Pope Francis’ Unwelcome Gift


The Catholic blogosphere has been buzzing since last Thursday when the “Communist crucifix” was presented as a gift to Pope Francis by Morales. Everyone has been questioning the underlying intention of the President of Bolivia in giving this blasphemous symbol of ‘atheistic-communism-merged-with-the-Crucified-Saviour’, to the Vicar of Christ. Did Morales think the Pope would like his gift and sympathise with its symbolism? Or was he cunningly out to trick him and place him in an awkward position?

What do you think the Pope should have done? Smash the evil symbol to the ground? Hand it back again to the [apparently] anti-Catholic Bolivian President with a polite, “No, thank you!” Or respond with a resounding, “Get out! Get out! The Catholic Faith is a gift from Almighty God and I will not have you polluting it. GET OUT!”, like the ‘Catholic warrior-for-truth’, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, when finding himself in a similar situation?

Communism has been the cause of countless millions of deaths of Christians, both actively and passively (through starvation and exile), unimaginable suffering and tortures, that not even violent Islam with its wars and ongoing jihadism has been able to rival. Even now, the scars of past Communist horrors and its satanical ideology are still being felt in countries many years after its regime has been all but eradicated.

The Eponymous Flower shrewdly notes: “Undoubtedly, many martyrs were “crucified” on the hammer and sickle in the twentieth century, but just what was the true intention of the Bolivian President Evo Morales? We have no answers to give, but we can pray for all the victims of Communism, asking the intercession of all the saints and blessed who have given their lives for the Church and who were martyred in supreme hatred of the faith from the children of the worst of Marxist ideologues in the name of class struggle that has nothing to do with the Gospel and with the message of salvation contained in it.”

Catholics from various Hispanophone countries rejected Morales’ gesture, considering it an outright offense to the numerous victims of terrorist groups in Latin America and of the historical totalitarian communist regimes. Spanish Bishop Jose Munilla Aguirre of San Sebastián, tweeted: “The height of arrogance is to manipulate God in the service of atheistic ideologies … Today, once again: #ChristCrucified”.

The Rev. James Bretzke, a theologian at Boston College in Massachusetts, asks: “Does this seem to be using the Crucifix for political agenda? And I would say the answer is probably yes. Therefore, I would judge it personally in bad taste and especially manipulative to present it to the Holy Father in a situation like that where it clearly hadn’t been cleared ahead of time.”

It would seem that Pope Francis himself, who appeared to register surprise when the polemic gift was presented to him, reflected it was “in bad taste” too. As Andrea Tornelli reports in Vatican Insider, he left the gift behind in Bolivia!

This morning Francis lay the two presidential honours he received Wednesday from President Evo Morales in La Paz, at the feet of Our Lady of Copacabana. One of these featured the hammer and anvil with a carving of a crucifix

Before leaving Bolivia, Francis placed two gifts he received on Wednesday from President Evo Morales at the foot of a statue of Mary. One of these, a chain with a chunky medallion, had the figure of the crucified Christ carved into a wooden hammer and anvil. This image had been drawn by Fr. Luis Espinal, the Jesuit priest who was assassinated in Bolivia in March 1980.”

For anyone who might have missed it, Fr Z has written two insightful and interesting (as always) pieces on this controversial incident, both here – and then asking where is “the liberal ‘c’atholic anger at insult to the Pope and the Church?” here.

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10 Responses to Pope Francis’ Unwelcome Gift

  1. Rudy Carrera says:

    What a disgusting little man Morales is, to try and provoke the Pope in this manner. Indeed, he should have responded in the manner of Good Fr. Sheen.


  2. Gee, maybe it’s supposed to portray the fact that Jesus loves everyone and he died on the cross for all of us. Maybe that’s all and perhaps instead of ascribing motives to Morales, he should have been asked what it means to him.


  3. johnhenrycn says:

    I think we can make a reasonably accurate guess concerning the motives of the atheist communist. What is it about the hammer and sickle symbol that you don’t understand? What if Morales had presented Pope Francis with a medallion in the shape of a pentagram with the head of a goat inside it ? Would you get the symbolism of that? On the other hand, I concede it’s also possible that Morales is simply as thick as a brick.


  4. GC says:

    Perhaps he should have just the Bolivian equivalent of fedexed it to Francis, given the circumstances, and with a lovely explanatory note.

    This fellow seems to like playing funny buggers with everyone. Even the Marxist heavy lifting he seems to leave to others in his government while he attempts to come across as “enigmatic” or “complex”, or something like that. Really cute.

    It appears though that more Bolivians have a higher appreciation of the Church and her work in Bolivia than of him.


  5. kathleen says:

    Ginny, don’t be fooled! The crucifix by itself portrays just that: the love of Jesus for Mankind in this His Eternal Sacrifice offered to the Father for our Redemption. Nothing at all needs to be added to this ancient symbol of Christianity.
    The hammer and sickle, on the other hand, is a symbol of tyranny, persecution and murder. Over 100 million Christians have been put to death by those who stand under this sign of atheistic Communism. Presenting this object twisted together – the Sacred with the satanical – was a blatant act of provocation and blasphemy on the part of Morales.


  6. geoffkiernan says:

    Morales as thick as a Brick? Don’t think so….more like dumb as a fox. He saw the Holy Father coming. Its a Pity the Holy Father didn’t see him coming. Blinded by all that misplaced mercy, perhaps?


  7. kathleen says:

    @ Geoff

    Perhaps. 😉

    You have probably noticed that many good Catholic bloggers have taken a different interpretation on the Pope’s reaction to this provocation, and are far more indignant on Pope Francis’ apparent indifference… or even his acquiescence!! I do not say they are wrong, but because we cannot be sure of what Pope Francis’ inner thoughts were, and we only have these televised images to go by, I thought it would be fairer to leave the question open, even if we feel he should have protested at that moment… and LOUDLY.

    Here are a few examples:

    http://www.onepeterfive.com/the-communist-crucifix-a-golden-opportunity-for-pope-francis/ (A very interesting article with more background on the rebel Jesuit who designed the blasphemous object.)



    and I really like this one that gives the voice of former great Popes on the question of atheistic Communism:


  8. Robert says:

    The mystical body of Christ is His Church and the Passion of the Church under Atheistic Socialism/Modernism/Communism the hammer and the sickle.
    Now the Pope has to place Christ first. Loves Thou me more than the Rest. He can’t bow to Mecca! He can accept the mark of a pagan God on his forhead. The point is avoiding the occasions of SIN.
    That’s is the yardstick of measuring this. Avoiding the Occasions of Sin and Placing Christ first.
    The Cardinals Red represents the Blood of martyrdom. Many are called few are chosen.
    What a weak and vacillating Curia in Rome!


  9. Michael says:

    Just read a worrying extract (first comment under the main article) from Pope Francis’ press conference on the plane back from Paraguay, where he discusses the Hammer-Sickle-Crucifix incident – worrying insofar as he not only passes up the opportunity to clearly criticise the ‘gift’ from Morales, and says that he took it back with him to Rome, but also in that he clearly states the centrality of Marxism in Fr. Espinal’s thinking, yet does nothing to criticise that:


    The eighth comment (14th July @ 1:46 AM) also provides some useful insight, and the full text of the press conference (linked to in the first comment) makes clear, if we didn’t know already, how much of a problem the Holy Father thinks capitalism is (the source of all the world’s problems pretty much, whereas socialist policies in Latin America have done nothing but good apparently…) He does admit at a couple of points how little he actually knows about global economics, but that doesn’t seem to stop the arrows flying towards free trade.


  10. Robert says:

    Its no me they have to convince is God. But woe to those who scandalise these little ones!


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