Tuesday, December 26, 2017


How to avoid gossiping? Bite your tongue, bite your tongue! Sure, It will swell, but you’ll have done a good thing. Some people who should set an example, are not doing so when they chatter.”  --Pope Francis

In a talk to Vatican Employees, the Holy Father condemns chatter, gossip, but His Holiness' entire talk is itself chatter about the Vatican clergy and their peccadilloes and things the Holy Father himself has heard from other employees at the Vatican which His Holiness shares with everyone in the whole wide world!

This is fascinating to say the least. I once heard that preachers, be they Catholic or Protestant condemn in others what they themselves are the most guilty of doing. 

Pubblicato il 21/12/2017
No more illegal or precarious work in the Vatican, “We cannot preach the social doctrine of the Church and then do things that do not correspond” to it. Pope Francis said this in his speech to the employees of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State whom, along with their family members, Francis wanted to meet in the “Paul VI hall” for the traditionally Christmas greetings, after his speech to the Roman Curia in the apostolic palace. Jorge Mario Bergoglio dwelt on the need to “foster” work, family, and above all children, and our tongue by avoiding the “terrorism of chatter”. And then he asked “forgiveness” because “we - I mean the clerical fauna”, not always “set a good example: I too sometimes lose patience”.  

I would like to thank you all for the work you do here. Everyone has their job, that they know, we have working teams in the Vatican...” the Pope began, ” This work is what runs this train, the Vatican, the Holy See, which seems so heavy, so great, with so many problems... and thanks to your work we go forward: I am aware that without your work we wouldn’t go forward. Earlier, I greeted a man who has been working here for 43 years: thank you; I thank each one of you for your work. But - the Pope continued - there is also a problem in the Vatican concerning labor: a lady, referring to a young man among you, said “help the precarious workers”. The other day I had a meeting with Cardinal (Reinhard) Marx, President of the Council for Economic Affairs, and its secretary, Monsignor (Brian) Ferm, where I said: “I do not want illegal work in the Vatican”. I apologize to you - continued Francis – there is still some here”. Citing Article 11 of the regulation of the workers of the Apostolic See relating to probationary period contracts, the Pope said it should be applied indeed “for a probationary period, for one or two years, not more”.  

“I also said - the Pope continued - that no one should be left without work: do not dismiss anyone unless there is another job available outside, another suitability or agreement convenient to that person. This is how we ought to work here, so that there are no precarious job and no precarious workers. It is a problem of conscience for me: we cannot preach the social doctrine of the Church and then do things that do not match,” he said to loud applause. “Understandably, a person needs to be tried for a certain time, for a year, two years yes, but never illegally: this is my intention. You may help: help your superiors, those who depend on the Governorate, to solve these problems in the Holy See “.  

Broadening the discourse, the Pope then said, “labor is your path towards sanctity, towards happiness that you need to carry on: today, perhaps the ugliest curse is not having a job: you might know so many people... because work gives us dignity and, the security of a job gives us dignity. I do not want to say the names, but it’s in the newspapers today - he continued in what seems to be an implicit reference to the Ilva of Taranto (the largest steel mill in Europe) - two important companies here in Italy that are at risk, but in order to survive it is not necessary to “rationalize” work and dismiss three or four thousand people. This is bad, very bad, because there is a loss of dignity. And this is not only a problem of the Vatican, of Italy or of Europe, it is a global problem, it is a problem that depends on many factors in the world. Keep a job and keep your dignity, bring the bread home because you have gained it, not because you receive it from the Caritas. So thank you for your work, help the superiors to end illegal work situations, and keep your job because it is your dignity. Keep your job and do it well, that is important!”.  

Francis then spoke of a second word “that comes to my mind: family. I - he said - would like to tell you that when I find out that a family of yours is struggling, that the children are suffering because they see that there are problems, I sincerely suffer. Let yourself be helped. In the governorate, I wanted the secretary to be a bishop so he could have this pastoral dimension: to save families. I know that there are some separated ones among you, I know, and I suffer, I suffer with you - Francis said - life has come like this, but help, so at least children do not suffer, because when parents quarrel the children suffer. It is a piece of advice that I give you, never argue in front of the children, they do not understand. “To foster the family” the Pope said, recalling that, in addition to the secretary of the Governorate, there are the chaplains,” who will tell you where you can get help for your family. This is the great jewel, God has created us a family, the image of God is a marriage between a man and a woman, fruitful: multiply yourself, make children, go forward. And he added - I was so happy to see so many, so many children.” 

“The third word that comes to my mind”, the Pope continued “perhaps some of you may say “but give it a rest with this”... it is a recurring word: the chatter” he said, stirring applause. “Maybe I’m wrong, and there is no chatter in the Vatican, you don’t chat, perhaps, I don’t know.... I was told by one of you, a worker, that one day I had preached about gossip and he, who had come to mass with his wife, said “if you don’t gossip in the Vatican, you remain isolated”. “Heavy stuff, right? You have heard what I say about gossip: gossip is a terrorist, gossipers act like terrorists, throw the bomb, leave, then the bomb explodes and damages many others. No to the terrorism of gossip, please. This is the third word that comes to me, someone might ask me a piece of advice: how to avoid gossiping? Bite your tongue, bite your tongue! Sure, It will swell, but you’ll have done a good thing. Some people who should set an example, are not doing so when they chatter.”  

Finally, fourth keyword of the speech, “I would like to ask you for forgiveness. Because we too do not always set a good example. When I say we, I’m referring to the “clerical fauna”, we do not always set a good example”, the Pope said, stirring more applause. In life, we clerics, make mistakes, injustices, we sin, and sometimes we treat people badly, we are a little neurotic: forgive us for all these bad examples. We must ask for forgiveness, I too, because sometimes “I fly my sparrows” (Argentina colloquial expression to say, “I lose patience”)”! Francis concluded his unscripted speech to the Vatican employees inviting them to “not be afraid to ask for forgiveness: if your conscience reproaches you something, then look for a good confessor, do a nice cleaning. They say that the best confessor is the deaf priest, he doesn’t make you feel ashamed.... but without being deaf, there are so many merciful ones, so go ahead, Christmas is a good opportunity to make peace even within us, we are all sinners. Yesterday I made my Christmas confession, the confessor came and did me well. I wish you merry Christmas, joy, that which comes from within, and let me not forget to send a blessing to the sick who are perhaps in your family, who are suffering. Thank you very much: let us foster labor, foster the family, foster the tongue - and please forgive us, and let us clean up our hearts this Christmas so we may be in peace and happiness. And don’t forget to pray for me.  

Before and after the speech, the Pope greeted Vatican employees and their relatives with handshakes, hugs, greetings, as well as taking some selfie and high-fiving some children.  


Anonymous 2 said...

Someone will have to explain to me how this “entire talk” is chatter, defined in this context as “gossip,” the core meaning of which seems to focus on revealing (typically unsubstantiated) personal or private information about another identified person.

And for a broader and arguably better perspective on Pope Francis’s Christmas message(s), we might also want to read the text of his Christmas Midnight Mass homily and the text of his Urbi et Orbi Christmas Message:

As far as projection is concerned, this psychological phenomenon is not limited to preachers, of course. Indeed, aren’t we all susceptible to, and have to be on our guard against, projection? Also, don’t there seem to be some very striking very public examples of projection nowadays, such as politicians who lie and utter other falsehoods and then accuse the media reports that call them out on these lies and falsehoods “fake news” and, conversely, media sources which lie or utter other falsehoods about politicians’ alleged lying or other falsehoods, although the projection may perhaps be mitigated when the projector admits and apologizes for the lie or other falsehood?

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. Apologies for the editing oversights in the last paragraph of my previous comment, which I clearly posted too soon.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous 2

It's a pity that Francis's off-the-cuff remarks (the style of which is 'chatty') make it into print. I've always thought him to be a good homilist in a liturgical context - he makes his points clearly and concisely, and rarely exceeds ten minutes.

What is missing in modern Catholic (and indeed in Protestant) culture is the concept of the sermon, a longer discourse delivered outside the context of the liturgy, and often, in pre-Reformation times, in the open air. The nearest one can get to it would be an academic lecture delivered by someone like Cardinal Sarah, or indeed the famous Ratisbon lecture of Benedict XVI in 2006.

I have some sermons of Gerard Manley Hopkins which would have been delivered on a Sunday evening, preceded by the Rosary and followed by Benediction.

I happen to be deeply concerned by the direction in which this papacy seems to be moving. But credit where credit is due.

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous 2 said: "I happen to be deeply concerned by the direction in which this papacy seems to be moving.

Please offer your concerns in regard to the above. Thank you.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

In regard to this year's Midnight Mass sermon, His Holiness Pope Francis said:

"So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary. We see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land..."

Father John Zuhlsdorf declared the following yesterday:

"So, no, they Holy Family, seeking refuge in Egypt at the specific direction of God, is not the archetype of all refugees today."

The following is the first sentence from Pope Venerable Pius XII's 1952 A.D. Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia Nazarethana:

"The émigré Holy Family of Nazareth, fleeing into Egypt, is the archetype of every refugee family."

Pope Venerable Pius XII continued:

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph, living in exile in Egypt to escape the fury of an evil king, are, for all times and all places, the models and protectors of every migrant, alien and refugee of whatever kind who, whether compelled by fear of persecution or by want, is forced to leave his native land, his beloved parents and relatives, his close friends, and to seek a foreign soil."

Pope Francis' teachings in regard to refugees and migrants are in line with said teachings presented by Pope Venerable Pius XII. Deo gratias for Pope Francis' Christmas Midnight Mass sermon in question.

Pope Francis has offered repeatedly Social Teachings that are in line with that which his predecessors had presented to the Faithful.

That is why Rorate Caeli acknowledged the following:

"...the positions stated by Pope Francis on economic and social matters are much closer to the Traditional Catholic position on the economy and the State than not. Indeed, it can be said unhesitatingly that this is one area in which the Pope will find mostly allies in Traditional Catholics."

"By criticizing the current Pope when he indeed defends positions kept by his predecessors on Social Doctrine (admittedly, Pope Francis often fills such defense with unexpected idiosyncrasies, but not essential deviations), "Conservatives" bring themselves to an untenable position."

Interestingly, Rorate Caeli's above 2014 A.D. remarks were offered in regard to certain deviations to Catholic Social Teaching pronounced by Father John Zuhlsdorf.

That is why I submit to Pope Francis' God-given authority to teach, govern, and sanctify the Holy People of God...rather than submit to "teachings" offered by right-wing "internet" priests.


Mark Thomas

John Nolan said...

No, Anon 2 did not say this, I did so in reply to him.

Mark Thomas said...

John Nolan said..."No, Anon 2 did not say this, I did so in reply to him."

Mister Nolan, thank you for the correction.

May you and your family have a blessed season of Christmas.


Mark Thomas

Anonymous 2 said...

Thank you for the correction, John. It is indeed difficult to distinguish among us British (or in my case, British born) people. Perhaps it is the funny accent in which we write. =)

As to the Catholic Social Teaching on migrants: Whatever our views on immigration (both documented/legal and undocumented/illegal) into the United States in general may be, I do hope that everyone here will support the granting of permanent legislative relief to the so-called 800,000 or so “Dreamers” or DACA recipients (who were brought here as children by their parents and many, if not indeed the great majority, of whom are likely Catholic). Congress must act to do so before March 5 when Dreamers will start rolling off the DACA program in large numbers. It is important, therefore, to urge the Congressional delegations in our states(s) (especially their Republican members) to act soon and to act appropriately.

Personally, I support and advocate for reasonable (and not draconian) relief that is not tied to other immigration provisions (a so-called “clean” Dream Act) because the Dreamers are indeed a special case with very strong equities in their favor. The issue should not be politicized and the Dreamers should not be used as political pawns in a political negotiation, because granting such relief is simply the right thing to do, period. Moreover, granting such relief is not “amnesty” because there is nothing to forgive on the part of those who did nothing wrong. This is most assuredly a case, then, in which the sins of the parents should not be visited upon the children. I am hopeful that our country will not fail this moral test. Of course, we can and should continue to argue about other immigration issues, but we should do separately from the Dreamer issue. And we can, and should, seek to respond respectfully to any concerns or reservations some may have about granting relief even to the Dreamers.

Here is the USCCB statement of September 5 responding to the Trump Administration’s rescission of the DACA program on the same date (with essentially a six month grace period built in):

And here is Bishop Hartmeyer’s own statement of December 12 on the subject:

Anonymous said...

Zuhlsdorf exposed.