Pope Receives Summer Re-Education Camp Arts and Crafts Project

Pope Receives Summer Re-Education Camp Arts and Crafts Project July 10, 2015

So the Pope is in South America right now and at a recent audience, some guy brought him a geegaw as a diplomatic gift. It’s a truly ugly reworking of a hammer and sickle into a crucifix, and the pope’s magnificent “What the WTF?” expression .brings tears of laughter to my eyes. Here, watch for yourself:

I often wonder how many such crappy art projects are squirreled away in the Vatican equivalent of Warehouse 13, awaiting some future spelunker a thousand years from now who will find it, shrouded in cobwebs and dust and ask, “What the hell?”

Francis is, of course, polite (as you are when you get that VISIT ATLANTIC CITY battery powered necktie for Christmas from your brother-in-law). But it’s not very hard to see that this cringeworthy attempt by a Commie to suck up to the Church is… well… cringeworthy. His remark on this piece of kitsch was “That’s not right” (delivered, I like to imagine, this way):

But, of course, that’s not good enough for the Reactionaries at Pewsitter and similar sites, who are freaking out about “FrancisChurch” and “Commie Jesus” and similar rubbish.

Me: I think the image of Francis looking in bafflement at that… thing is just hilarious and makes me wonder how many other winceable art projects, knicknack, tschotschkes, and trinkets the pope has to hand off to some luckless functionary every day–and where it all goes. Somebody should write a book about that. Meanwhile, I content myself with this image:

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  • Ken

    This reminded me of JFK’s rule of never wearing hats given to him while he was in public. He saw other politicians forced to wear funny hats when they went to meet different groups and thought it made them look silly. Unfortunately, the Pope can’t have a rule of not accepting gifts.

  • The way your political leanings have gone lately I would have thought you sent him that sickle and hammer. 😛 (I’m kidding Mark, don’t take that seriously.)

  • Jamesthelast

    At my seminary, my rector taught us that part of being a good gentleman means always accepting gifts with grace, while deciding to keep or dispose of said gift in private.

    • Ask your rector what he would do if someone gave him the “gift” of a picture of his mother’s face pasted on some porn star’s naked body.

      The Body of Christ has been raped and crucified over and over by the sickle and hammer. The Bolivian president’s public bit of blasphemous political theater is no time for niceties and keeping up appearances.

      If someone spits in my face, I’ll try to turn the other cheek, but spit in my mom’s face, or Our Lord’s face, and call it a gift…you’ll be getting a different reaction.

      • Jamesthelast

        Ok, first you go an extreme example which in someone in their right mind wouldn’t do.

        Secondly, your logic doesn’t make sense. Jesus himself was killed on a cross, why isn’t that offensive then? The crucifix in question doesn’t even depict that Jesus is supporting communism.
        The problem here is not with the cross itself, but rather the Bolivian President’s possible attempt at propaganda, which is probably doesn’t actually mean anything in the long run.

        Your last paragraph also doesn’t really hold up. When Peter struck the high priest’s servant, Jesus told him to put the sword back. I’m not saying we should approve of bad behavior, but instant lashing out in violent anger isn’t always the best reaction.

      • chezami

        Comparison of the Pope to a porn addict. You really are unhinged in your hatred of him. Go to confession and stay off my blog.

        • Alma Peregrina

          To be fair, he didn’t compare the pope to a porn addict. He used a reductio ad absurdum to show that certain gifts shouldn’t be accepted.

          • Mike Petrik

            You are correct, Alma, as any fair-minded person can plainly discern.

        • He didn’t compare the pope to a porn addict.

        • “judaizer in rabbainic headgear”…. meanwhile it is usually these nuts who go to the mats for Israel.

      • Artevelde

        I too have moments when I start conjuring up violently erotic images of my mother. Not by accident they often coincide with me looking at Mark’s avatar below and seeing a judaizer in rabbinic headgear about to surrender the Church to the devil by means of a Judaskiss placed upon a grotesque image.
        I usually have a nicely aged Rhum when this happens (often, but not out of any attachment to Marxism, Cuban). May I suggest something more sacramental for you?

      • Alma Peregrina

        “The Body of Christ has been raped and crucified over and over by the sickle and hammer.”


      • It is distasteful and Francis did not approve, which is why he gave it back to Bolivia at a shrine before departing:


  • Phil Blanc

    So what’s the tie-in to today’s ceremony of yanking down the Confederate flag? Simple: whenever you display a symbol of any kind in public, it doesnt really matter what the symbol means to the guy holding it up. The important thing is what it means to the public. Dah. A hammer and sickle might represent the struggle of laborers to the guy holding it, but to a lot of folks, especially in Latin America, it represents the ant-Christian oppression of Calles and other Marxist regimes. To me, and many, it is an evil symbol. Dont hold it up, especially to the Pope.

    The Confederate flag might represent southern pride and sweet tea to some, but to me it symbolizes a group of slave-whippin traitors who drive orange race cars.

    • Dave G.

      I can certainly understand that perspective. And I have no real trouble with taking it down from State grounds. After all, there probably weren’t too many Union Jacks flying after the Revolution. Still, I am getting a little nervous about the growing speed with which Americans run to ban and boycott and censor simply because something has been labeled something of hate or bigotry or offensive or something. After all, if we remember back when the Passion of the Christ came out, there were plenty who said the Gospels and the Cross were symbols of hate and oppression to many. What then? Better to keep it somewhere in our view and learn from it, than follow the old approach of simply eradicating whatever someone says is offensive. Which might be why Pope Francis didn’t throw it down, stomp on it, and call for punishment of the offending party. What comes around after all.

  • While I agree in general, two things to note:

    1. Despite what many news sites say, Francis didn’t say “That’s not right” (it would be something way too awkward to say in such moment), he says (at 0:48) “I didn’t know that” , in Spanish “No sabía eso”, which was mis-heard by many as “No está bien eso” (“That’s not right”) – the audio is far from clear, but I (argentine) am 90% sure. Besides, Morales immediately says “Ahora ya lo sabe” (“Now you know it”)

    2. That… thing (well, that was a replica) was done by a jesuit priest https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lu%C3%ADs_Espinal_Camps

    • Andrew Attaway

      Hey, Mark,

      What Hernan writes was general knowledge yesterday. Even Fr. Lombardi denied the pope said “That’s not right.” How come you’re still pushing that line?

      Really, your excuses for the pope are getting more and more ridiculous by the day.

      • Mark’s an honest guy. No doubt he’ll review and revise.


        • chezami

          You guys are so *happy* to have something to *really* vent your hatred of Francis at. I can’t imagine why more people aren’t attracted to your movement.

          • Re_Actor

            When I look at trad sites — and 1P5 is certainly trad-ish — I don’t see any malicious satisfaction whenever Francis says or does something questionable. I see anger, frustration, embarrassment … sometimes expressed intemperately it is true. You may not find that particularly edifying. Maybe you feel it’s skating close to despair. But it’s just wrong to imply they’re punching the air and whooping with glee (“Now we’ve got the bastard!”). They’re not.

      • chezami

        It’s what I got from the news. But, of course, with hate-filled Reactionaries there’s always a more sinister agenda. I actually *knew* it was false but lied. Way to catch me!

  • Jamesthelast

    I don’t understand why people freak out so much, it’s like they forget the words of Jesus about the unfailing mission of the Church.

    • chezami

      Because they do not trust God, hate this pope’s living guts, and hate most of the Church’s members.

      • Peggy

        Wow! You know the hearts and souls of so many people. What a great gift you’ve been given.

        • chezami

          Can’t read souls. Just words.

          • Sure Peggy… Peggy went to the mats with me above, claiming “communism is implicitly murderous” and “all communists are evil”, to which I asked her to simply compare the history of right and left governments in Latin America.

    • Alma Peregrina

      “I don’t understand why people freak out so much”

      It gives a certain sense of purpose and righteousness.

      What catholics should understand is that people don’t like Chicken Littles running all over the place.

      We should be on a more privileged position. The catholics are the countercultural ones (even more so after the Supreme Court decision). We should be the ones to make the culture freak out on us and, therefore, drawing people to us with serenity and open-arms.

      But we can’t do that if we’re the ones freaking out all the time. We’re so busy getting scandalized, that we don’t bother scandalizing and making big waves to spread our message. We’re always on the defensive, instead of christianising everything all over the place, taking the symbols away from the grip of the Devil.

      Those Chicken Littles ask, as a former orthodox catholic then turned heretic once proclaimed: “What has Jerusalem got to do with Athens?”

  • anna lisa

    South Americans love medals, sashes and gold whatnot all over the bodies of their supreme rulers. (I guess that’s a step up from machine guns in the jungle.) They love to talk communism then live like royalty.

    Poor Pope Francis can’t find any humor in it (or the Bolivian president’s hairdo) because he knows that one minute they can be smiling and fawning, (presenting a tacky, tone deaf gift)–and the next minute, capable of ordering death squads to take care of pesky citizens.

    Francis looked exactly like a person should look when standing before a loose canon.

    • Thank you for enlightening me, I had no idea I loved such things.

      • anna lisa

        Haha, my husband, is also South American, but he’ll be the first to laugh about all the pomp and circumstance, and say “they *love* that sh*t”.

        He was also slightly impolite about what the president of Argentina wore when she went to Rome to meet with Pope Francis.

        He’s downright vile when it comes to soccer.

    • Stereotypes from 50 years ago… that is why we have airplanes, but Americans would rather go to Club Med, and get their info from Hollywood.

      • anna lisa

        Americans like strip malls.
        Americans like all you can eat buffets
        Americans like Disney World
        Americans like McMansions.

        I’m not threatened are you? Whatevs–
        (Never stayed in Club Med)

        I’ve spent a decent amount of time in South America–need to get back. My husband was born and raised in Colombia. And yes, they are still kidnapping folks and dragging them into the jungle, despite Colombia making amazing strides forward with good presidents at the helm.

        Come on, why is everybody so thinned skinned?

        Argentinians are the best for getting offended.

        • Ohhh– well, I did not pick up my Indonesian wife’s stereotypes of her home country, but she similarly went all-in, for our cruddy pseudo-culture… 🙂

          • anna lisa

            O.K. You win. I was having flashbacks of the Quito wax museum when I saw Morales putting the bling on My favorite Argentinian in the world. Mea culpa.

            • Well, the dictators with death squads have been supplanted. They were never the leftists, mind you…

              • anna lisa

                Sigh. The seven deadly-s love the left and the right. Are you sure there aren’t a few death squads waiting in the wings?

  • Re_Actor
    • Alma Peregrina

      Marx, Lenin and Stalin must be howling in despair in Hell for having their precious symbols used to honor a freakin’ pope! Awesome!

      • Re_Actor

        OK. “Behold, I make all things new.” I get it. But will this be seen as Christ making the instrument of His agony a symbol of His triumph? (Not by President Morales, obviously.) Or will it be seen as Christ’s vicar submitting to his enemies and aligning himself with their ideology?

        According to the Vatican, it’s all about “dialogue”: Lombardi said Espinal had designed the crucifix as a symbol of dialogue and commitment to freedom and progress for Bolivia, not with any specific ideology in mind. Lombardi said he personally wasn’t offended by it.

        “You can dispute the significance and use of the symbol now, but the origin is from Espinal and the sense of it was about an open dialogue, not about a specific ideology,” Lombardi said.

        • Alma Peregrina

          “But will this be seen as Christ making the instrument of His agony a symbol of His triumph? (Not by President Morales, obviously.) Or will it be seen as Christ’s vicar submitting to his enemies and aligning himself with their ideology?”

          A fair question.

          We know what Morales will try to make of it.

          What remains to be seen is what catholics will try to make of it. So maybe we should try to work on that, lest the communists get the upper hand.

          • Re_Actor

            What remains to be seen is what catholics will try to make of it. So maybe we should try to work on that, lest the communists get the upper hand.

            Well we know what the Vatican makes of the communifix — apparently it’s a “symbol of dialogue and commitment to freedom and progress”. So who’s got the upper hand?

            • Alma Peregrina

              We do. It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.

            • chezami

              Christ has the upper hand. Would to God faithless Reactionaries believed that.

              • Re_Actor

                Yes, He does,

                Ecce advenit dominator Dominus; et regnum in manu eius, et potestas et imperium.

        • Marthe Lépine

          What do you mean, “Not by President Morales, obviously.)”? It is quite possible, but not necessarily obvious. Can you read Morales’ mind?

    • Interesting how there is no claim with your photo. We are to presume it is of Francis, but there is no claim nor credit. Very weird…

      • Marthe Lépine

        I think it is an enlargement of the part of a photo that shows those two medals that Pope Francis left at the feet of a statue of Mary. According to that same article I have quoted so often: “In addition to the crucifix, Morales had given the Pope two honours, one
        of which was making him part of the Order of Father Espinal, a
        designation that comes with a medal bearing a copy of the
        hammer-and-sickle crucifix.” I don’t know who did that enlargement, but it is fairly easy to do with most computers.

        • Thanks– that explains a disparity in the story for me. He left the MEDALS in the shrine and kept the wooden reproduction!

          This is such a tempest in a teapot… but our Holy Father was sensitive throughout, to the concerns of all faithful.

  • johnnysc

    I’m not sure Morales is sucking up to the Church with that statement. The guy got a world wide photo of himself and the Pope holding a hammer and sickle Crucifix.

    I inclined to agree with what Bishop Jose Munilla Aguirre of San Sebastián tweeted of Morales real intentions…..

    “The height of arrogance is to manipulate God in the service of atheistic ideologies. Today, once again: #ChristCrucified.”

  • Re_Actor
    • chezami

      OnePeterFive is a worthless site full of hysteria and Francis hatred from somebody who has publicly prayed for his death. Why would anybody read it?

      • antigon

        Not defending Skojec here, but it does cross the mind that had someone written the equivalent of your above post about, say, Jon Stewart, you’d contemptuously denounce their indulgence of the genetic fallacy.
        Specific analogy: ‘Jon Stewart is a worthless site full of hysterical support for analism & hatred of the unborn, whose actual deaths he publicly promotes. Why would anyone watch, read or quote him?’
        To wit, why isn’t what’s good for the goosy Stewart applicable to the gander Skojec?

        • Marthe Lépine

          Maybe the difference could be: Stewart has opinions that we certainly can object to, but he does not really project a strong hatred of the Church and his opinions, unfortunately, have a lot in common with the culture we live in. On the other hand, the attitude of people like Skojec, and the people who go along with such opinions as his open hatred of Pope Francis, could, if allowed continue to fester, bring a schism within the Church, which as I see it would be very dangerous for the souls of a lot of otherwise good, but poorly cathechised people. I could of course be wrong, but as outsider to the US, the divisions between US Catholics do give me some reasons to worry..

          • antigon

            Maybe. But if so that means there’s nothing wrong with applying the genetic fallacy in se, only a debate about where it applies.

      • It’s just a sort of apocalysm in the “Satan ran the Second Council” vein. I think he emulates Luther, except that that is an insult to Luther and Lutherans.

        And most Lutherans I know are more Catholic than that, and love Francis… 🙂

        • Re_Actor

          most Lutherans I know are more Catholic than that, and love Francis

          I wonder what these Lutherans make of Pope Francis … 🙂

          • Hah! What an odd mix– I never imagined SSPX “reaching out” to speak on behalf of a (presumably vacated) Church, and Lutherans complaining that they weren’t “being heard” by ecumenical committees? Isn’t the ecumenism and “watering down” of the faith through same, a major thing that the SSPX/ Anti-Second-Council folks were complaining about?

            I don’t know how united the mantle of SSPX is, but this “Asia” group is definitely on a rampage!

            • Re_Actor

              I never imagined SSPX “reaching out” to speak on behalf of a (presumably vacated) Church

              The FSSPX aren’t sedevacantist, if that’s what you mean.

              and Lutherans complaining that they weren’t “being heard” by ecumenical committees? Isn’t the ecumenism and “watering down” of the faith through same, a major thing that the SSPX/ Anti-Second-Council folks were complaining about?

              I think in this instance the Lutherans’ complaint was identical to the FSSPX’s — that the ‘official’ Catholic ecumenical outreach involved smothering one another in the whipped cream of warm emotion rather than chewing on the red meat of doctrine. With the FSSPX they’d finally found some Catholics they could disagree with.

  • Re Ja

    You should probably take your fellow Patheos blogger to task as well.

    • chezami

      “Let’s you and him fight!”

  • zebbart

    Lest we forget, the cross itself is also the a symbol of an evil pagan empire. Jesus of Nazareth was murdered on that symbol of imperial power and humiliation. We revere it because we were saved that act of self abnegation and wish to join Christ in it. Although President Morales’ gift was ugly and silly, it’s actually a pretty unintentionally truthful piece of art – Christ was indeed crucified on the hammer and sickle in the 20th century, in the bodies of thousands of martyrs.

    • AquinasMan

      No, the cross was the symbol of an evil pagan empire. Since Good Friday, it is a symbol of the Tree of Life, and the throne of Christ the King.

      The hammer and sickle will never represent anything but demonic horror inflicted upon hundreds of millions of souls. It can never be sanctified, nor can it be the source of life for all of us who are fallen. Morally relativizing the Cross with the Hammer and Sickle is not the way to go…

      • zebbart

        What’s the difference, besides 300+ year’s distance of history? The early church sure didn’t think the the cross suddenly changed from blasphemy and outrage over night.

        • AquinasMan

          Actually, yeah it did.

          “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” — 1 Corinthians 1:18

          • Marthe Lépine

            Maybe St. Paul wanted to teach precisely that to some Corinthians (e.g. members of the very early Church) who did not think (maybe for good reasons since it was still used then for its original intended purpose) that the cross could suddenly change from blasphemy and outrage, and needed to hear that lesson.

      • Jamesthelast

        You’re wrong, there’s nothing that can never be sanctified. You should remember that Satan can’t create anything, he can only corrupt good things. Not that I’m saying we need to start using the hammer and sickle, but rather that you’re being extreme and setting up a false dichotomy.

      • Alma Peregrina

        “The hammer and sickle will never represent anything…”

        The hammer and the sickle are also instruments that lots of good fellows, including catholics, use to be sanctified through work.

        I think it’s much harder to sanctify the symbolism of an instrument of torture than instruments of honest work, don’t you think?

  • AquinasMan

    I would find this more believable a perspective if the Holy Father turned around and sacked every single one of his “handlers” for 1) Not vetting what gifts would be presented to him by a known communist sympathizer, 2) Not informing the pope that the man he publicly honored and essentially declared a martyr that same day was the same person who designed said blasphemous crucifix, 3) Arranging a photo op and comments of praise with a whack job who gives introductory speeches in Che Guevera jackets. So either the pope knows nothing and relies on malignant handlers who place him in these beleaguered situations, over and over again, or he really likes the cut of their jib. Which is it? I hope it’s the former.

    • Matt

      – So either the pope knows nothing and relies on malignant handlers who
      place him in these beleaguered situations, over and over again, or he
      really likes the cut of their jib. –

      Wow! Those are the only two options for this situation? You’re ridiculous.

      • AquinasMan

        What’s the middle option? How many times does it take a responsible world leader — you know, the Vicar of Christ — to get “burned” before it never happens again? Once? Twice? Who’s being ridiculous? How would you characterize the never-ending, cringe-inducing stream of events in this pontificate? “Worst luck ever”?

        • chezami

          It’s only never-ending for people who are looking for reasons to be offended at him.

        • Alma Peregrina

          “How would you characterize the never-ending, cringe-inducing stream of events in this pontificate?”

          I would characterize it as media sensationalism that in its superficiality, doesn’t know and doesn’t care about the real message our Pope is trying to convey, so it forges all these “burns” of situations that are easily explainable.

          Oh wait… I’m sorry, I am a little slow. I forgot we’re not on Benedict XVI’s pontificate, but on Francis’.

          Then, of course, I characterize it as the pope being a secret communist, bent on destroying the Church, of course.

        • Obviously you find it hard to understand, that most nations on earth maintain good relations with communist leaders. E.g. the Vatican with Castro’s Cuba… There is nothing scary about them to rational people.

          What IS scary is when America starts wars in the name of “freedom”.

      • Marthe Lépine

        I really don’t like the use of the word “handlers” when referring to the people who work with Pope Francis. Maybe this term correctly applies to some politicians, but I am certain that Pope Francis would not “submit” easily to that kind of advice. He does not even follow his own written speeches…

    • Jamesthelast

      You don’t know how these things work. One state doesn’t vet the gifts of a another state beforehand.

      Also, St John Paul II had pictures with a dictator when he visited Chile. So relax, this isn’t that big of a deal.
      Also, I don’t think the problem here is with the crucifix (not that I’m saying the crucifix is well designed, I think it’s poorly designed), because it seems to show Jesus being killed by communism, not that Jesus is supporting it.

  • Andrew Attaway

    It’s time to stop pretending that all the many “Huh?” moments of this
    pontificate are the fault of the media or are ginned up by a howling mob
    of reactionary nutters. The pope swims in the media sea like a
    barracuda. He thrives on the attention and knows exactly what he’s
    doing–for better or worse.

    • chezami

      The Inquisition is convened!

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        The Inquisition allowed a defense attorney. These don’t want to hear any defense of him at all.

    • Alma Peregrina

      Lead the way, Andrew Attaway! I didn’t need a Church anyway!

  • tj.nelson

    See why I like you! You and Kandra are the best – the reason I come to Patheos – oh – LarryD too.

    Anyway – great post!

  • ivan_the_mad

    It is scandalous that Catholics are so eager to both contemn and condemn Peter.

  • Diane Kamer

    I’m dealing with this right now in my Facebook Feed. The self-appointed inquisitors are on a rampage. Mama Mia.

  • Dave G.

    Here’s my thing. I watched the clip. I didn’t see some great joy in a Communist symbol, where the Pope was ready to declare a new icon for the Church. But I didn’t see him give some flagrant WTF expression either. I saw him simply accept something, look at it, and hand it back. Like anyone in that position in a diplomatic setting would do. It was rather neutral. The fact that people have already staked claims on one or the other interpretation of what the Pope’s reactions were, when they didn’t seem anything other than ‘typical’, shows what happens when we move from simply watching the news to trying to attack or defend established views. People who don’t like him aren’t going to. That’s true as it was for Benedict and John Paul II (who were disliked by a different set of people in the Church just as passionately). Likewise, those who have declared Pope Francis the greatest thing since God decided to exist will likely maintain that view, no matter what he might do or say. At the end, like Ross Douthat said, we won’t really know what the Pope did and the results of his leadership until well after he has wrapped things up. Then would probably be the best time to step back and look at everything and see what it meant. In the meantime, simply listen, follow, and pray.

    • Artevelde

      That’s a very restrained and calm post, and most likely the best description of what happened. I’m not a huge fan of the Facebook-style appreciation of any Pope, but when pressed I’ll push the ”like” button for all three popes you mention. We can do a little more than step back and wait though. I believe there are some clear pointers as to what this Pope is trying to achieve, and almost all of it points to ecclesiology. He is changing the Papacy and the Curia. Slightly weird Bolivian presidents who like Karl Marx and Pachamama, the Mother Goddess of the Andes, have little to to with that. The heirs of Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV, who called the Curia the ”papal court” during Vaticanum II, have everything to do with it.

  • wlinden

    Something I find helpful is to ask, what if X had done the opposite of what bothers you?

    So, what if the Pope had made a scene, thrown the object in the giver’s face, etc? I suspect that the Francis-baiters would be denouncing him for THAT.

  • I tend to agree with those who see the cross as a symbol of the power of the state to inflict suffering and death. If you want to see it as the tree of life and/or Christ’s sacrifice, that’s fine, but it’s your own metaphor.

    The cross is no more than an iron age version of the electric generator with attachable electrodes. We don’t worship the cross but the One who is fixed to it.

    • Cypressclimber

      If you want to see it as the tree of life and/or Christ’s sacrifice, that’s fine, but it’s your own metaphor.

      While I like your overall point, I think you are pressing this point too strongly. The Cross as the Tree of Life has quite a bit more behind it than just the personal “metaphor” of some people reading comments on this site. And that being true doesn’t negate your other points.

      • I have nothing against seeing the Cross as the Tree of Life.

        it’s just that when I look at it I see someone having the stuffing beaten out of him in a police dungeon.

        Adam and Eve never got to touch the ur Tree of Life. Thank God.

        • Cypressclimber

          My point is, the understanding of the Cross as the Tree of Life is pretty well developed, over many centuries, in the writings and reflections of saints and, I think, Fathers of the Church; also artwork; also prayers of the Church. And for good reason: it works from fairly impressive textual support throughout the Bible.

          The Cross is the Tree of Knowledge/”Tree of Death” transformed or united with the Tree of Life. How else to understand the “Paradise Tree” from the German Middle Ages — erected on Dec. 24, as part of a “mystery play,” telling the story of Adam and Eve, and decorated with both fruit (apples) and discs of bread? And, if you’re wondering, yes–this is the origin of our Christmas Tree.

          You might even say — and I would say — that Adam and Eve did, indeed, get to touch the Tree of Life: when Jesus descended into hell on Holy Saturday.

          • Nothing against it.

            Apparently, the figure, allusion, moves you more than it moves me.

            Nothing wrong about that.

            This is a poem from my new book

            Three line stanzas:

            THE ELEVATION

            Behold the
            Elevation of the Host

            A prologue
            and a little preparation

            To bring
            the festal dinner of the blessed

            Lovers at
            the banquet who will feast

            Upon the
            open glory of the mighty One

            celebration that will never cease

            But one who
            sat at table rose and said

            What about
            the little ones on Earth

            Abused and
            broken, love-starved and so seldom fed

            The voice
            was not a low and cringing treble

            But rose
            above the singing of the psalms

            Nor was the
            questioner a probing devil

            And then
            for many moments there was kept

            silence as the Glory showed His face

            That was
            the battered Crucified, He wept

            And then
            the vision faded and I thought

            My Christ I
            cannot bear it yet You did

            Such agony
            of pity that You sought

            • Cypressclimber

              That’s beautiful, thanks for sharing it.

              • Thank you. The book is called So Tell Us, Christ, and it’s on Amazon.

  • Alma Peregrina

    @ivan_the_mad:disqus … Betty does have a point there.

  • Alma Peregrina

    I’m so glad that the LGBT lobby had so many qualms about turning a judeo-christian symbol of the noahidic covenant into the flag of their movement. Instead they used the rainbow. Now, we will never be able to sanctify that!

  • Re_Actor
  • Athelstane

    I do wonder if the blog host would have shrugged off offering of the replica of Fr. Espinal’s art project if it had been, say, a swastika instead of a hammer and sickle. And if not – why not.

    • A potentially difficulty there is the swastika is part of some indigenous cultures and can even be found in pre-Nazi Christian, I think Catholic even, churches. So if a Bolivian gave him a swastika he could say how it’s a symbol of the Sun and I’ve heard of Christ analogized as the Sun on EWTN.

      • Athelstane

        Yes, but these Bolivians were not working with ancient understandings of these symbols – Fr. Espinal and Evo Morales were/are Marxists by any definition, and their understanding of this symbol is certainly Marxist.

        The meaning of symbols can change over time, and depend on the receiver. If that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t be ripping down confederate flags from every precinct on the fruited plain this summer.

        • Morales is trading in Marxists symbols, to taunt the world system. It is very unoriginal and even outmoded, but he is right– we have a crappy system.

          You think the world system is what Jesus would have wanted?

          • Athelstane

            What I think, and more importantly what the Church has said, with dogmatic authority, is that what Jesus would not have wanted is any flavor or version of Marxism. See Nostis et Nobiscum, Quod Apostolici Muneris, Divini Redemptoris, Quadragesimo Anno…well, the list goes on and on.

            The fact that there are manifold injustices in many Latin American polities cannot justify flirtations, let alone the effusive embrace, by some Latin American clergy and theologians, especially the Jesuits, of Marxism. Dialogue with workers, absolutely; dialogue with Marxism, never. Fr. Espinal’s murder deserves fulsome condemnation, but his ministry was of the sort so amply documented and condemned in Malachi Martin’s book on the Society. I’m rather surprised that Martin didn’t give Espinal an entire chapter. Marx is never the answer. Only Jesus is.

            • You are failing to grasp that much of Marx’s philosophy, which is not much more than a critique of capitalism and a prediction of its demise (during the life of Marx that is), is not incompatible with the Word of our Lord. I see you have not read Marx, and just get the TV news…

              • Re_Actor

                Much the same could be said for this, no?

                • No there are no imperial ambitions in Marx. In that sense, most Americans are more against Jesus than Marx, although Marx was an atheist!

                  In Das Kapital, Marx greatly admired capitalism, which he accurately characterized as a godless freewheeling system always moving in any random direction except staying still, and decimating all tradition in its path. It was this state of perpetual revolution, overriding a 1000-year-old system in the space of 100 years, that he admired… Of course he thought it would become untenable for the working class, but underestimated its ability to adapt, and co-opt…

                  • Athelstane

                    Marx’s opinion of the Church was certainly not in dispute, and it had no place other than up against the wall in his theory. Consider – to take but one example – his comments on the repression of the Church during the Paris Commune, including the martyrdom of priests (including the Archbishop of Paris): “Having once got rid of the standing army and the police – the physical force elements of the old government – the Commune was anxious to break the spiritual force of repression, the “parson-power”, by the disestablishment and disendowment of all churches as proprietary bodies. The priests were sent back to the recesses of private life, there to feed upon the alms of the faithful in imitation of their predecessors, the apostles.” (The Civil War in France, 1871)

                    • Yes, he was glad that Church and nobility were vanquished by rational systems. E.g. he admired capitalism, but was just opining about how it would end. Again, it is only his critique of capitalism that was spot-on…

                      That Marx was a materialist and an atheist and took the wind out of Pope Gregory’s and others’ moral reforms, is a tragedy that we live with until the present day.

                  • Re_Actor

                    I was merely pointing out that if, as you say, “much of Marx’s philosophy … is not incompatible with the Word of our Lord”, the same could be said of much of Mussolini’s philosophy.

                    And hostility to capitalism’s deracinated amorality is common to Communism and Fascism, as it is to radical Catholicism and radical-traditionalist Catholicism.

                    • Indeed– and Il Duce had the community spirit, after all.

                      Sadly, his is the disastrous history we ultimately get compared to, whenever we speak of re-infusing “traditional values” back into the public sphere and economics.

                    • Re_Actor

                      Il Duce had the community spirit, after all

                      A veritable faith community!

                      Sadly, his is the disastrous history we ultimately get compared to, whenever we speak of re-infusing “traditional values” back into the public sphere and economics.

                      Perhaps one could say Fascism’s error was to try to fight the Revolution using the Revolution’s own methods. As Mussolini/Gentile put it: “The Fascist negation of socialism, democracy, liberalism, should not, however, be interpreted as implying a desire to drive the world backwards to positions occupied prior to 1789, a year commonly referred to as that which opened the demo-liberal century. History does not travel backwards. The Fascist doctrine has not taken De Maistre as its prophet. Monarchical absolutism is of the past, and so is ecclesiolatry.”

                      By contrast, Maistre: ““What is needed is not a revolution in the opposite direction, but the opposite of a revolution.”

                    • Yes, Maistre sounds wise: capitalism/ meritocracy is perpetual revolution for the sake of revolution, if other community associations are dissolved as well… of course, this is evident now, but I am at fault as much as anyone else, for embracing Austrian-School libertarianism in my youth!

                      P.S. Indeed it is the fact that the majority of Catholics in Europe were emotionally invested in the “third way” of Fascism. This is why the Church was so chastened and disoriented following the war. So WW2 was the demarcation of decline in the West, much more so than Second Council.

                      In America it was wholly different of course. We profited from the war and could “afford” vibrant Church communities, which were relatively strong going into the Council. This was of course a prosperity we then squandered in the fields of Vietnam and in the hopes for the Great Society, removing the prosperity which had upheld our community. Together with the “women’s lib” and “sexual lib” movements (inducting women into the new “service economy”), and finally the new “Young Urban Professionals” materialism starting with Reagan, all of these forces were much more responsible for US Church decline, than the elderly men promulgating an outreach program from the Council, giving us the vernacular Mass!

                    • Re_Actor

                      the majority of Catholics in Europe were emotionally invested in the “third way” of Fascism. This is why the Church was so chastened and disoriented following the war.

                      And upthread:

                      Sadly, [Mussolini’s] is the disastrous history we ultimately get compared to, whenever we speak of re-infusing “traditional values” back into the public sphere and economics.

                      Isn’t that all the more reason to beware of embracing or flirting with Communist leaders or, worse, Communist symbols merely because they stand in superficial opposition to capitalist modernity? Should the Holy Roman Catholic Church really be looking for ideological allies on an ‘enemy of my enemy’ basis? If Bolivia is OK because it is supposedly “a pole of activity to resist the world system”, why not militant Mohammedanism?

                      all of these forces were much more responsible for US Church decline, than the elderly men promulgating an outreach program from the Council, giving us the vernacular Mass!

                      The question is surely whether a benignly appreciative outreach programme and banalised liturgy undermined the Church’s effectiveness in resisting those forces.

                    • Well, at the same time and the part you don’t see when you think he is acting as a politician only, is he is re-establishing the faith among disenfranchised who might otherwise grasp at only the political and violent measures. He is tempering them and enlisting them to the cause of our Lord, not all of course, but certainly a source for good. After all, many poor do not want riches that one might think as we do, is fulfilled through houses and electronics and automobiles and walk-in freezers. They might naturally just want a small plot for their family, and to live simply. That is Christian to begin with, but then it is easy for them to watch their TV’s and listen to heavy metal, and take on envy and rage and spite and worse. And drink heavily– so the only ones who then suffer, are their neighbors. If they can think of Jesus again, then the revolutionaries who you worry about, are stopped in their paths. And so is everyday, senseless crime and violence.

                      So basically, communism is dead and there is no replacement. Subsidiarity, with devolution to smaller states and “localism” would be a fine world system, or shall I say, lack thereof?… So, Francis is not fanning any flames of revolution and war, he is smothering such flames. Too bad there was no Francis during the Great Depression, instead Pius took the anti-Communist route and helped build up Fascists… the difference being that Germany and Italy were Fascist already, while presently no major powers are communist. Now as back then, it is any “major power” itself, that needs to be subdued.

              • Athelstane

                All of Marx’s works were put on the Index, you know.

                • You had better correct the Wikipedia, which states “Some authors whose views are generally unacceptable to the Church (e.g. Karl Marx or Adolf Hitler) were never put on the Index; nor was Charles Darwin.”


                  • Athelstane

                    Marx appeared in local editions of the Index; more to the point, we have explicit condemnations of him by name, such as in Divini Redemptoris: “The doctrine of modern Communism, which is often concealed under the most seductive trappings, is in substance based on the principles of dialectical and historical materialism previously advocated by Marx, of which the theoricians of bolshevism claim to possess the only genuine interpretation. According to this doctrine there is in the world only one reality, matter, the blind forces of which evolve into plant, animal and man. Even human society is nothing but a phenomenon and form of matter, evolving in the same way. By a law of inexorable necessity and through a perpetual conflict of forces, matter moves towards the final synthesis of a classless society. In such a doctrine, as is evident, there is no room for the idea of God; there is no difference between matter and spirit, between soul and body; there is neither survival of the soul after death nor any hope in a future life.”

                    • Yes he was an utter materialist, and atheist. I am just saying that you can accept his critiques, without carrying out his entire philosophy including the tainted conclusions.

            • Show me where the dogma uses the term Marxist or Marxism, rather than say, communism? I think you are superimposing your own terminology.

              • Athelstane

                Same thing, Thomas. Same thing. It’s pure sophistry to suggest otherwise. I’m astounded that you’re…actually trying to defend Marx.

                The hammer and sickle weren’t invented by Karl Marx, in any case. It was created during the Russian Revolution.

                • He was a materialist and an atheist, but the misunderstandings are first that he made a call to arms, and second, that he hated what capitalism had done, to “advance” mankind. He admired capitalism for its lack of morality!

                  The upvote is for reminding that hammer-and-sickle is actually from Vladimir Lenin e.g. Soviet…. now you are onto the evil part!!

          • Marthe Lépine

            In that same article I have been quoting extensively from, the Pope seemed to have a better opinion about Morales than most of the commenters here: Pope Francis said that he would normally not accept the 2 honours (with medals) he had been given by Morales; “it’s just not for
            me,” he said. But Morales had given them to the Pope with “such
            goodwill” and such obvious pleasure at doing something he thought would
            please the Pope that the Pope said he could not refuse.” Maybe we should trust the Pope’s judgement, and charity, about people, particularly if those people are from the part of the world the Pope knows best, and refrain from making such rash judgements ourselves. Unless of course we have received the very special gift of being able to read people’s minds (including Pope Francis’) from a distance and based only on the media’s interpretations…

            • The Pope 1. Was taken aback by the gauche “Soviet crucifix”, and I am sure thinking too that somebody needed to catechize Morales 2. Even upon learning about Espinal and his followers e.g. the back story, worried about this symbol and embracing it on a global stage.

              At same time Bolivia was chosen for a visit because it is a pole of activity to resist the world system, and here was the main event where Francis states “THIS SYSTEM RUN COUNTER TO THE PLAN OF JESUS”:


        • Marthe Lépine

          Again, still quoting the above-mentioned article: “It was four years after the Jesuit’s murder that the Congregation for
          the Doctrine of the Faith said plainly that Marxist theory had no place
          in a Catholic theology, the Pope pointed out.”
          So you cannot really fault fr. Espinal for his having been “among the Latin American theologians in the late 1970s who found
          Marxist political, social and economic analysis helpful for
          understanding their countries and their people’s struggles and (for having) also used Marxist theories in his theology.” It seemed to him to have been a good idea at the time, and we cannot make judgements “in absentia” about what his reaction would have been… And, by the way, it is now quite widely recognized that Marx’s analysis was quite correct; the problems came from his conclusions and the theories he proposed based on his analysis.

          • ManyMoreSpices

            that Marx’s analysis was quite correct; the problems came from his conclusions and the theories he proposed based on his analysis.

            If his analysis was not just correct, but quite correct, how could his conclusions have been wrong?

  • Embajador en el Infierno

    Dear Mark,

    having been a very long time reader of your blog and having put up with not a small number of stupid things with a smile for the sake of the many intelligent things you wrote, I was not surprised that you would give a positive spin to the hammer and sickle episode.

    What I did not expect is that you found it risible. I am afraid that that did it, and I write to say goodbye.

    Half of my parental family was killed (shot by firing squad) under the aegis of that symbol back in the 30s. They were just doing their honest best to keep Spain catholic.

    You are an intelligent man and I am sure you have already thought about what your reaction would have been had the symbol not been quite the hammer and the sickle but other controversial elements of recent political history. You and I well know what your reaction would have been.

    That’s called intelectual dishonesty.

    When in such an obvious case you are being so blatantly dishonest intelectually, I start to have my doubts that you are not doing the same in other instances.

    That’s why I say goodbye.

    All the best.


    PS. Spanish is my mother tongue. The Pope definitely did not say “that’s not right”. He said “I did not know that”. It can be very clearly heard among the noise of the flashes. Claiming otherwise is misleading.

    • Shea is correct, anyone can see Francis did not like it, although he later was told how it was a reproduction of historic work by a priest named Espinal… Francis effectively returned the offering, devoting it to a Bolivian shrine, as explained in this article “Pope leaves decorative honours with the hammer and sickle in Bolivia”:


      • AquinasMan


      • Embajador en el Infierno

        Well, do read the Pope’s declaration on the plane back home. He surely was not disturbed by the blasphemous symbol in the least.

        Not good news.

        • I did read it–

          No, he was instinctively disturbed but decided to listen and understand. Ever tried that yourself?

          • Peggy

            I read the Holy Father’s response on the plane. It was very disturbing. He has no problem affiliating himself with the Latin American liberation theology set. L.T. is just another word for Marxism. And this movement in Lat Am occurred well after Embajador’s family’s assassinations in 1930s Spain. Many missionaries to Lat Am bought into L.T. and marxism. Robert Ellsberg wrote a book of “saints” dominated by such types, indicating his own sympathies. It is sad that Catholic missionaries fell into this murderous falsehood.

            There were other interesting QA on the flight back. He admitted he hadn’t given much thought to working people who pay taxes, etc. His own distaste for and lack of understanding of economic things….Interesting insights into the man.

            God bless your family Embajador! May they see God’s face.

            • Spain was in civil war at the time, and both sides suffered horribly.

              Obviously you never noticed that the dictators who ran death squads with hundreds of thousands of “disappeared”, in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru etc, were right-wingers “fighting” communism? That includes tens of thousands of utopian longhairs chanting with impolite signs… executed without trial. Which Marxist-inspired governments in Latin America were murderers exactly? The answer is NONE, because you see they were all ELECTED, and never used coup-de-etats.

              • Peggy

                Yes, re: Spain. War is hell.

                I am familiar with the evils on both sides of the political spectrum in Lat Am. I have not commented on the entrenched despotic powers. Were they “right-wingers” fighting communism? No, they were the entrenched oligarchs who cared not a whit for the poor. I did not accuse any one in particular of murder. Communism has been an ideology of murder. Millions have been killed in the name of communism.

                Modern day economist Hernando de Soto has many ideas out there to help the poor–property rights and access to legal processes, which, for odd reasons are not available to the poor/native peoples. His ideas weren’t very popular. He was run out of Peru. Communism or liberation theology are not necessary to pursue to help the poor, but sadly many missionaries bought into those ideas, which I called murderous. Communism is not life giving or confirming. It is disconcerting that the Holy Father has rather willingly revived liberation theology, in contradiction to JP2 in particular who said it had no place in Christian faith. JP2 also knew a little something about communism.

                • There are no “entrenched despotic powers” when militaries overthrow elected governments in the name of warding off Marxism, and then launch campaigns of death, as happened in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. The Wikipedia is available for your perusal, you know… Of course in such cases the US was usually complicit… now we have the excuses of “terrorism” and “narco-terrorism” to fund the machines of death e.g. with Colombian, Panamanian, Salvadoran and other American-funded programs. Meanwhile those friendly governments getting the money, also open the door to US corporations for “development”, removing native peoples from lands and ruining the earth, calling the natives “unproductive”… this is the naked and far-reaching reality that we live in, and what the LT folks and our Holy Father are looking at now.

                  So you keep calling communism “murderous”, but all of the above is OK? It is simply un-Catholic to apologize or, really, IGNORE such events.

                  • Peggy

                    I never said either side was ok. I was responding to and speaking of the evil of communism. In and of itself communism is evil and murderous. I have never defended the oligarchs or military forces who have killed on the opposite side of those battles. I do not do so now. The poor had no champion in those battles. Sadly, many priests fell in with marxism as a possible alternative to the evils perpetrated by opposing forces. Are you saying those evil forces, whatever name you want to give them, excuse alliances with marxism?

                    • That is just nonsense, you are calling a label “in and of itself murderous”. People are murderous. Based on much better evidence, I could call right-wing governments in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil murderous… they actually were! Meanwhile, you still haven’t named any Latin American Marxist-inspired regimes who were murderous, you just keep regurgitating a generalization that becomes the LIE, used to JUSTIFY real murders, of the members of communist movements who were deemed as some sort of “threat”, including Saint Oscar (Romero), an ARCHBISHOP of our Church! You are justifying the treatment of LT people fighting for Jesus, as traitorous communists. Well, LT does not equal “murderous communism”– try to find some discernment in your life!

                      Let me help: there was only one communist insurgency in South American that was “murderous” and actually deserved such vicious counter-attacks, and that was the Senderoso Luminoso in Peru. They had nothing to do however, with LT!

                    • Peggy

                      I have not justified either evil side in the Latin Am battles. I have not supported the murder of Romero, for gosh sake. I don’t really have a single word to describe the opposing forces against communism in Lat Am. Those powers did not care for the poor either. And yes, they killed too.

                      Where do you get this craziness? What is wrong with you? Communists are evil people, period. Communism is evil, period. I have not limited myself to Latin Am communists. From Marx on down communism and its practioners have been evil. I have no idea where you are coming from. None of the communist guerillas in Lat Am murdered any one? Is that what you’re saying? I don’t have any tally of deaths, by the way, for either side, so I can’t give you any precise scale of comparative evil. But both killed innocents.

                    • Now you are saying that anyone who considers themselves a communist is evil, but guess what, that includes a lot of people who are closer to God than you or I! That includes the LT people, for example, and many priests… That kind of blanket finger-pointing, all the left-right nonsense you are holding dear, that is what is really evil. Or rather, abetting evil, because actually it is the evil people of the world, the manipulators of men for material gain, for loss of life, who want you to believe in such nonsense. But at the same time, they believe in nothing.

                      The maximum efficiency of neoliberalism controls the world, and all that left-right nonsense was short-circuited by those powers, men who cross national boundaries and have no loyalty to any nation, a full generation ago.

                    • Peggy

                      You’re nuts. Communism has been condemned by the Church. JP2 condemned LT. I would say that many priests serving in Lat Am were foolish in siding with marxists. I don’t know how much they understood they were buying into. That does not make them evil. But those who knowingly advocate communism, yes, are evil.

                      I have read Marx. He did diagnose correctly some problems of rights of the worker and globalism, but he was downright against the Church and was bizarre on many other matters.

                      We can discuss the evils of the ‘right’ of the political spectrum another day. That is not the topic now.

                    • Well let’s see– you started off with “communism is murderous” and now you have tempered a bit to “all communists are evil”.

                      You need to learn that people’s status as good or evil is not tied up with their political philosophy, and is not for us to judge. You are propagating the kind of “demonization” that encourages people to kill in cold blood, and that IS evil. Good day.

                    • Peggy

                      You seem to lack clear thinking. Communism is evil; those who promote it and act upon it are evil as well. What’s so hard? Communism is a political and economic philosophy and form of government which is evil. Were you born after the Berlin Wall came down?

                      So, people who have the idea of killing unborn babies and promote it, say, like Nancy Pelosi, are not evil? The idea of killing unborn babies is not evil? [Is Pelosi’s life now in danger b/c I typed this?] How about selling their “tissue” or body parts? Are those ideas evil? Or without moral value either way?

                      Are you defending communism? Are you saying communism is good and morally defensible? Your comments are very strange.

                    • Jamesthelast

                      You can’t equate wrongness of one’s idea’s with the moral state of their soul Peggy. You can say “Communist ideas are evil,” not “all that hold communist ideas are automatically evil.”

                    • Re_Actor

                      Mr Mullally, if you have the time to spare I’d be interested in your opinion of this current of modern nationalism.

                    • Re_Actor
                    • OK, thanks… personally I disapprove of this outlook on several levels, and it is not a well-developed and cohesive philosophy… although there is a nice plug for distributism, guilds etc, and I like the boldness of rethinking property rights so there is more cooperative sharing outside of state control, but basically the rest is just warmed-over fascism.

                      First problem– there is a reluctance to bring Christ to the forefront, it speaks only of a spirituality. Overall I am not even detecting a Christian faithfulness, only a political philosophy that want to use “old-fashioned values” as a rallying cry.

                      Second there is an imperial ethic and global ambition implicit in its appeal, which is anathema (if I may) to my philosophy which is anti-imperial, and localized. Indeed I want people to start looking at the imperial ethic as a root problem WITHIN the US, and call for people to just live more and work less. And, speaking of life…

                      Where is Life? This author neglects life issues, and has no critique of biotech, nor any other technology… these are big, glaring gaps for me… I believe that if there is any need for collective and coercive action, it is to stop the march of pervasive, subversive, destructive technologies. AND, the author said something about building a better and stronger mankind? No this sounds like the purity/eugenics ethos, which is what we have to resist. Maybe the author SEES PROMISE in biotech?

                      As for racism, it gets even worse– the author conflates ethnicity with race. Now I want to preserve true humanity– cultures, languages etc, against the onslaught of uniformity and making of a “new human”, and yes, people who speak the same language do belong in the same political unit! But those concepts have nothing to do with “race” which is actually a concept built on the false science of the Enlightenment and used as a way to stratify society (within a meritocratic context), owning slaves, etc. E.g. if we are 7 billion souls all capable of inter-breeding, that shows you there is only one human race.

                      Finally to speak of “degeneracy” is as onerous as speaking of “races” and “resettlements”. The author wants to bring about morality and justice by force of law…

                      No, I want no violence or coercion, I want less dictate of law, and more dictate of conscience, which will only come when we lead people back to Jesus.

              • Athelstane

                Well, the Sandinistas, for one, came to power through revolution, not election. They later staged an election boycotted by most of the opposition.

                • The Sandinistas for one and only, plus Cuba… Yet neither had death squads to eliminate opposition. Still a thumbs up, because you know almost as soon as I posted that claim, I remembered about Nicaragua!

                  The record is much more respect for Jesus, life, and even democracy, in Latin American communism compared to its right-wing opposite, where Peggy claimed that LT and communism were “murderous”. Just a boldfaced LIE… Even Hugo Chavez preserved democracy and did not murder opposition. Castro murdered opposition? The Sandinistas murdered opposition? I just don’t know who she is talking about, it is the LT/ Communists who GET MURDERED, such as even an Archbishop, namely Saint Oscar (Romero).

              • ManyMoreSpices

                Which Marxist-inspired governments in Latin America were murderers exactly? The answer is NONE


                You’re joking, right?

                • Oh yeah? You can save the smoke for your blowhard lungs…

                  It is the LT/ communists, who GET MURDERED by death squads and get DISAPPEARED. But when they get in power there are NO death squads, and even guys like Ortega and Chavez maintain a semblance of democracy. Even St. Oscar (Romero) was not spared, an ARCHBISHOP!

                  We were speaking about LATIN AMERICA, you see…

            • Embajador en el Infierno

              Many thanks Peggy.

          • Embajador en el Infierno

            No, you are totally wrong.

            He was not disturbed and he said so in the plane back home.

            Oh! and please spare us the tired patronising cliche question. Thanks.

    • anna lisa


      Didn’t you see our Pope’s face? The man was being tortured. What choice did he have? –To humiliate a son is to bring him back and dump him at the mouth of the cave he has been hiding out in.

      Francis looked like a lamb for the slaughter.

      He didn’t bring his “gift” home, did he? He left it at a shrine like people leave painful, shoddy, crutches at Lourdes.

      • Marthe Lépine

        See my reply above. Actually, he did take it home. However, he put some medals of honour he was also given “at the feet of a statue of Mary and asked that they be
        transferred to the national shrine of Our Lady of Copacabana.”

    • Marthe Lépine

      Pope Francis was asked about this on his return flight. Please go and see: http://www.catholicregister.org/home/international/item/20568-pope-says-he-ll-read-critiques-of-his-economic-thought-before-u-s-trip
      He said, among other things: (that) “the crucifix surprised him. (and) “I hadn’t known that Fr. Espinal was a sculptor and a poet, too. I just learned that these past few days”. The crucifix, the Pope said, obviously fits into the category of “protest art,” which some people may find offensive, although he said he did not. “I’m talking it home with me,” Pope Francis said.

      • anna lisa

        Marthe, that’s interesting, thanks. I guess I’m going to have to look up what Fr. Espinal believed in. If he believed communism would save the people after everything that symbol came to represent, I’m going to feel disappointed that Pope Francis didn’t say more than something about “protest art”.

        • Embajador en el Infierno

          I know what Fr. Espinal believed in, and I am sure you are not going to like it.

          After you do your research I hope you will understand my position. The whole hammer and sickle episode really is a very bad nightmare come true.

          • anna lisa

            I’ve been rolling it around in my mind. Pope Francis had a stricken look on his face. He seemed surprised, and extremely ill at ease. I contrast that to how he was even smiling and seemed to be joking with president Obama…I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this episode yet. There is more to it.

            I’m so, so sorry what happened to your family. There is nothing in the world that can explain or justify that.

            My husband’s aunt was murdered in cold blood by guerrillas in the palace of justice in Bogota. Many years before, the communists confiscated most of his grandfather’s land and mineral mines.

            One thing I do understand is how the Pope must feel about how the wealthy have treated the poor in South America. I was shocked by this when I first went there as a teenager to learn Spanish. I had never seen such subservience, and I’d never seen supposedly Catholic people treat their servants like second class citizens, so blatantly. It really shook me up the way they were ordered around as if they’d come into this word to be nothing more.

            • Embajador en el Infierno

              I totally sympathise with your feelings regarding the treatment of poor servant people in South America by their supposedly Catholic masters. And I do expect the Church to speak forcefully against this.

              The hammer and sickle are a totally different ball game, though.

          • Jamesthelast

            What nightmare? Has the Church ceased being the Church Christ founded?

      • Embajador en el Infierno

        That’s the worrying bit, that he did not find it offensive.

        The symbol of the largest and bloodiest persecution of Christians in history is not found offensive by the Pope.

        It is a satanic symbol, is it not?.

        • Jamesthelast

          I have problem with the logic in saying that the hammer and sickle crucifix is offensive solely because many were killed by that ideology. Does the cross not mean the same thing? Jesus himself was killed on a cross.

          • Embajador en el Infierno

            Yes, you do have a big problem indeed. Go talk to a priest. Urgently.

            • Jamesthelast

              I classified my language a bit. I think you’re worried about the crucifix in question being a symbol showing that Jesus is blessing communism? Because that’s not what I get out of it. You’re worrying far too much about this.

              • Embajador en el Infierno

                I don’t think so.

    • Na

      Embajador, I am sorry to hear your story and am grateful for the graceful manner in which you expressed your opinion.

      With all due respect to the Pope and his supporters in the US, in my opinion, they are engaged in a grave error where they have decided to be “pastoral” with a certain groups that have been hateful towards traditional Christianity and demean those seen as too appreciative.

      How many 100s of millions have been killed or enslaved due to communism and the Pope doesn’t feel a need to say a word? And yet when he was first installed there was a group of people that committed themselves to pray for him and provide him with a spiritual bouquet. And the Pope actually publicly mocked them??? I don’t pray. And I certainty don’t organize my prayer with other people. But I was also raised to honor people who admit weakness and to respect people with sincerely held beliefs.

      For whatever reason, the Pope felt a need to mock these people. To me, that was a huge red flag. There was no need for it. I am sure the Pope is a decent guy but he seems to think that the entire world is exactly the same as Argentina.

      Jesus came to save individual human people not preferred political groups. Perhaps the Pope is so scared by how the poor are treated in Latin America. I know I was shocked by how one of my college friends completely ignored certain people.