Pope Francis

When asked at the Italian Bishops’ Conference whether gay men should be allowed to train for the priesthood if they remain celibate, Pope Francis responded that they should not.

 Pope Francis

He is then believed to have continued by saying in Italian that there is already too much of an air of “frociaggine” in the Church, which translates as a highly offensive slur.

 

First of all, why is the secular world so amazed by what might have happened? Is this “secular sin” considered so severe that even an allegation like this is deemed newsworthy by the BBC? It seems so shocking to them that they couldn’t even translate the term, choosing instead to refer to it merely as a “highly offensive slur.”

Does this imply that their idol, Moloch, has been offended? Or perhaps it’s their idol of money that has been affronted? Or is it the cult of man and the triumph of his will (“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”)? Understanding the BBC’s motives is not my aim, but I did find their response quite peculiar.

 Pope Francis

But for Catholics, who cares? Popes come and Popes go. Some Popes say this, some Popes say that. As for you, says the Lord, follow me (Jn. xxi. 22). Catholic Sat had this to say:  Pope Francis

 

For me, not being a native Italian speaker, I asked a few friends what this term “frociaggine” even means. How bad is it, really? One Italian friend summarized it like this: “It’s typical of someone who is gross and certainly doesn’t know his good manners.”

 

My Italian, Anglo-Canadian friend Kennedy Hall (another contributing editor, by the way), had this to say: “It’s not that bad. Another word that is used more often is ‘finocchio,’ which technically means fennel, but everyone calls everything finocchio, at least in Tuscany.” Kennedy also speaks Spanish, and he pointed this out to me:  Pope Francis

 

It’s like saying “fag,” but in Italy, saying “fag” is like saying homo or ‘fairy.’ I mean, they don’t care as much there. Swear words are sort of subjective. In Spanish, lots of swear words aren’t really bad unless said in anger, depending on the context.

 

That’s interesting to me because certainly in the Anglophone world, and especially in the United States, the worst forms of vulgarity or profanity can never be uttered by anyone in public without grave offense. Is this the highest form of profanity to the BBC? If so, then their idol is certainly Moloch.

 

As Sammons said, no red-blooded Catholic can disagree with what seems to have been said by the Holy Father, but did he cross the line with vulgarity? The sin of sodomy is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance. That means that heaven and earth react with revulsion. “Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and ye gates thereof, be very desolate” (Jeremiah 2:12). Thus, we should feel this revulsion at this and other such sins, which seems to call for certain words that are themselves disgusting.

 

We are dealing with a serious crisis in the Church, and unless the Pope and bishops finally clean it up, God Almighty may indeed send fire from heaven to cleanse the filth. Pope Francis, as Henry Sire has argued, seems to be a “Dictator Pope,” who says contradictory things to different groups in order to gain dominance over each. His idol appears to be money and power, and he seems willing to say anything to achieve his goals.  Pope Francis

 

At the same time, the Holy Spirit in the New Testament speaks against vulgarity and profanity: “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). It is unbecoming for a Christian to use filthy language, which causes those who hear it to feel revulsion from the words themselves. This is part of the virtue of modesty in speech (Summa Theologica, II-II q168).

 

But as Hall notes, vulgarity in different languages is very subjective. Even in English, certain words are acceptable in different contexts, and some practicing Catholics use terms like “hell” and “damn” and even “son of a bitch” and “shit” freely. I take a stricter view on the moral question here than some, and I teach my children to never say these words casually, but I have to admit that there’s a dubium in the moral tradition and no definitive answers, to my knowledge. (I’ve published articles that use “hell” and “damn” like this, but never the latter words.) Still, it would seem to me that the more excellent way (I Cor. xii. 31) is to avoid them completely.  Pope Francis

 

Finally, we must not forget that the Sacred Heart of Jesus shed His Precious Blood to save every soul afflicted by same-sex attraction, whether they are struggling against this sin or have succumbed to the deception of Satan and are now planning an idolatrous parade to blaspheme Sacred Heart Month. As the Blessed Apostle says, “if meat scandalize my brother, I will never eat flesh, lest I should scandalize my brother” (1 Cor. viii. 13).  Pope Francis

Therefore, even if you’re not sinning by using the term “faggotry,” why would you choose to use a word that might cause scandal to anyone? Scandal, as St. Thomas Aquinas explains, means to create the occasion for your neighbor’s spiritual downfall. The lie peddled by certain figures is that “the Church” has persecuted these souls and hates these people who self-identify with their own sin and call themselves “gay.” Using such a term communicates to them that this lie is true.

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