22 September 2017


More idleness on my part! Here is another old post, which has already appeared more than once! But I think it is more relevant than ever!! I have added one or two phrases. The earlier dates could be reconstructed from the thread.

PARRHESIA is a Greek noun [which, some time ago, was] used with great frequency by our Holy Father Pope Francis; it means speaking openly, boldly, fearlessly, standing like a free man rather than cowering like a slave, epecially in contexts where it might be apprehended that some powerful person could turn beastily nasty. A good, authoritative, example of its use, and a (fairly) authoritative gloss about its meaning, were provided when the Holy Father in 2014 told the Synod Fathers to speak with parrhesia, and his close friend "Archbishop" Fernandez [somebody should write a Gilbert-and-Sullivan chorus about this individual] was overheard interpreting this for the edification of common ordinary not-in-the-know not-one-of-us bishops as meaning "Mueller [then Cardinal Prefect of the CDF] won't come after us". Assuming that this concept is meant to apply symmetrically, clearly Fernandez also meant that he, Fernandez, and Pope Francis, wouldn't "come after" anybody, either. Good News for both Bishops and Bloggers worldwide. [It is a shame that those in various places who persecute, or urge others to intimidate, opponents of Pope Bergoglio's innovations, have not interiorised his calls for Parrhesia but still "come after" people they deem off-message.]

The term is quite common in the New Testament: S Mark 8:32; S John 7:4,13,26; 10:24; 11:14,54; 16:25,29; 18:20; Acts 2:29; 4:13,29,31; 28:31; etc. etc.. For the verb parrhesiazomai, mainly in Acts, see 9:27,28; 13:46; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8; 26:26 ...

[Anybody got a Concordance for the Septuagint? The Vulgate rendering is often palam ... loqui. For a link to a good (Oz) talk about Parrhesia in the Classical period of Attic Greek, see a comment of my own on the old thread infra.]

[In Italian and Spanish, it is written without the h, and, sadly, the rather limited chappies who do the English versions of Vatican statements sometimes don't realise that the English, transliterated of course directly from the Greek, is parrhesia. Don't let them confuse or worry you. Not now, not ever.]


GOR said...

Agreed, Father, and no apology necessary. On this side of the pond - with typical American directness - the expression might be put forward as: “telling it like it is…”

Of course as a recent president of ours inexplicably, though perhaps understandably in his case, noted: “It depends on what the meaning of is… is.”

But as our Holy Father was recently reminded, words like actions, have consequences. Some people a bit south of here took exception to his “Mexicanization” remark…

Patrick Sheridan said...

Speaking openly and without fear usually ends up with proscription.

Stephen said...

A cousin to courage, of speaking truth to power?

Fr John Hunwicke said...

A kind correspondent refers me to the Youtube of an inaugural address by Alastair Blanshard as Professor of Classics in the University of Queensland on 29 October 2014, published 12 November, at about twenty minutes in. It gives a good account of Parrhesia in terms of Athenian politics. I would only want to add that the NT references I list above give it a distinctly Christian spin, which it retained in the Christian culture of Martyrion for some centuries.

Liam Ronan said...

So the Spanish and the Italians got the 'h' out of there, Father? I suspect that is what some of the bishops did after Archbishop Fernandez's counsel.

Jacobi said...

My policy now is not to comment negatively on current Pontiffs but only on the 265+ previous ones. I am happy to comment however on “current issues”.

I particular I am concerned about the degree of heterodoxy and outright heresy which is aired by some, but not all, bishops, clergy and laity. I'm not sure this is what was meant by “Parrhesia” , but then I don't know any Greek.

What I do know is that all Good Catholics and True must hold publicly and as much as they can in their private lives to the Teaching as established in the Magisterium, of the One True Church.

Donna Bethell said...

This post is wearing well, good Father, and may I say that I deeply appreciate your consistent practice of parrhesia. It keeps me informed, guides my understanding of events, and often enough provides me with a good laugh.

W.C. Hoag said...

Dr. Petroc Willey, late of the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham and now professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville consultor to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation, has written on the connection between parrhesia and catechesis.

Here is a paper that he delivered in Rome at the 2013 International Congress for Catecheis: http://www.novaevangelizatio.va/content/nvev/it/Dicastero/convegniIncontri/congresso-internazionale-di-catechesi/relazioni-CIC2013/Willey-relazione1.html

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Stabunt iusti in magna constantia ... Greek has singular (stesetai ho dikaios ...) and the word (... pollei parrhesiai / en pollei parrhesiai).

Not a complete concordance, but one clear instance.

tradgardmastare said...

Here's a recommendation for a good read to cheer you all up amidst the changes and chances - "The great Prayer" by Hugh Ross Williamson.

Tee Pee Gee Eff said...

The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae records 12 uses of parresia. I am sorry I don't have the time to construe them to check: Leviticus 26:13, Esther 8:12s, 1 Maccabees 4:18, 3 Maccabees 4:1, 7:12, 10:5, Proverbs 1:20, 10:10, 13:5, Job 27:10, Sapientia Salominis 5:1, Sirach 25:25. parresiazomai: Ps 11:6, 93:1, Proverbs 20:9, Job 22:26, Sirach 6:11.

All references are to the two volume edition by A. Rahlfs (Stuttgart: W├╝rttemberg Bible Society, 1935/1971).

Unknown said...

Fernandez the Archbishop is hardly Apostolical
Outspokenly in favour of ideas diabolical.

"Mercy for adultery; that's the new theology!
Any who says otherwise is a pompous pharisee."

No worry about Mueller nor out dated doctrines biblical
With Francis and Parrhesia fornication is now spiritual.

A poor attempt at a Gilbert and Sullivan; to the tune of "I am the very model of a Modern Major General"

Arthur Gallagher said...

I like the last posting- the mock G&S lyrics. Very good!

I wonder- Does good Pope Francis regard the four Cardinals who signed the Dubia as having this virtue of Parrhesia, or have they rather put him off using the word?

As Francis rules more by ipse dixit than anything else, will we soon hear quaint Greek words meaning "submission" in parrhesia's old place???

Donna Bethell said...

The word for "submission" is Islam.

armyarty said...

Touche, Rose Marie. Indeed it is.

John R said...

The meter is not perfect. But it reminds me of Clare Coffey's piece:

"I am the very model of a modern ultramontanist
I’ve been congratulated as an excellent dialogist
I have degrees from all the best colleges of theology
I do not know quite what it means but I reject ontology
I understand the finer points both nuanced and theoretical
and when I go on twitter Ross Douthat calls me heretical
I’ve many sage remarks to make on what I call the Christ event
and just how many tragic deaths forbidden condoms could prevent

I much prefer to shun the works of any scholar scholastic
I find the very concept of forgiveness rather elastic
in short, as such an erudite and excellent dialogist
I am the very model of a modern ultramontanist...."