People on various internet platforms are still expressing their dismay and confusion over the pope’s alleged denial of the divinity of Christ, as conveyed by the Italian journalist and former politician, Eugenio Scalfari. We are certainly at a disadvantage when trying to suss out what the pope “means” by the often strange things he says. First, we normally get his pronouncements second- or even thirdhand, and invariably translated. So when a person like Eugenio Scalfari produces another bombshell editorial claiming to relate something the pope told him, we are almost at a loss. We behave like a flock of partridges being shot at by unseen bird-hunters — a great deal of panicked fluttering and confusion and running about in circles, pecking each other.
To understand the apparently strange reality of the Scalfari-Francis connection, there are a lot of cultural obstacles to get past as well — namely, that we “Anglo-sassone” are not Italians and do not have the mindset that allows us to instantly grasp the political implications and nuances that come naturally to them. We have to translate not only the verbal language, but the social, cultural, and political language as well.
The first thing to know is who and what Scalfari is and what he represents. To Italians, Scalfari is important not so much for the fiddling, picayune details of the things he says — which he admits are often the products of his 95-year-old memory — but for his position as the patriarch of Italy’s extreme political left.
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