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On “Faggotry” with Pope Francis

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Secular media in English found it newsworthy to blast the Anglophone world about what the Pope might have said.

When asked at the Italian Bishops’ Conference if gay men should now be allowed to train for the priesthood as long as they remained celibate, Pope Francis said they should not.

He is then believed to have continued by saying in Italian that there was, in the Church, already too much of an air of frociaggine, which translates as a highly offensive slur [“faggotry”].

First of all, why is the secular world amazed by what might have happened? Is this “secular sin” so bad that even an allegation such as this is considered worthy of the BBC? It was so awful to them that they couldn’t even translate what the word means, but censored their own translation of it into merely a “highly offensive slur”? Does this mean their idol, Moloch, has been offended? Or is it their idol, money, that has been offended? Or their idol of the cult of man and the triumph of his will (“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”)? I’m not going to try to understand the BBC, but I found this post of theirs strange indeed.

But for Catholics, second of all, who cares? Popes come and Popes go. Some Popes say this, some Popes say that. As for you, says the Lord, follow me (Jn. xxi. 22). Catholic Sat had this to say:

Mr. Sammons, one of our contributing editors here at OnePeterFive, had another take:

Hear more of Sammons here:

“Faggotry” and Italians

For me, not being a native Italian speaker, I asked a few friends what this term frociaggine even means. How bad is it, really? One Italian friend summarised it like this: “It’s typical of someone who is gross and certainly doesn’t know his good manners.”

My Italian, Anglo-Canadian friend Kennedy Hall (another contributing editor, by the way), had this to say: “It’s not that bad. Another word that is used more often is finocchio which technically means fennel, but everyone calls everything finocchio, at least in Tuscany.” Kennedy also speaks Spanish, and he pointed this out to me:

[I]t’s like saying “fag,” but in Italy saying “fag” is like saying homo or ‘fairy.’ I mean they don’t care as much there. Swear words are sort of subjective. In Spanish lots of swear words aren’t really bad unless said in anger depending on context.

That’s interesting to me, because certainly in the Anglophone world, and certainly in these United States, the worst forms of vulgarity or profanity can never be uttered by anyone in public without grave offense. Is this the highest form of profanity to the BBC? If so, then their idol is certainly Moloch.

Revulsion, Modesty and Compassion

As Sammons said, no red blooded Catholic can disagree with what seems to have been said by the Holy Father, but did he cross the line with vulgarity? The sin of sodomy is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance. That means that heaven and earth react with revulsion. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and ye gates thereof, be very desolate (Jer. ii. 12). Thus we should feel this revulsion at this and other such sins, which seems to call for certain words that are themselves disgusting.

We are dealing with the Third Pornocracy here, and unless the Pope and Bishop finally clean it up, God Almighty will indeed send fire from heaven to cleanse the filth. Pope Francis, as Henry Sire has argued, seems to be The Dictator Pope, who says contradictory things to different groups in order to gain dominance over each. His idol is money and power, and I guess he’ll say anything to get that.

At the same time, the Holy Ghost in the New Testament speaks against vulgarity and profanity: put you also all away: anger, indignation, malice, blasphemy, filthy speech out of your mouth (Col. iii. 8). It is unbecoming for a Christian to use filthy language, which causes those who hear it to feel revulsion from the words used themselves. This seems to be part of the virtue of modesty in speech (II-II q168).

But as Hall notes above, vulgarity in different languages is very subjective. Even in English, certain words are acceptable in different contexts and some practicing Catholics use “hell” and “damn” and even “son of a bitch” and “shit” freely. I take a stricter view on the moral question here than some, and I teach my children to never say these words casually, but I have to admit that there’s a dubium in the moral tradition and no definitive answers, to my knowledge. (I’ve published articles that use “hell” and “damn” like this, but never the latter words.) Still, it would seem to me that the more excellent way (I Cor. xii. 31) is to avoid them completely.

Finally, we must not forget that the Sacred Heart of Jesus shed His Precious to save every soul which is afflicted by same-sex attraction, whether they are struggling against this sin or have swallowed the poison of Satan and are right now planning an idolatrous parade to blaspheme Sacred Heart Month. As the Blessed Apostle says, if meat scandalize my brother, I will never eat flesh, lest I should scandalize my brother (I. Cor. viii. 13). Therefore even if you’re not sinning by using the term “faggotry,” why would you choose to use a word that might cause scandal to anyone (scandal, says St. Thomas, means to create the occasion for your neighbour’s spiritual downfall). The lie peddled by Slim Jim Martin is that “the Church” has persecuted these souls and hates these people who self-identify with their own sin and call themselves “gay.” So using the word communicates to them that Slim Jim is right.

In all things, let us do what we can for the salvation of these poor souls, and support good Catholic apostolates like Courage International which – unlike Slim Jim Martin who truly hates these souls – acts with the love of Christ on this issue.

T. S. Flanders
St. Augustine of Canterbury

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