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Saint Pope John Paul II and President Reagan: Come Back and Make the Stupid Stop

Pope and Friend

 

From Ace of Spades:

I know this pope has been misread by ardent leftists hoping to claim his authority for their cause before. But it seems like the translation would be hard to screw up, given the context.

His “cannot make fun of religion” could easily be a “should not” more than a “must not,” and I suppose that would be expected from a Pope; it is his statement that a Blasphemer should “expect a punch” that bothers me.

This after 17 people were “punched” in Paris.

And he was specifically answering a question about the Charlie Hebdo murders. He wasn’t offering an abstract opinion on blasphemy against Islam as a general matter.

“One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith,” he said. “There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits.”

The right to liberty of expression comes with the “obligation” to speak for “the common good,” Pope Francis said, cautioning against provocation.

To illustrate his point, he joked about Vatican aide Alberto Gasparri who was standing nearby on the plane.

“It’s true that we can’t react violently, but, for example if Dr. Gasbarri here, a great friend of mine, says a curse word against my mother, then a punch awaits him,” the pontiff said.

Wonderful.

Our current crop of institution-controlling “elites” sure is hitting it out of the park lately.

Amen a thousand times to that last line.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

53 Comments

  1. My teenage boys love Yo Mama jokes, and once one of their friends called me “Mrs. H Dog” (I didn’t know what it means and still don’t, although I don’t think it’s cursing. But still…) No one got punched. I seriously doubt the Pope is going to punch his friend for dissing his mother.
    .
    I am also forced to wonder what St. Peter and St. Paul thought of the Romans worshiping Jupiter and Company.

  2. The more this Pope opens his pie hole, the more I wish something would fly into it to keep him from saying something stupid!

  3. Not sure why some interpret every call to behave a certain way as a call for government regulation of said behavior. No one would claim is he trying to regulate love and hate if he had called for people to not hate one another but to love another. Have we been so conditioned to regulations to believe every call for decency is a call to regulate?
    .
    And he was specifically answering a question about the Charlie Hebdo murders. He wasn’t offering an abstract opinion on blasphemy against Islam as a general matter.
    He was asked a specific question and giving a general answer. To twist the dialogue is succumbing to biases.

  4. Once again, making flip remarks without thinking through the consequences. Francis defenders will indignantly insist that he is not equating a punch in the nose with mass murder, but then why does he mention them together?

  5. Sorry–let me add to my thought.

    Which means that it was centered on what Muslims regard as blasphemy. How is there any way around the question of Islamic blasphemy gripes?

  6. Actually he’s merely restating the constant teaching of the Church, which is that free expression is limited by the common good. I know the Church’s traditional teaching about the subjection of the state and social institutions to the Kingship of Christ, or at the very least to the common good, which has as its end the final end of individuals and helping them attain it… but the idea that any and all expression should be tolerated is a modern novelty, and has given us besides open blasphemy unimaginable by even our country’s founding fathers, but such lovely things as grotesquely violent video games, movies, and the vilest and most unchecked pornography, with all the attendant social ills that come with these “expressions.”

    So, while it is popular right now and easy to oppose jihadism by supporting unfettered “expression,” such unfettered “expression” has never been contemplated by the Church as a social right, much less a fundamental universal human right. The current Pope is wrong on much, but when he states that “expression” has due limits, he is in the broad mainstream of Catholic social teaching.

    Charlie Hebdo was vile stuff, and while murder is not the appropriate response, it would be in accord with Catholic social teaching that such supposed “speech” or expression be limited or forbidden. Society used to have little problem drawing these lines, now that the lines have been erased small wonder that any and every vile piece of filth can claim protection as “free expression” as though that limited good trumps the greater common good of society.

  7. By the way, American jurisprudence, including the state of law in my own Commonwealth of Virginia, until very recently recognized the idea of “fighting words.” I’d be delighted to think we have a pontiff who’d punch someone in the nose if they mouthed some filthy remark about his mom, or worse, about the Virgin Mary or Our Lord.

    Time was, even very much in living memory (think our parents’ generation) a manly Christianity wouldn’t sit meekly by as idiots blasphemed holy things. I think that’s what the Holy Father is talking about. Which (need it be said?) is not the same as saying murder would be a proportionate response to fighting words.

  8. It was Georges Clemenceau, I believe who spoke of the clergy as “rejecting freedom as personal calamity” [qui ont repoussé la liberté comme une calamité personnelle]
    “Pope opposes freedom of speech” is hardly “man bites dog.”

  9. That should have been, “rejecting freedom as a personal calamity” [qui ont repoussé la liberté comme une calamité personnelle]

  10. To build upon what others have said…
    CCC para 1740 Threats to freedom. The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything. It is false to maintain that man, “the subject of this freedom,” is “an individual who is fully self-sufficient and whose finality is the satisfaction of his own interests in the enjoyment of earthly goods.” Moreover, the economic, social, political, and cultural conditions that are needed for a just exercise of freedom are too often disregarded or violated. Such situations of blindness and injustice injure the moral life and involve the strong as well as the weak in the temptation to sin against charity. By deviating from the moral law man violates his own freedom, becomes imprisoned within himself, disrupts neighborly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth.

  11. Actually he’s merely restating the constant teaching of the Church, which is that free expression is limited by the common good.

    He could up his game on the quality and precision of his restatements.

  12. Tom and Kyle, you are missing the point. No one is saying that people shouldn’t be shunned, verbally chastised, challenged, and possibly punched (depending on the circumstances) for outrageously rude or blasphemous statements. What you can’t do is murder people for it. Bringing up offensiveness of speech as a justification for retaliation when you are discussing the Paris atrocity is just stupid.

  13. Brian,
    What you can’t do is murder people for it. Bringing up offensiveness of speech as a justification for retaliation when you are discussing the Paris atrocity is just stupid.
    I’ve seen the opposite from the ones accused of “beclowning” themselves. They have repeatedly said nothing justifies the violence.

  14. There is a very charming story about St. Nicholas punching Arius in the face for denying the Divinity of Christ. There is nothing charming about the massacre in Paris, nor the Pope’s trivializing the incident with a “punch in the face” joke. It repulses me.

  15. Kyle Miller wrote, “The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything.” Of course it does not and no one has ever suggested it did.

    To take an obvious case, freedom does not include the right to murder someone and the direct, serious and deliberate instigation of another to commit a particular murder is, at least, the crime of incitement and, if the person instigated carries it out, that will make the instigator art and part guilty of it.

    Again, freedom of speech does not protect perjury, falsehood, fraud and wilful imposition, breach of a legal or conventional duty of confidence, sending a challenge to fight, or numberless other instances of wrongdoing.

  16. Ginny: “There is a very charming story about St. Nicholas punching Arius in the face for denying the Divinity of Christ….at a gathering of bishops…and arius deserved it for scattering the flock. and St Nicholas was placed in jail.
    .
    We have separation of church and state. If he offends God, then let God arrest him.
    .
    The Pope needs to pray publicly at the place of the crime as St. John Paul II did at the Concentration camps. Perhaps the Pope’s presence will bring some semblance of civility. Probably not. Our Lady converted the first Muslims. Why can’t we have Eucharistic Processions?

  17. “Charlie Hebdo was vile stuff, and while murder is not the appropriate response, it would be in accord with Catholic social teaching that such supposed “speech” or expression be limited or forbidden. Society used to have little problem drawing these lines, now that the lines have been erased small wonder that any and every vile piece of filth can claim protection as “free expression” as though that limited good trumps the greater common good of society.”

    Society used to have little trouble drawing such lines because society was largely unanimous in regard to questions such as blasphemy. In France the Church brought 14 suits against Charlie Hebdo for blasphemy and lost each time. Now blasphemy laws would be more likely be used to muzzle Christians. Actually that is precisely the purpose hate speech laws are used for now in Canada and in Europe. Their function is quite similar to the old blasphemy laws, now utilized to protect the Sacred Cows of the Left. The Faith these days is much better served by strict adherence to freedom of speech, rather than calling for censorship that would be used against her.

  18. Michael Paterson-Seymour, Agreed. Prudence should be exercised with freedom to avoid legal and moral violations.
    it does not and no one has ever suggested it did.
    Sadly, it has been. Pope Francis and Donohue’s point is about responsible exercise of freedom, not about the freedom itself.
    .
    Ginny, We’ve gone from the pope made a bad analogy to the pope making jokes at the expense of terrorism in Paris. Before long, someone will say he condones violent Jihad. Sign, Not a fan of Pope Francis interviews.

  19. Censorship laws may–may–have once been responsibly used in this country (pornography was seized by customs officials, for example).

    However, for a Catholic living in the post-Christian West to suggest that his local Caesar start cranking up the censorship engine is as close to a suicide note as can be imagined. He’ll gladly use it to shut you up and allow free reign to the Left and its favored classes.

    It’s hard to know what the Pope was saying, except that it was a clumsy plea for civility badly juxtaposed to an incident where the uncivil were massacred by fanatics who also object to the open wearing of crosses as insulting.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve had all the unscripted pontifical moments before the microphone that I need for 2015.

  20. The Faith these days is much better served by strict adherence to freedom of speech, rather than calling for censorship that would be used against her.
    Good thing the “clowns” have not called for government censorship. Self-control? Sure. Leaping to government censorship is giant leap, not that the left really needs censorship laws to show its intolerance for religion. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/12/colorado-cake-case-pits-religion-against-tolerance/print/

  21. “I’ve seen the opposite from the ones accused of “beclowning” themselves. They have repeatedly said nothing justifies the violence.”

    Saying out of one side of your mouth that nothing justifies the violence and then talking about punching someone because they offend you is not really a coherent approach to a serious issue.

  22. Kyle Miller

    “it does not and no one has ever suggested it did.” Sadly, it has been

    No one, except a handful of surrealists, ever defended the right to “say and do everything.” How seriously would anyone, of any political persuasion, take André Breton’s famous, “The most simple surrealist act consists in this: to go down into the streets, pistol in hand, and shoot at random, for all you are worth, into the crowd.” Not even the Tea Party, I fancy, would support that.

  23. “Now blasphemy laws would be more likely be used to muzzle Christians. Actually that is precisely the purpose hate speech laws are used for now in Canada and in Europe. Their function is quite similar to the old blasphemy laws, now utilized to protect the Sacred Cows of the Left. The Faith these days is much better served by strict adherence to freedom of speech, rather than calling for censorship that would be used against her. ”

    Well said Donald, and Dale also. Society has become unhinged from the natural and moral law. Rather, positive law, that is law by force of majority and power, now dictates our “morality” such that hate speech is the means for censorship when speaking out against whatever topic the powers to be consider protected. The forces of this modernist polemic are on the march, and, as Cardinal George predicted, the Church will be, and is, in the crosshairs.

  24. Saying out of one side of your mouth that nothing justifies the violence and then talking about punching someone because they offend you is not really a coherent approach to a serious issue
    I will agree Pope Francis is not the best speaker. There are much more disagreeable or head scratching points he made that no one brings up because they obsess on an analogy.
    .
    Michael Paterson-Seymour, Sadly, it has been
    Let me clarify. No one on this site or in the comm boxes.

  25. Why can’t people be responsible for what issues forth from their mouths (or keyboards)?
    .
    “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man.” Matthew 15:18

  26. I don’t have much problem with what the pope said. If my mother were still alive and someone insulted her and I – or my siblings – were present, the perpetrator would most certainly get a smack in the mouth – he would think again about issuing insults.
    I guess the context is the inappropriate thing, rather than the bald statement.

  27. Rather, positive law, that is law by force of majority and power, now dictates our “morality” such that hate speech is the means for censorship when speaking out against whatever topic the powers to be consider protected.

    Or whatever topic the powers to be are threatened by. The reason the media is going out if it’s way to defer to the sensibilities of muslims isn’t because they think Muslims need protecting from scurrilous squiggles on paper. It’s because they’re afraid of ending up like the Charlie Hebdo staffers.

  28. I’m trying to consider the hearts and minds of the victims families in relation to the pontiff’s point.

    If my brother was one of the cartoonist gunned down I would feel like punching the lamb toting leader of the Catholic Church for picking his teaching moments….oh…but wait. The Curia got their Christmas prayer early…right between the eyes.

    So here’s one piece of advice from the underclassman. If what you say has to be explained by your PR dept. please keep your mouth shut. The official explanation on the pope’s statement was read on the air as I was driving home. “He pf, didn’t mean to defend the actions of the terrorist in his comments.” If it needs explanation he may wish to consult a SJ in good standing prior to speaking candidly.
    Might save a broken hearted loved one some anguish.

  29. Hate speech only really hurts when it is true.

    My little joke: At least the pope is now talking about the fact that behaviors have consequences. And apparently if someone used a curse word against his mother, he would judge that behavior.

  30. “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” Thomas Jefferson

  31. “Saint Pope John Paul II and President Reagan: Come Back and Make the Stupid Stop”

    One wee cavil Maister McC. You forgot Baroness Thatcher.

    Regarding His Holiness’ comments. I can only, with the heaviest of hearts, repeat what I wrote in response to Mike PetriK below the line back on our host’s “Blaming the Victims” post. God help us all.

    “But there is a time and a place Maister P. To so indulge himself now, RIGHT now when twelve people have just been murdered, and their friends and families are in shock and mourning is a species of moral masturbation to make the sins of “Charlie Hebdo” pale by comparison! It is at best ill-bred and callous, and at worst a sleekit way of saying that those poor souls somehow got what was coming to them! Christ on the Cross that poor, tortured wee Muslim lassie I quoted above shows more understanding and compassion than Donohue! He might as well have gone the whole hog, got on a plane to Paris and p****d on their corpses!” – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2015/01/07/blaming-the-victims/#sthash.nSl5Ed0O.dpuf

  32. Brian English wrote:

    “Saying out of one side of your mouth that nothing justifies the violence and then talking about punching someone because they offend you is not really a coherent approach to a serious issue. ”

    Amen.

  33. He’s not saying “stupid things”. Not to a leftist.

    We’ve got them too. Many of them. In our Lutheran denomination. Leftist, political, modern day Pharisees who are trying to make people better with their twisted, wrongheaded leftist notions.

    It’s enough to make one want to puke.

  34. Mr McClarey sorry to say it but John Paul 2 is part of the problem of Pope Francis. He rehabilitated him when he was shunned by his fellow Jesuits in Argentina. Besides John Paul 2 loved Islam; he kissed the Koran and prayed that a Catholic Saint should protect the religion of Islam.
    Really Pope Francis and Pope John Paul 2? BIRDS OF THE SAME FEATHER. Look closer you will see what I mean.

  35. PF has said MANY worse than unfortunate things, but in this case I’d say it’s just an expression meaning “if you do/say such-and-such, I will be angry”. He’s not advocating violence. You’ve probably said similar things yourself. This is a 2 or a 3 on the unfortunateness scale, whereas “let’s not obsess over stuff like abortion” is a 10.

  36. Mr. Paterson-Seymour writes:

    How seriously would anyone, of any political persuasion, take André Breton’s famous, “The most simple surrealist act consists in this: to go down into the streets, pistol in hand, and shoot at random, for all you are worth, into the crowd.” Not even the Tea Party, I fancy, would support that.

    Excuse me? What the hell sort of stuff do you people smoke in Scotland? Here’s a group of grownup people who call for responsibility, civility, and sanity, who have never had a violent (or even a messy) public gathering, and you say they’re the ne plus ultra of hair-trigger wackjobs? What next – fantasies of Quaker SEALs? Hallucinations of Amish armored divisions?

  37. @ Bob the Ape, whether from Scotland or Britain or the Continent, I do not expect Europeans spoon fed liberal nonsense from progressive news media and nanny government to do the research required to find out what the Tea Party really stands for:
    .
    http://www.teaparty.org/about-us/
    .
    It is much easier to feed into the propaganda – no critical thinking required.

  38. Paul W Primavera wrote:

    “@ Bob the Ape, whether from Scotland or Britain or the Continent, I do not expect Europeans spoon fed liberal nonsense from progressive news media and nanny government to do the research required to find out what the Tea Party really stands for”

    As opposed to..? 🙂 🙂

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-30773297

  39. It is much easier to feed into the propaganda – no critical thinking required. –

    Aren’t any early 20th century francophones who have written about the Tea Party, so it does not register with MPS.

  40. Donald R McClarey wrote, “I would pay money to see the Iron Lady, as the Soviets used to call her, “handbagging” the Jihadists in her prime!”

    Speaking of Lady Thatcher, one wonders how Mark or Carol Thatcher responded to insults to their mother? As a journalist, Carol Thatcher in particular must have encountered the issue quite often.

  41. one wonders how Mark or Carol Thatcher responded to insults to their mother?

    With distractions. Carol’d get a new boyfriend and Mark would engineer some skeezy business deal (and change mistresses). Years ago, an anthropologist neighbor of mine told me that conflict of adjacent generations and congruence of alternate generations was a principle of social anthropology. One can hope that the grandson who will inherit that baronetcy will be a more edifying character. The grand-daughter certain has a certain presence.

  42. When an American comments that he would pay money to see the Iron Lady dealing with the Jihaddists, a European attempting to be profound states, “One wonders how Mark or Carol Thatcher responded to insults to their mother?” But when the truth is found out about those two, the profundity of the statement evaporates as quickly as steam off the fuel rods of a BWR nuclear core.
    .
    We have lost the triumvirate of Thatcher, Reagan and JP II, never perhaps to return at least in our lifetime.

  43. I still don’t see the problem with the Pope making a distinction between a proportionate response (a slug to the jaw) and a disproportionate response, wanton murder, even of policemen who had nothing to do with the “blasphemy” at issue.

    Well, I guess we can just give up on the principle that “expression” has due limits, because we fear that the Left will use it as a tool of oppression… but the trade off is then to be utterly without a leg to stand on when it comes to unfettered violence (anyone watched “Walking Dead” where children are graphically killed?), “Piss Christ”-type “art,” and the vilest porn imaginable (not even child porn will off limits before long).

    Shut out the lights, we’re done here.

  44. “Shut out the lights, we’re done here.”

    The Jihadists are not, and neither are useful idiots in the West who make excuses for them, or those who feel nostalgic for when their favored group could exercise censorship. In the age of the internet we will either have freedom of speech or a huge state dedicated to watching everything said. I prefer the former, even with vile expressions that offend me.

  45. Paul W Primavera: I have been very active with the Tea Party in Saline Co Arkansas. Your comments re: local TEA Party members show extreme ignorance related to the actual actions of & average American participants in such groups. We simply want government & the leftist do gooders to leave us & our money alone–& we want to leave everyone else the Hell alone. What a shocking thought! *sarcasm*

  46. But, Barbara, don’t you know that they only want to help you? For your own good, of course. If they left you alone, how would you know how miserable and benighted your shallow bourgeois existence was?

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