28 April 2015


Two or three weeks ago, our beloved Holy Father set us another of his delicious brain-teasers! Better than a Sudoku, any day of the week! I don't know why the sourpusses criticise him: I can't get enough of the mind-games he sets us! Vivat Papa! In aeternum garriat!

Speaking about his Synod, he has recommended us to turn to prayer and to give up chatter/gossip ["chiacchiere"; is it onomatopoeic?].

EXEGESIS. (1) We should presume that, as so often over the last two years, the slang expression is intended to convey a criticism of someone.
(2) And it is almost invariably fellow clergy that the Sovereign Pontiff is taking a swipe at in his demotic cracks. But he always, intriguingly, leaves us this guessing-space: whom, precisely, is he criticising this time?
(3) So to whom does his term "chiacchiere" point? To Cardinal Marx, perhaps, whose scary near-schismatic ravings about ignoring the Universal Church and "not waiting for the Synod" would be enough to worry even the most laid-back of popes? This is my very much preferred hypothesis.
(4) Pope Francis cannot have in mind Cardinal Mueller, I think, because, in asserting orthodoxy His Eminence is simply doing what, given his job, he is supposed to do. You don't set the dogs on the postman when all he's trying to do is to deliver the post. This is my discarded hypothesis.
(5) But possibly he is thinking of Cardinal Cordes, Cardinal Koch, and other orthodox cardinals? Could it be that Papa Bergoglio and his intimates thought that they could start a ball rolling which would then gain its own momentum and triumphantly deliver the desired goods? And that now they are worried by the unexpectedly robust and extensive orthodox reaction which they have stirred up, and wish, at any cost, to try to stuff it all back into Pandora's box and shut everybody up? So as to gain time to work quietly on the Synod Fathers by that subtle combination of carrot and stick which back-room party-managers so love to deploy? This is my very much less preferred hypothesis ... less preferred because it would run directly contrary to the Parrhesia which the Holy Father has so often and so loudly and with such evident sincerity called for.

You tell me! Without any of your chiacchiere! Parrhesia Yes! Chiacchiere No!


Marcus, der mit dem C said...

Is this "chiacchiere" an epiphany of Cardinal Dean Sodano's "chiacchiericcio" on 4th of April 2010 in his adress to Pope Benedict XVI.?

Adrian said...

Chiacchiere, as any scolaro knows, are sweet fritters (also known as crostoli). No doubt His Holiness is anxious that the synod fathers avoid such artery-clogging fare. Besides, they'd only get icing sugar down their abiti piani.

GOR said...

I would like to think your “very much preferred hypothesis” is the right one, Father, but I suspect it is more nuanced (does Pope Francis do nuance?) and may have ad intra as well as ad extra references.

Chiachiera has long been a cottage industry in Vatican corridors and surrounding trattorie as witnessed by the herd of Vaticanistas who have made their living from it. It can be benign as in ‘far quattro chiacchiere’ (“have a chat”) or ominous as in being a ’chiacchierone’ (a gossiper or chatterbox).

Of course he may still be in Lenten mode just telling us to give up sweets - as chiacchiere can also mean a certain type of sweet pastry…!

Anonymous said...

Alas, dear father, you are a rabble rouser without a rabble.

Jacobi said...

Gosh, I feel so much better now. It's his fellow clergy he is having a go at.

So, I'm not a Promethean Neo-Pelagian after all. Pity in a way. Always has a certain sympathy with Pelagius. After all, I believe he denied he actually preached “Pelagianism” whatever it is?

Liam Ronan said...

Neither, Father. Ululation. Yes.

Andreas Meszaros said...

Garris in aurem semper omnibus, Cinna,

Garrire et illud teste quod licet turba.

Rides in aurem, quereris, arguis, ploras,

Cantas in aurem, iudicas, taces, clamas,

Adeoque penitus sedit hic tibi morbus,

Ut saepe in aurem, Cinna, Caesarem laudes.

Martialis 89)

CE User said...

Or, as Tertullian put it, against Marcion:
Sicut fructus separatur a semine, cum sit fructus ex semine, sic et evangelium separatur a lege, dum provehitur ex lege, aliud ab illo, sed non alienum, diversum, sed non contrarium.

Yes, the context is different; but I think the point is the same.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Maybe men like my own self can try to imitate your light-hearted approach and try and soar above the maddening crowds of ultramontanists.

Don Camillo SSC said...

The Holy Father's remarks on marriage in his audience today are encouraging. Marriage is in "irrevocable" commitment.