and a gift from the Lord. Always.
I thought that every time that a new child was announced, the Christian* parents welcomed him in their life as a special gift of God.
I also thought that in general, the Lord would provide for the challenges that a large family unavoidably creates; bestowing at the same time rich blessings (not necessarily of financial nature) on the family that accepts them in gratitude, and lives in fear of the Lord and in serene confidence in the work of Providence.
I have also – and I will stop here – always thought that in those cases where a child could partout not be nourished by his family, Christian Charity would take care of the little creature; either with public orphanages – of which all Catholic countries have been rich for a long time – or with the even more ancient religious structures created for the purpose; structures which, traditionally, have never refused to accept a baby; unconditionally, and no question asked, as the beautiful institution of the Wheel abundantly demonstrates.
Why did the former generations do this? Because every child is a very special gift of God. An immortal soul, put on earth so that he may, with God’s grace, merit heaven. A soul more valuable than all the planets together because, other than them, made to live forever.
This is what I thought. I might, of course, have been wrong all the time. But I do not really think I am. I know many, many examples of numerous families whose members lived in simple circumstances, but surrounded with blessings no Mercedes and no luxury holiday will ever give. I know even more cases of fathers thinking, on first hearing the news, “what will we do?”, and never looking back after a life of rich blessings.
Therefore, it does sound strange to me when a Bishop of Rome, of all people, refers to the obvious blessing of many children as “breeding like rabbits”; an expression which, literally, was uttered with the words “be like rabbits” because of linguistic peculiarities, but which undoubtedly means and conveys the sense of “breeding like rabbits” in proper English. And yes, Francis might have tried to downplay the brutality of his mouth afterwards; but this is the kind of bomb that will stick, and he knows it very well. This is one who will never miss an occasion to let you know how secular he is.
There is, I would have thought, something extremely disquieting in a Pope which, whilst he laments the disappearance of the big families of yore – I am sure I have read statements of the sort – at the same time expresses himself in such a stupid, demeaning way concerning the very miracle of human birth.
I am sure the Bishop of Rome did not want to say, with his unintelligent words, that it is per se wrong to have many children; what I think he wanted to do is to lament the birth of children who then cause the family to live in poverty; which is extremely strange in a Pope otherwise so fond of poverty, and considering it (not the children, evidently) the well of so many blessings.
The Clown Pope has made at least two very big mistakes here:
1) He has devalued the miracle of human birth, which he sees under a pure sociological perspective. That every birth is a gift from God and a great miracle, he is just unable to see. When he thinks of children, he is reminded of rabbits. I do not hesitate in calling this the same mentality that gave us abortion.
2) He has lost a wonderful occasion to push for a beautiful – when properly implemented – institution of the past: orphanages. The answer for a child that cannot be maintained by his parents – or by his single parent – lies in Christian Charity, not in seeing the baby in any way, shape or form as surplus to requirement. No baby is ever surplus to requirement. Every baby is God’s requirement.
Besides the point already made of the value of every human life, entire continents are depopulating, and it is no less than astonishing that the very Head of Catholicism would think that there can be – and I cannot find any other way of saying this – only one birth too much.
But then again, this is the Environ-Mentalist. The man who thinks man is about to destroy Creation. It is obvious to him there is a need for less babies to be born; because hey, God has gifted some with too many children; or rather, some have made more children than it is fitting, and pleasing to God.
More in general, it is surprising to me how Francis seems not to get that every single child is there because God wanted him just there; providentially born in exactly those circumstances, age, family, and Country in which God wanted him. Born to be happy with Him forever one day, and to be His gift in the meantime. Does Francis believe that even one illegitimate child was born, so to speak, cheating God into his existence? Does he think that mere humans, not God, create the providential circumstances in which God, not men, decide that a child will be born? A child can be born out of sinfulness, but a blessing and God’s gift he still is. A child can be born from an extremely poor family, but a blessing and God’s gift he still is. A child can be, in extreme circumstances, even be beyond his family’s ability to feed and raise him, but he is still God gift, still a miracle of God’s grace, never, never one one child too much!
The comparison with a litter of rabbits is, therefore, more than stupid. It is secular. It is the way Lenin would see such things.
Bob Cratchit got all this all right. He got all this because he was a Christian, and did not even need to reflect on these things.
Francis The Castroite doesn’t get it at all.
* to the heathens and libtards, Obama’s “punished with a baby” rather applies…