The following comes from a July 9 Catholic News Agency article by Alvaro de Juana and Elise Harris:
When leftist Bolivian president Evo Morales on Thursday presented Pope Francis with a “communist crucifix” – a carving of Christ crucified on the hammer of a hammer and sickle – the Pope appeared to say, “This is not ok,” while shaking his head.
However, at a July 9 press briefing the Holy See press officer, Father Federico Lombardi, said that Pope Francis’ remark likely expresed a sentiment of “I didnt’ know”, rather than “This is not right.”
Father Lombardi noted the lack of clarity in the audio of the exchange, and remarked that Pope Francis had been unaware the crucifix was a replica of a Spanish Jesuit.
Shortly after his July 8 arrival at the Bolivian administrative capital of La Paz, Pope Francis made a courtesy visit to Morales at the Palace of Government. At such meetings, the leaders customarily exchange gifts; Pope Francis gave the Bolivian president a mosaic of the Marian icon of the “Salus Populus Romani,” her role as patroness of Rome.
Morales explained what his gift to the Pope was as he gave it to him. In the video, filmed by the Vatican Television Center and transmitted throughout the world, the Pope appears to be saying “No está bien eso” – “This is not ok” – while shaking his head.
The audio is a bit marred by the clicking of journalists’ cameras, leading to some debate over what the Pope actually said.
The cross with a hammer and sickle is a reproduction of another carved during the 1970s by Fr. Luis Espinal Camps, a Spanish Jesuit who was a missionary in Bolivia who was killed in 1980 during the Bolivian dictatorship.
Father Lombardi claimed that Father Espinal’s use of it was not ideological but expressed a hope for dialogue between communism and the Church.
Morales’ gift has sparked a worldwide controversy, and reactions were not long in coming. The majority of them accuse Morales of trying to politicize the Pope’s visit.
Morales is head of Bolivia’s Movement for Socialism party, and his adminstration has focused on implementing leftist policies in the nation. Since coming to power in 2006, Morales has frequently sparred with the Bolivian bishops.
Catholics from various Hispanophone countries rejected Morales’ gesture, considering it offensive to the numerous victims of terrorist groups in Latin America and of the historical totalitarian communist regimes.
Bishop Jose Munilla Aguirre of San Sebastián, a Spaniard, tweeted: “The height of arrogance is to manipulate God in the service of atheistic ideologies … Today, once again: #ChristCrucified”.
Father Espinal – whose “communist crucifix” was the model for Morales’ gift to the Pope – was a journalist who advocated for human rights and democracy, continues to be a source of controversy in Bolivia.
While en route from the La Paz airport to the presidential palace, Pope Francis stopped to pray at the location where Father Espinal’s corpse was found after his March 21, 1980 kidnapping and murder.
Was Pope Francis acting under the influence of the coca-leaf tea that he drank on his arrival in Bolivia to counteract the effect of the of the 12,000 feet above sea level altitude? His Holiness smilingly and quietly accepted the sacrilegious gift as well as the smaller pendant version draped around his neck.
Does Bergoglio not know how many Christians were murdered under the Hammer and Sickle…Perhaps he should speak the Ukrainians and ask them about the Holodomor, in which nearly 5 million Orthodox and Catholics lives were snuffed out, Our the Catholics of Romania butchered under the Communist ..This photo pretty much sums up this pontificate. At this point I believe Bergoglio is a material heretic. … God Help the Church with this man on the Seat of St. Peter… I am at a loss…the SSPX looks better and better everyday
I am not a great fan of many things PF does, but in this case, he appears to have been “set up” by the Evo Morales-regime in an insulting political display intended to take advantage of him. If you see the photos of this sequence, he as politely as he is able to do so, puts “crucifix” aside, handing it to someone else, and as this article notes, he speaks his disapproval in Spanish, “No esta bien, eso”, I would translate as “That’s not right, that there.”
The message, PF: Never trust a communist. They have always hated you/us: they will always hate you/us, until you/we defect to their side, as Fr. Espinal putatively did so.
Just as the cross was an instrument of torture and death, so too has the hammer and sickle brought death and misery to millions, including the martyrdom of many Christian, who died as their Christ did–at the hands of an evil empire. Equating communism with this symbol of death is perfectly appropriate. Too bad the Pope doesn’t seem to “get it.”
You’re the one who doesn’t ‘get’ that the whole “dialogue” is intended to corrupt the Church with principles of Marxism which is a project championed by Jesuits for over half a century. Thanks for nothing, Fr. Lombardi, S.J.
Pope Francis has generated a constant stream of anti-capitalist pronouncements. The hand that feeds the Catholic Church, the American Capitalistic system, is considered the root of all world evils, and the Dung of the Devil no less. Liberation theology is a terrible thing. I suspect Pope Francis will give great speeches this fall to Congeress and the White House. He should enjoy our freedoms for they are sorely lacking in Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba.
The Pope’s immediate public statement SHOULD have been –
“Communism, Marxism, and Collectivism all violate the Catholic Faith. I can not and will not accept a cross with communist symbolism.”
And Fr. Lombardi should be FIRED from all communications regarding the Pope and the Vatican.
Everyone involved in the media is very aware that a picture is worth a thousand words; and pictures WILL be used for propaganda to promote an agenda – even an agenda of evil.
What a teachable moment. The Holy Father was obviously blindsided, but needed to be aware of what he was dealing with in meeting with Evo Morales. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if Francis had asked Evo Morales what the image meant to him personally, if he had then given a one-minute catechesis on Catholic social teaching versus Marxism, and finally remarking on the hammer-and-sickle’s track record?
And of course he should then have handed the horrid thing back to Evo, not handing it off to an aide as he apparently did.
This insulting gift is deeply disturbing! I am not sure, what an older, pre-Vatican II saintly Pope would have done, in this situation. Would they have done likewise, yet, politely stating “This is not good,” as they were being insulted? Would they have given a lecture to the insulting head of state, to correct him on his behavior?? Would they have tried to convert him to the Catholic Faith? It is so hard to know, just how a Pope should decently handle such extreme public insults! It is a good idea, to try to be decent, and charitable– yet, let the insulting head of state know his behavior is unacceptable. Good to try to help suffering Catholics in his country, too!
Jesus is Truth! He died on a Cross that was made of Olive Tree trunks, nothings else! Because the Olive Tree has lots of hidden Meanings!
1. the Sign of Peace. The doves which Noah sent brought back an OLIVE Branch as the flood ended.
2. The multi- usages of the olives tree:
a. Its fruits could be consumed as food. The same fruits can be pressed into oil for cooking, lighting a lamp, burn as a torch, oil the body. It is one of the healthiest oil for human consumption~ Great for health!
b. Its wood can be burnt as fire for warmth, to cook, to make furnitures, to give sheds on a hot day. It is very peaceful to look at. Its leaves can be burnt, or to be sued as fertilizer.
c. It is The Tree of LIFE! It brought…
Where do you get that he died on an olive tree? It’s possible, maybe even likely, but where is there definitive proof?
Olive trees do not grow tall and into shapes that can be fashioned easily into roman crosses, so it puzzles me.
Pope Francis knows exactly what and who he is dealing with in the case of Evo Morales, the dictator of Bolivia is a noted hater of the Church and an avowed Marxist-Leninist he admits this freely, and Francis goes around South America denouncing FREE MARKET CAPITALISM at every stop!! Should he not be trying to convert all of the former Roman Catholics in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala who have defected to the false faith of the Evangelicals that have taken root in formally Roman Catholic South and Central America??????? He should have taken that hammer and sickle and tossed it to the ground and shame Evo Morales for putting a corpus on that symbol that murdered MILLIONS!!!! Rome lost the faith after the Second…
Any Pope prior to the Second Vatican Council would NOT have even touched that symbol of evil with the sacred corpus on the hammer and sickle, as the website Rorate Caeli stated simply “The defining image of this Pontificate” that is a quote!! Folks come on already are you that blind to pope worship that you cannot see the destruction that FRANCIS is having on the Church????? This Jesuit is an Marxist-Leninist just like Rush Limbaugh stated last year, what more has to be done by this man to open your eyes??????????????
Pope Francis accepted the Marxist crucifix. The picture of him holding it and smiling sweetly will be the legacy of his leftist pontificate. Also of course the “Who am I to judge” declaration that opened the way for homosexual marriage in the upcoming Synod. His pontificate redefined what the definition of Sin is.
Well maybe it all was planned: The NY Times is exultant (7/12/15): “In Fiery Speeches, Francis Excoriates Global Capitalism”:
“Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week …as he called for a global movement against a “new colonialism” rooted in an inequitable economic order.”
“If Russia is not converted, she will spread her errors to the world.” (OL to the children at Fatima): we didn’t know it would be even into the Vatican, to Bernini’s Chair..
This story has two versions over at CNA. The July 13 version is entitled, “Pope calls ‘communist crucifix’ protest art, but says he wasn’t offended;” while the July 9 version is entitled, “Pope Francis apparently not amused by ‘communist crucifix’ (Updated).”
DIALOGUE THIS! One wonders if Hugh Heffner presented Pope Francis with a crucifix on a wooden male ‘member’ whether the pope would express any inkling of offense.
It’s good to know that this pope may not be as pro-Marxist as some of his earlier remarks seemed to indicate… But it would be very helpful if he condemned Marxism with the same vigor that he has condemned the Mafia and the Catholic Traditionalists… Maybe he could even reiterate what the previous Popes had to say about Marxism?