PopeWatch: Evangelii Gaudium

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PopeWatch decides to take the Thanksgiving holidays off and the Pope releases Evangelii Gaudium!  Go here to read it.  The short take of PopeWatch is that it is a mishmash.  Much of it is merely a restatement of traditional Catholic teaching and therefore bound to be a relief for  those fearing that the Pope was going to alter Church teaching in an unorthodox manner on such issues as abortion and gay marriage.  The economic portions, all too often, read like warmed over Peronism, the disastrous and amorphous political ideology that has helped make Argentina, fated to be a very rich nation in the 19th Century, an economic basket case.  Much more next week after PopeWatch has digested the Thanksgiving turkey and examined Evangelii Gaudium in greater detail.


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  1. Wake me when he publishes a wordor two about zeal for the glory of God, zeal for the salvation of souls, the forgiveness of sins . . .

    It’s as if statist governments, central planners, command economists for the past 150 or so years have not been tearing away at private enterprise and property [sigh] . . .

    And,this pope still blames the free market????

    Socialism produces the same results everywhere: In the Argentine breadbasket, the regime moves to jail “hoarders” as bread prices soar. Bloomberg: “Argentina plans to apply a law that forces holders of wheat and flour suitable for bread making to sell stock on the domestic market in a bid to contain inflation.” (Instapundit)

    David Galland interview on Argentina at Zero Hedge: It is like a textbook case in government gone mad.

    “They have stolen the retirement accounts, devalued the currency, and put capital controls in place. There are trade controls so that people can’t import necessities into the country, but instead, have to manufacture them locally, with the government giving monopolies to their friends. They have price controls, which force the local supermarkets to not raise their prices. This will ultimately lead to shortages. And, there are already shortages of certain items. They didn’t like an opposition newspaper, so they nationalized the newsprint manufacturing industry. In fact, just about every single thing that you could do to screw up a country, they have done. It is comical to see the extremes they have gone to. For example, in Argentina, if you publish an inflation statistic that differs from of the official government numbers, you could be hit with a $100,000 fine. I had never heard of this anywhere else – except maybe in communist Russia. They are really completely out of control and the country is spinning off into la-la-land. Frankly, I love living right in the midst of all of it.”

    “In the case of Argentina, and the United States as well, it is a testament to the legacy strengths of the country – minerals, an educated population, agricultural land in abundance, energy resources – that despite a history of bad governance, the economy is still remarkably robust. People living outside of the country would be forgiven, based on the media reporting, for thinking the place is a basket case – but, against all odds, it isn’t. To a large extent that is because the government’s policies have chased much of the economic activity underground.”

  2. Folks,

    A friend on Facebook pointed out the following which places the translation of the economic sections of Evangelii Gaudium in question. While and the controlled version for Papal documents is invariably in Latin (and I know Latin), I cannot find on the Vatican web site the Latin version of Evangelii Gaudium, so I cannot verify what this person says (below). Yet what he writes is credible. The bottom line is this: believe nothing any Vatican translator provides. Get the original Latin and find out for yourself. If you don’t know Latin, then I am sure there are people here at TAC who do.


    Once again, translators of Papal documents put a liberal progressive spin on the translation – that is no surprise:

    “Here’s one just ONE compare ‘n’ contrast (in Evangelii Gaudium), adding some emphasis to underscore that what you’ve seen “ain’t necessarily so.”

    Official English Version

    54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.

    Correct English Translation

    54. In this context, some still defend “spillover” theories which suppose that ALL economic growth, FOR WHICH A FREE MARKET IS [MOST] FAVORABLE, *BY ITSELF* brings about greater equity and social inclusion in the world.

    Note the mistranslation is both very powerful and yet very subtle, carefully guarding its semantic lines of retreat…plausible deniability, if you will. The “tell” or smoking gun is the it-can’t-be-an-accident exclusion of the phrase “by itself.” When I noticed the translator had excised it (not just “rendered it poorly”) my antennæ began to flutter violently. To my mind it changes the entire complexion of the whole section.

    This points not to, say, the USA but rather, places like China and Russia where economic growth is divorced from moral concerns and human liberties. If economic growth ALONE were the mechanism for greater justice, etc. then Russia and China would have exhibited that, and (duh) obviously they don’t. The issue is not “wealth is bad” but that “wealth WITHOUT MORAL UNDERPINNINGS is bad.””

  3. To continue, why is the controlled Latin version of Evangelii Gaudium NOT here?


    And why is Adhortationes Apostolicae not linked here?


    That’s not the case with Ioannes Paulus II or Benedictus XVI or any of the rest of the modern Pontiffs. But it is with Francis. Why?

    This is very odd. The Latin text is supposed to be the controlled document. In my field – nuclear power – the phrase controlled document has a special meaning. It means that it’s that one special document version that is the only authoritative version and the only version permissible for technicians, operators and engineers to use in nuclear power plant work. The Church has an analogous arrangement with using Latin for its controlled documents. So why is the Latin for Evangelii Gaudium missing?

    Could it be that the Latin says something different than the English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese versions? Could it be that some people in the Vatican with a liberal progressive agenda want to spin the facts and twist the meaning to advance their false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price? Or am I just being a right wing Neanderthal?

  4. How long will people keep insisting the Francis 1 is being ‘misinterpreted’? No he is not being misinterpreted. He simply spurns simple declarative sentences, and chooses instead to spout ambiguities at every given opportunity. His purpose in doing so is to create ample wiggle room so that, when his ideas are attacked in a credible way, he can back out of any charge that sticks, and be free to confuse in another way at another time. We are not dealing with an honest man. Rather, one who indeed is ambitious for his own ends, not necessarily those of Christ’s true Church. This man needs to be put in the context of what is happening all around us. Let’s work to face reality and connect the dots.

  5. Barbara Jensen

    It was the ecclesiastic and statesman, Talleyrand, who famously remarked, « La parole a été donné à l’homme pour déguiser sa pensée » [Speech was given to man to conceal his thoughts], although he may have had Voltaire in mind, who said « ils ne se servent de la pensée que pour autoriser leurs injustices, et emploient les paroles que pour déguiser leurs pensées » (Le Chapon et la Poularde)
    [Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts]

  6. The language in which Evangelii Gaudium was written is Spanish and not Latin. All other versions, including the Latin text, are and will be translations. That an official text from Rome does not originate in Latin is no longer novel. The Catechism’s original language was French, and all first translations came from that edition. The later Latin typica text became the official text because it actually nuanced a few paragraphs and added some new material to keep up with the actual magisterium of Blessed Pope John Paul II. I am sure there will be a Latin translation soon, but there is no plot to suppress the original Latin text. Conspiracy theorists can get an extra portion of turkey today 🙂

    I do not speak, read or write Spanish ( I misjudged and had 12 years of French way back when :-)) I therefore cannot comment on the accuracy of the English translation. Even if I was fluent in Spanish I would be very reticent of making a fast judgment on the translation-unless it was of such nature as that j’joke of an interview with that Italian editor winging it based on his memory. However, having already read the economic portion of the Exhortation-which is within the context of proclaiming the Gospel to the poor ( this Exhortation is not an exercise of the social teaching of the Church)-I want to strongly affirm the meaning or sense that Paul Primavera has shared: it is not wealth that is bad in itself but ‘ wealth without moral underpinnings” ( and I would add: ‘responsibility’

    We all know, even from Scripture that translation can be tricky issue, if not a betrayal of the author. Take for example Paul’s well known economic teaching in his Letter to Timothy. According to the most common rendition, “Money is the root of all evil” Wow, This proves what I have always suspected about him. He is a radical Marxist not only interested in subverting the sacred traditions of circumcision , kosher laws and ( gasp!) breaking down the barriers Jew and Gentile, male and female, but (gasp!!) the necessary barriers between slave and free!! He must be a secret Spartacan! Paul’s whole point has been from the start, is to subvert the authority and economy of the Roman Empire! Anyone can see this! We just can’t trust him! He comes from that backwater of the Empire, Tarsus, where Cleopatra sailed into its harbor a century before Paul, to attempt to disassociate th eastern portion of the Roman Empire from Rome. See? It all is connected!

    Or is it? Paul actually wrote, “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. That changes everything doesn’t it? Although to be honest, the real statement gives little comfort for anyone overly attached to money, or anyone whose first impulse is to protect any economic system from the critique of the Gospel.

    Pope Francis, who.even in this Exhortation on transforming the Church according to the needs of Her mission to evangelize, states categorically his pro life credentials, writes that the recent world wide economic crisis was not an economic crisis but a human crisis, one based on the failure to respect the dignity of the human person. If this is perceived by some as problematic or worse, can we really have heard Evangelium Vitae? Doesn’t respect for each person from the moment of conception until natural death mean more than simply being anti abortion or anti euthanasia, as important as these themselves are?

    Pope Francis also states, “Money must serve not rule ( or have dominion)”. For a people who confess that “Jesus is Lord” and proclaim ” Jesus Christ is King” ( not Marx or Adams, Keynes or Wall Street) is this really so radical?


  7. Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving to all. Yesterday I had Lush Bimbo on and he ranted and carried on so bad about the Pope’s latest “teaching”. I read the whole thing and it could well be “misinterpreted” as a bash on capitalism. However I just wish the Holy Father would really think about how he words everything. Did he even really write this or as was suggested above was it “interpreted” in a different way by those in different cultures. It should not be this way. Again the “confusion” created by the evil one through these “misinterpretations” is very disheartening. Diabolical, Diablo. “Prowling about the world seeking the ruin of souls.”

  8. @Jeanne Rohl: In my opinion, there’s been far, far too many statements and actions by this Holy Father that would support my (and many others) feeling that he means exactly what he says, at least in that moment. My concern is not only about some of the outrageous things he says, but that then the next day, say something that contradicts what he said the previous day. Not making a correction to what he had previously said, mind you, just making a new statement that happens to contradict what he’d said. Or so it seems. Part of the problem is that he’s incredibly vague. In almost everything I read of his statements, I’m left thinking “what does he mean by that?” or “who is he referring to?”

    I don’t think he’s reading someone else’s words at all. This is him. Which begs the question, many questions, actually. Does he know the Catholic Faith? Does he think dogmas and teachings were changed with Vatican II? Does he know the role of Vicar of Christ, i.e., salvation of souls, as opposed to worldly issues? I know the Popes have and should make pronouncements regarding worldly issues relating to the poor, just treatment of workers, speak out against persecution of Christians, abortion, etc., but he just strikes me as one who doesn’t give a lot of thought to what he’s saying, or he’s not very bright, God forgive me for saying that.

  9. Happy Thanksgiving Jeanne,

    We know these facts: this Apostolic Exhortation was written in Spanish. Everything else is translation. The Exhortation incorporates many propositions, from the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. These are specifically referred to in the footnotes. The portion of the Exhortation referenced above on the economy ( and apparently referred to by Rush Limbaugh-I don’t listen to him, so I did not hear him- only the reports of what he said) is actually a small part of the whole Exhortation. The section actually is addressing the evangelization of the poor.

    If there is an issue of translation it will soon be rectified, we can be sure of that. However, in reading this relatively short portion of the Exhortation I did not really hear anything that struck me from the Catholic perspective. The comments of the pope might surprise an American completely committed to a particular ideology and/or economic perspective; I am sure it would surprise non Catholic readers. However, if read within the whole corpus of Catholic Social Teaching, and here I. Would reference the several encyclicals of Blessed John Paul, and the one social teaching encyclical of Pope Benedict, I simply do not find anything shocking, earthshaking etc.

    I will repeat my agreement with the comment by Paul Primivera that it’s meaning is that it is not wealth that is bad but wealth without moral underpinnings. I am sure you would agree that there is nothing shocking about that. Pope Francis puts it succinctly: ” Money should serve, not rule”. This actually is a great synthesis of the Gospel perspective on economics

    (If anyone continues wondering about Catholic Social doctrine, go to the Catechism and see what and how the Church teaches in this important area. In sum? “Thou shalt not steal”. This goes against so called progressive economics as much as against more traditional laissez faire economics)

  10. In preparation for his show, Rush Limbaugh reads many newspapers and watches television shows (although MSNBC not so much if I recall properly). His understanding of what the Pope said came from the Washington Post. Rush admits he is not a Catholic (and does not appear to know the name of the document, or the document type). He said “Now, I’m not Catholic. Up until this, I have to tell you, I was admiring the man.” (The man in question being Pope Francis.) He was “totally befuddled.”

    Later on in the show, he too, talked about the Pope’s words being “mistranslated.” In fact, he seems to have been quite taken by the idea that “the left” deliberately mistranslated so as to further its government-controlled economic agenda. And he noted that the Pope seems to have a history of his remarks being “mistranslated.”

  11. I see nothing in the Holy Father’s words that derogate from the limitations placed on the public authorities by Pope Paul VI in his 1967 encyclical, Populorum Progressio: “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity. But they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights.”

  12. This is a FYI. I received info that the Vatican site took down ( the English translation of) Evangelii Gaudium. No reason given for the action. However, as discussed above, if the translation was inaccurate, it has come to the attention of higher authorities in the Vatican and dealt with.

    If indeed the translation was faulty, the problem lies within the Curia ( used in the broadest meaning). Whether carelessness, ineptitude or the translator’s own ‘interpretation’, the fault lies in the Curia. I don’t believe anyone could argue that the Curia does not need a radical overhaul

  13. The version that you can just click to and read on the website appears to be down. The PDF file, however, is still there (and I assume it is the same translation.) Since most people (computers) have Acrobat Reader, it wouldn’t slow them down much. Not sure about iPods and Smartphones, however, if they can handle a PDF file.


  14. Before this pope I already was struggling to keep a good sense of trust in our Church leaders… there has been misdirection, misleading in seminary formation, naive ineptitude really. Which has led to whole parishes full of people being misled.

    The Church is not leading the culture but following it like a dog with its tail down.
    It seems like the liberal priests nuns and Catholic leaders don’t understand what they are doing. How important it is to safeguard the treasure we’ve inherited and are rapidly losing.
    After a Catholic funeral Wed I overheard this:
    ” Oh yeah we were Catholic- all the kids were baptized here. We go to the Lutheran church now. The words are almost exactly the same.” (I know which Lutheran church he meant- mega, and they have stadium seating with cup holders)

    We were in a different area and went to Mass Thanksgiving morning. I don’t have time here to describe to you how liberal and protestant the mass was.
    I want to trust Francis; I do trust God. But now it seems the liberals have voted in one of their own kind.
    I don’t think God will let it get too out of hand, but I wonder if Evangelii Gaudium feeds meat to the people who are subverting the mission of the Church. Someone who thinks deeply like Michael Paterson and Botolph have the intellectual underpinnings not to be flummoxed– but there are LOTS of “low information” Catholics out here.
    I guess our prayer could be for clarity of thought. Fulton Sheen pray for us.

  15. “Someone who thinks deeply like Michael Paterson and Botolph have the intellectual underpinnings not to be flummoxed– but there are LOTS of ‘low information’ Catholics out here.”

    Quite true. The overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics know neither Sacred Scripture nor the Catechism. Most would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between Joel and Jonah, Elijah and Elisha, Eli and Samuel, let alone be able to discuss intelligently the issues raised in Evangelii Gaudium. Ignorance is the current hallmark of the majority of the population of the Roman jurisdiction. Sad. Very sad, considering the monumental intellectual legacy left to us by the depository of the Faith.

  16. Anzlyne,

    While I appreciate your compliment, faith is a gift, which I am sure you have, from the comments you have made on this blog. Our Catholic Faith is a whole and a Catholic cannot pick and choose, like a supermarket, what we buy or don’ buy. We are going through two coinciding vast changes. Our Western Civilization and culture are going through a profound change. It is hard to envision how it will turn out, or even if it will have a good end.

    The Church is undergoing through a vast change ( and I would encourage you or anyone to read George Weigel’s “Evangelical Catholicism” for insights on this change) as well. The difference between the two changes is that Christ is Risen, has conquered sin and death, and has promised and given the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth to the Church. This is the Mystery of Pentecost. Christ has promised us that the Church built on Peter will not be able to be conquered by the forces of hell.

    While I am often seen as ” defending” Pope Francis on this blog. I am not a person who cannot see weaknesses or imperfections in a pope. I saw them in Blessed John Paul, soon to be a saint ( in his case his vision was so vast that he had little time nor desire to ” waste his energy” on matters in the Curia. Pope Benedict, I believe also to be a saint and brought out once and for all a true interpretation of the Council in the hermeneutic of continuity and reform as well as showing that the first and fundamental Constitution of VII was on Divine Revelation. Nonetheless, through his appointments, the papal diplomatic service in the world became ” problematic” to say the least. Misstatements caused real difficulties with Moslems and even some distancing with Judaism. The man as Cardinal and then Pope attempted to bring healing and reconciliation to the relationship with the Society of Pope Pius X, sadly to no avail. No matter how he tried he just could not stop the implosion going on in the Curia. While too early to come to a real grasp of Pope Francis’ ministry, I will be the first one to say not all has gone well. However, on the major, substantial issues, in doctrine and discipline and in his collaboration style I give him pretty high marks. Nonetheless, I recognize that while we have had ( and I believe have a ) good popes, I fully realize we have had bad popes-very bad popes- yet the gates of here’ll did not prevail.

    It is faith in Christ’s commitment to and union with the Church- not on the strengths and talents of individuals that keeps me Catholic. It is that same faith that keeps me at peace on a very deep level when I see strengths, weaknesses and yes even sin in the members of the Church, ordained or not.

    Hope this helps

  17. Botolph writes, “I fully realize we have had bad popes-very bad popes- yet the gates of hell did not prevail.”

    Whilst that is certainly true I draw still greater comfort from the way in which the Church has not only survived, but flourished under a great many rather indifferent ones.

    From Sixtus V, who died in 1590, to Leo XIII, who was elected in 1878, we had a virtually unbroken succession of popes, who had risen through the ranks of the Vatican bureaucracy and who were, by habit, taste and training, administrators. The sole exception, Benedict XIV, better remembered today as Prospero Lambertini, the great canon lawyer, can fairly be ranked with Innocent IV as a canonist and with Leo X and Clement VII for his learning and he appears as a giant in that age of pygmies.

    It is not unfair to describe the result as one of assiduous mediocrity. Even in Catholic countries, they had the same impact and the same popular appeal, as the average Secretary-General of the United Nations or President of the World Bank. Pio Nono was popular because he was pitied.

    Thirty popes and not a Leo or a Gregory, a Hildebrand or an Innocent III amongst them; the very suggestion seems absurd. Meanwhile, we had the Church riven by the Thirty Years War, the Quietist controversy, the Jansenist heresy, the Gallican controversy, Josephism, the suppression of the Jesuits, the French Revolution and its aftermath, and the Risorgimento, in none of which can the Holy See be said to have distinguished itself.

    Yet it was also the Church of St Francis de Sales, St John Eudes, St Vincent de Paul, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St Louis de Montfort and countless other saints, who formed the devotional life of generations of Catholics

  18. Really great discussion here! Thank You all. As I have said before, I go to the Sacrifice of the Mass. I receive the Sacraments and know that God alone will give us direction. The line about “Evita” really cracked me up. Now I will have that in my head all day! It is very hard this “defending” of the faith, with all of the sidewinders wanting to take it down. whether it is intentional or ” misinterpreted” it certainly is a challenge. As a young woman many years ago teaching CCD in the most traditional of forms, our priest at the time, God Bless His Soul, Father Tom Mannion from Ireland, whom we referred to as “Bishop Sheen”( of the Diocese of Lacrosse) after his dramatic show of “breathing hard” because I was taking up so much of his “air” by having so many children, would just roar in his Irish brogue, “Jeanne Rohl, my god woman, you’re more Catholic than the Catholic Church!” And I would just smile and say, “Thank you Father”! Boy did we have some deep deep discussions. God Bless

  19. Thou shalt not steal. But, who, whom? In Venezuela, Maduro is convinced that businessmen are stealing from the poor by marking up prices. He will correct their error by imposing price controls.

    Everything in the Holy Father’s words would seem to encourage Maduro, who thinks it’s “private initiative and intermediary organizations” that have failed. He is merely appropriately restraining the “absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.” Right?

    As per T. Shaw’s update on Argentina, I excerpt a Reuter’s article on Maduro’s latest efforts:
    Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said a stricter wave of inspections for suspected price-gouging would begin on Saturday in an aggressive pre-election “economic offensive” aimed at taming the highest inflation in the Americas.
    “We’re not joking, we’re defending the rights of the majority, their economic freedom,” Maduro said on Friday, alleging price irregularities were found in nearly 99 percent of 1,705 businesses inspected so far this month.
    Maduro, who has staked his presidency on preserving the legacy of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, launched a theatrical – and often televised – wave of inspections this month to force companies to reduce prices.
    He says “capitalist parasites” are trying to wreck Venezuela’s economy and force him from office….
    “The inspections are continuing daily and have let us see into the under-world of capitalism,” Maduro said in his latest speech to the nation, warning of severe sanctions starting Saturday against businesses maintaining unjustifiably high prices.
    Government officials say companies have been marking up prices by as much as 1,000 percent over cost, though many retailers say they have been forced to hike prices sharply due to lack of access to foreign currency at the official rate….
    The leader of Venezuela’s main business group Fedecamaras, Jorge Roig, said this week the government’s erroneous economic policies and excessive controls risk setting up the nation for a dire 2014 of shortages and stagnation.
    Roig accused policymakers of “improvisation” in the face of growing economic distortions and insisted that businesses nationalized in the Chavez era were operating at half capacity, while only 2 percent of expropriated land was productive.
    “Mr. Jorge Roig, you have just declared economic war on the country,” Maduro retorted on Friday.

  20. Tamsin

    Chavez was no friend to the Church when he was in full power. Like all other “statists” who see complete and absolute hegemony by the State, he saw the Church as a constant threat. It was really only in his terminal illness, faced with a much more powerful absolute, that he made some peace with the Church. What his successor is doing with the Church I am not as aware.

    As one of the Catholic leaders in Latin America who, while still keeping ” the preferential option for the poor”, Bergoglio worked to undo the damage the extreme aspects of Liberation Theology had worked within the Church in Latin America.

    It is important to read Pope Francis in a Catholic perspective, a perspective of faith, and not an ideological one that sees only two real choices: either socialist statism or completely unfettered financial/market forces.
    Once ‘possible’ translation issues are dealt with, the question is “How do the comments of Pope Francis continue and/or deepen earlier social/economic teachings of the Church

  21. Pope Francis never saw unfettered capitalism in Argentina. Never.

    Argentina should be a wealthy country but it is a basket case because of its citizens and who they have put in power. Argentina has the world’s seventh largest economy in 1900. During WWII, Argentina had Axis sympathies and let Nazis into the country. They elected Peron who nearly destroyed the country.

    Kinda strange how Chile has made capitalism work and Argentina always shoots itself in the foot.

    Venezuela is another basket case. Keep ’em poor and dumb and they fall for class warfare – anywhere.

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