Friday, June 26, 2015

Guest columnist, Jimmy Achin' is pushing his shopping cart full of excuses for Francis!

It is wonderful to have such a confusing matter straightened out with such towering intellect.  Who says there is no clarity in the church today?  A big thanks Jimmy Achin' for filling in today on the Call Me Jorge... blog! 

The Olivétan Bible a.k.a. The Waldensian Bible

Frankie And The Waldensian Bible

by Jimmy Achin'

A reader writes:
I had never heard you address this on your show or Blog – it recently happened and you may not know about it.  But what gives about the story of Frankie kissing the Waldensian Bible?!  I’ve seen it mentioned on the blog, Call Me Jorge.  However, I don’t know the context of this event or any other details so I can only wonder what our Holy Father might have been thinking…   When the secular media is silent on these important matters, I know I can turn to you and Talmudic Answers for the Truth. Your thoughts?
This is the first time this question has come up, and I plan  (though I don’t have the faintest idea when) to cover it on my show , so here goes. . . .

First, I’ve reprinted the  picture of the event below so that people can see what is being talked about.

Based on the picture alone, I would not be sure what is happening. The book is ornate and could be something other than the Waldensian Bible. From the looks of it, it could be maybe even a Koran.
However, the moderator of the Waldensian Church–Eugenio Bernardini–was present at the meeting where the event occurred, and in an interview with Paolo Fucili of the Italian Catholic television channel, TV2000, he said the following:
Francis was very excited almost to the point of being overwhelmed at receiving another gift.  He was overcome with joy it wasn't another football [soccer] jersey!  Francis then kissed the Waldensian Bible.  Everyone was so happy by his humble presence at our little Waldensian church.  Francis gave each of us a spiritual hug before he prayed with us to our common father.

Eugenio Bernardini raving over Francis' visit & bible kissing

What, then, is one to make of the event?
It seems that there are a number of possibilities:
1) The TV2000it news agency misquoted Eugenio Bernardini.
2) Eugenio Bernardini was mistaken about what happened. It was not the Waldensian Bible but something else.
3) Frankie kissed the Waldensian Bible but didn’t know the nature of the book he was kissing.
4) Frankie kissed the Waldensian Bible and knew that this is what he was doing.
I would love to think that either option (1), (2), or (3) was the case, but I have no evidence that any of them was the case.
The most likely one of the three, to my mind, would be (3), because so far as I know, Frankie is not an French speaker and may not have understood the nature of the book that he was being presented with.
People shove all kinds of books into the pope’s hands at audiences, and if the pope was under the impression that the thing to do with a gift in Italian culture is to kiss it as a sign of respect to the one who gives the gift then he might have kissed it reflexively, not even understanding the nature of the book.
While this is possible, I think it likely that an interpreter explained the nature of the gift that was being given on this occasion. This still leaves the possibility that the pope kissed it as part of Italian politeness rather than as a gesture of respect for the book itself.
I have heard claims that in Italian culture that this is a typical gesture of respect for one giving a gift, but I have asked some German friends of mine whether this is the case in Italian culture and the answer was a definite "No." "The pope put his foot on the neck of all Italy with this action" was the response I was given. (Just to make things clear, putting your foot on the neck of someone is a bad thing in Italian culture.)
Still, the pope may have been under the mistaken impression that this was the appropriate thing to do when receiving a gift in their culture. He can’t be an expert on every culture in the world, and he could get this wrong.
Or maybe he didn’t.
Maybe he knew it was the Waldensian Bible and kissed it anyway, not as a customary gift giving response, but for some other reason.
What might that reason be?
It certainly wouldn’t be that he believes in the Waldensian heresies or believes that the heretical Waldensian religion is on a par with Christianity. If he believed either of these two things then he (a) wouldn’t be the earthly head of the Christian faith and (b) wouldn’t have approved the publication of Laudato si', which asserts that "nature is a magnificent book".
Any attempt to represent him as thinking one of those things doesn’t even get out of the gate.
So what might he have been thinking?
We’re only speculating here, but two things spring to mind as what Frankie might have been thinking:
1) The Waldensian Bible does contain some elements of truth and he might have wanted to honor the elements of truth it contains.
2) Showing respect in this way could foster world peace and interreligious harmony.

3) Being a bibliophile in addition to a kosher gourmand he was ecstatic to receive a Waldensian Bible he didn't have in his collection yet.  This excitement just bubbled out like the 'God of surprises'.
Of these three, I would conjecture that the second would have been uppermost in Frankie’s mind, though the first may not have been absent.
Frankie is a man who is enormously concerned with world peace and interreligious harmony. As a young man he lived through the horrors of middle class upbringing in Argentina where he might go for days at a time without his favorite drink Yerba mate.  At his first job he learned to love fashion, making clothes for his neighborhood Talmudists.  While still a teen he earned extra spending money as a gofer at a chem lab under his communist mentor, Esther Careaga.  Here he learned to appreciate  the struggles of young people of being gainfully employed and this had a lasting effect on his brain and his generation and their views about world and peace.  Moving on from a chemistry flunky to bouncer at a tango bar introduced him to the peripheries of sin which are constantly on his mind and his moving lips.  Going from night club enforcer to Jesuit was a natural progression for Frankie.
As a mature man he lived through the Dirty War that repeatedly brought the Argentina to the brink of  civil war, and this also had a permanent effect on him and his generation and their views about government and peace. The constant threat of civil war hung particularly heavily over Argentina–which was a chief battleground between communist revolutionaries and the rule of law –and it deeply impressed the "find peace at any cost" message on his generation.
As a result of the Dirty War, the peoples of Argentina were forced into an alliances with communists and atheists after centuries-long enmities had to be suppressed for the sake of common survival.  Negotiation became the key to survival in Argentina, and the same message was driven home in nearby South American countries.
With Vatican II closing , the passing of Nostra Aetate,  Dignitatis Humanae, etc...  many Jesuits of Frankie’s generation absorbed the idea that negotiation was paramount and could solve virtually any problem and Truth is what you make it.   Several years after the advent of the internet, only  tin-foil wearing bloggers who styled themselves 'Catholic' began to question this line of thought.  As if they were Pope!
As a result, as a man of his generation, Frankie–for the best of motives–may have overestimated both the need for and the utility of gestures such as the one exhibited in the Waldensian Bible-kissing event.
If Frankie did understand that the gift was a Waldensian Bible and if he wasn’t under the impression that kissing a gift was a standard response in Italian culture then I would suppose that he did so out of a desire to foster peace and interreligious harmony, but it would still have been a mistake to my mind.
The Waldensian Bible, whatever elements of truth it contains, also contains venomous attacks on the divinity of Christ and on Christian doctrine and these make it inappropriate for the Vicar of Christ to kiss it under any circumstances.
Frankie also may not have been attending to the gravity of the false elements in the Waldesian Bible. Even if he knew them, he may not have been thinking about them and may have acted on the spur of the moment, without fully thinking through his action.
Fortunately, the infallibility of the pope and the indefectibility of the Church do not extend to such actions. A pope is not attempting to make anything remotely like a dogmatic definition in an act of this nature. And so, however misguided the action may have been and however good the motives for it may have been, it would constitute an error that does not touch upon papal infallibility or ecclesial indefectibility.
It would be one of the mistakes that all fallen humans are heir to, even the vicars of Christ.

Jimmy Achin' has been bagging groceries and cleaning up spills in the aisles of Frank's ModMart since 2013.  Before that he worked at groß Ratz Superstore from 2005-2013 where he managed the Baloney department. He suffers from back aches due to his dedicated manual laboring.

Two more things jumped out about this story that the reactionary bloggers failed to notice.

First is what is the official name of the organization Frankie went to visit?

This translates into English as:
The Evangelical Waldensian Church 
Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches
Let's go back to the original name, Chiesa Evangelica Valdese.  A little known fact to geographically challenged bloggers is that people who live in the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland are referred to as Vaudois.  This is French, so how would one say the same thing in Italian?  Valdese!   It is like the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.  Everyone knows that the Africa in the title is a place and not a person.   Also, take note the Waldensian Church united with the Methodist Church.  So if one wants to be a stickler for details it's really a Methodist Church and we've always had good relations with the Methodists.
the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland

In the original story of Frankie kissing the Waldensian Bible, if that is what he did, it was mentioned that the forward was written by John Calvin.   So what!  This reformer is falsely besmirched and I covered that one before.   L'Osservatore Romano also recognized this fact and wrote that Calvin is to be praised and the Calvinist vision of the world, church, and society is not only good but very similar to the Catholic one.

John Calvin, theologian extraordinaire

Glad the final nail has been put into that coffin!

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  1. Jorge is good for Jimmy's income.Imagine all the people calling Jimmy for "answer's" on a daily basis? I bet he is exhausted trying to cover for Jorge.

  2. I used to tap dance but do so no longer. Wonder if Jimmy might want my old tappers?