|(Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)|
What the hell is going on in this picture?
Bolivian President Evo Morales is handing a crucifix in the form of a hammer and sickle to a smiling Pope Francis, that's what.
Could we be any further down the rabbit hole?
Let the amelioration begin.
And so it has:
The German-language Katholisches Medienzentrum is reporting that Pope Francis' initial reaction was "skeptical", but softened once the history behind the bizarre symbol - which also graced the neck-bling given to him moments before - was explained to him. You see, gentle reader, this symbol was very dear to Fr. Luis Espinal, S.J., a Spanish-born Bolivian Jesuit who vociferously promoted a synthesis of Marxism and Catholicism - so vociferously, in fact, that the Bolivian government had him arrested and executed as a political agitator. Never mind that Pope John Paul II denounced the movement as irreconcilable with the Christian conception of man. Never mind that Evo Morales has declared himself a Marxist and a Communist, and has undertaken drastic steps to isolate the Catholic Church - the traditional foe of Communism - in Bolivia. We're dealing with someone who
exploited was very close to the poor in order to bring them to the brink of a Socialist revolution the message of the Gospel. Yes, yes, I know it looks like the symbol of the most murderous socio-political theory ever to be vomited upon the earth, but appearances can be deceiving: it's a symbol of liberation and love.
Welcome to Room 101.
Welcome to Room 101.
The amelioration continues:
RomeReports has come out with a partial transcript - consisting of one short statement - of the meeting between President Evo Morales and Pope Francis. The statement in question: "That's not right" - uttered by the Pope as Morales began explaining what the symbol meant.
First, I'd like to read a complete transcript of the exchange.
Second, I'd like to know why, if the Pope knows not only what the sculpture symbolizes but also that it's "not right," does he proceed to smile and accept the hideous thing before the flash of a hundred cameras? If it's wrong, refuse it. Don't give the socialists of the world the very thing they want: a picture of the Catholic Pope accepting a symbol of the perversion of Christianity with a silly grin on his face.
And we thought "Who am I to judge?" was bad. This picture should never have happened, regardless of what the Pope intended to express by accepting the 'gift'.
The spin on this story has reached full throttle:
Catholic World News is reporting that Pope Francis "rebuked" President Morales for his gift of the hammer and sickle 'crucifix'.
By smiling and accepting the gift.
Harsh, Pope Francis. Harsh.
Meanwhile, Catholic News Agency is in full damage-control mode:
#PopeFrancis reacts to controversial gift of a crucifix in shape of a hammer&sickel. Translation: "That is not good" https://t.co/BCeCa0GMqI— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) 9. Juli 2015
Who knows? Given the impressive size of that font and the gnat-sized attention span of the average viewer, they might actually be able to get the genie back in the bottle. The way things are looking, however, this seems to be shaping up into a battle of two captioned images:
In any event, when Jimmy Akin finds out about this, we will be sure to get 10 things to know and share about how there is absolutely nothing to see here.
Just when it seemed as though the fix was in: enter Holy See press officer Fr. Frederico Lombardi. According to the latest from Catholic News Agency, Fr. Lombardi commented on the encounter by opining that "Pope Francis' remark likely expressed a sentiment of 'I didn't know' ['No sabía eso'], rather than 'This is not right' ['Non está bien eso']."
How's that for setting the record straight?
On the up-side, it seems that at least one prelate recognized the utter depravity of the object. Bishop Jose Munilla Aguirre of San Sebastián tweeted:
El culmen de la soberbia es manipular a Dios al servicio de ideologías ateas... Hoy, una vez más: #CristoCrucificado pic.twitter.com/uLbPPQDAGj— Jose Ignacio Munilla (@ObispoMunilla) 9. Juli 2015
The height of arrogance is to manipulate God in the service of atheistic ideologies. Today, once again: #ChristCrucified.