What Did the Pope Not Say?

773px-Pieter_il_Giovane_Bruegel_The_Seven_Acts_of_Charity - Copy

A Jesuit-trained blogger, fluent in both “native” English and Spanish, translated anew Pope Francis’s recent publication Evangelii Gaudium. It’s not surprising that many have concluded that the “official” translation distorted the Pope’s meaning, especially with regard to “trickle down economics.”  JMG wrote:

The Pope’s message has been very significantly altered by a calamitous English (and ONLY the English) translation. 

JMG suggests that “mistranslation” was done on purpose to seemingly give the Pope’s blessing to progressive policies (in my opinion, to Marxist, redistributionist policies as imposed by governments).

JMG helpfully re-translated the exhortation to show exactly what the Pope did NOT say.  Below are a few examples from paragraphs that are quoted by progressives. They’re copied here so that readers can more easily understand exactly how the Pope’s words were distorted.  Please go to the link to read the entire translation.  I look forward to JMG’s promised analysis of what the Pope DID say.

The original translation:

53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

JMG’s translation:

53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. It should no longer be tolerable for food to be thrown away while people are starving. This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes to a game of competition and “might makes right”, where the strong feed upon the weak. As a consequence of this situation, great masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without prospects, without any way out.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods which can be used and then discarded. We have started a “disposable” culture which is now being promoted. It is no longer about the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression, but something new. With exclusion the belongingness to society is affected at its roots. One is no longer at the bottom, at the periphery or powerless; rather, one is outside. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the discards, the “leftovers.”

The original translation:

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. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

JMG’s translation:

54. In this context, some 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. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve confidence in the generosity of those who wield economic power and in the sacralized mechanisms of that ruling economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that egotistical ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without warning, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion for others, [of] weeping at the anguish of others, and [we end up] being disinterested in helping care for them, as though all this were an alien responsibility which does not concern us. The culture of wellbeing anesthetizes us; we lose our composure if the market offers something we have not yet purchased; and in the meantime all those lives truncated for lack of [economic] possibilities seem a mere spectacle, which in no way alters us.

The original translation:

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

JMG’s translation:

55. One of the causes of this situation is found in the relationship we have established with money, since we passively accept its predominance over ourselves and our societies [Kindly note the plural, “societies”; it is key to understanding he is talking about human values and not specific, individual systems.] The financial crisis we are traversing has made us forget  the fact that it originated in a profound anthropological crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) found a new and ruthless version in the fetishism of money and the dictatorship of an economy lacking a [human] face and a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

The original translation:

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

JMG’s translation:

56. While the earnings of a few are growing exponentially, those of the majority lag behind the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance stems from ideologies which defend the absolute [Emphasis JMG’s.] autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation [Emphasis JMG’s.]. From there, they reject the right of states, entrusted to watch for the common good, to exercise any [Emphasis JMG’s.] form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and sometimes virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. [Emphasis JMG’s.] To all this we can add widespread corruption and egotistical tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The zeal for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything in order to yield increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the absolute rule.

If you read the two translations separately, you immediately sense the subtle (and at times not so subtle) alterations in meaning.  Nuance is everything, as is context.  Obviously, the original translation was not word for word; someone intervened to “editorialize”.  For example, consider this sentence from the original, followed by JMG’s translation: [my emphasis added]

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.

In this context, some defend “spillover” theories which suppose that all economic growth, for which a free market is favorable, by itself brings about greater equity and social inclusion in the world.

Quite a difference. This link goes to the original Spanish text of that sentence.

En este contexto, algunos todavía defienden las teorías del «derrame», que suponen que todo crecimiento económico, favorecido por la libertad de mercado, logra provocar por sí mismo mayor equidad e inclusión social en el mundo.

Run that through Google translate, and you get this:

In this context, some still defend theories of ‘spill’, which assume that all economic growth, favored by the free market, manages itself cause greater equity and social inclusion in the world.

Three other translators produce this:

In this context, some still defend the ‘spill’ theories, which assume that all economic growth, favoured by the free market, achieved by itself result in greater equity and social inclusion in the world.

In this context, some still defending the theories of the “spill”, implying that all economic growth, favored by the freedom of the market and achieved by itself cause greater equity and social inclusion in the world.

In this context, some of them still defend the theories of the “effusion”, which suppose that any economic growth favored by the freedom of market, achieves to provoke for itself major equity and social inclusion in the world.

The way words are translated from one language to another DO make a difference.  You can see for yourself the difference between “justice” and “equity”, can you  not?  Justice implies government action.  “Inclusiveness” is not the same as “social inclusion.”

All translations but the official one, include the caveat “by itself,” as in assuming that

all economic growth … by itself causes greater equity and social inclusion in the world.

You have to ask yourself why the official translation left that phrase out.  A tiny change, but a big change in meaning.

JMG links to an article at Breitbart, which points out that JMG

has also re-translated some of the expansive document’s other sections, including a paragraph that may not sit well with those in the Church who prefer to let others–governments, for example–get their hands dirty in caring for those in need (bottom of page 163 of the Spanish PDF):

207: Any community within the Church, to the degree it attempts to go its own tranquil way without without creatively making sure … of cooperating efficiently … in helping the poor to live with dignity and including all, also runs the risk of [self-] dissolution, however much it may talk about social issues or criticize governments. It will easily drift into a spiritually mundane [realm] camouflaged by religious practices, fruitless meetings and empty speeches.

I added the emphasis to the Pope’s words, as translated above by JMG, to point out that the Pope is putting the onus upon communities, upon individuals, within the Church.

Charity is the job of people, not governments. Simply talking about social issues and criticizing governments (note the plural) isn’t enough.  It’s every individual human being’s job to help the poor. It’s not enough to try to get your government to do it for you (and for everybody else, too), even if you succeed.  The sacrifice is yours to make.  You don’t get brownie points in heaven for stealing from others, even if you give what you stole to the poor.

That’s another lesson to be learned by Barack Obama, who (mis)cites the Pope as he strives to nationalize our entire economy and redistribute our wealth to those he deems to be deserving.

Yet Obama is not his own brother’s keeper.  Ask George Obama, who lives in a tin shack in Kenya.

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133 responses to “What Did the Pope Not Say?

  1. December 13, 2013

    “BREAKING! Investigator Mike Zullo speaks out on Fuddy death!”

    “Investigator Mike Zullo related to Gallups, “Sheriff Arpaio and I first want to express our deepest condolences to Ms. Fuddy’s family, and her friends, and to the people of Hawaii. We are aware that there are numerous Internet speculations of possible foul play in this situation. It appears to us, at this time, that the plane crash was simply a tragic and unfortunate accident.”

    Zullo went on to emphasize, “I can tell you this, though; our investigation into the Obama fraud case does not hinge on Ms. Fuddy. While her death certainly is a tragedy, it in no way hampers our investigation in this matter. If people truly believe that her untimely demise was somehow related to an attempt to silence her for ‘what she may or may not know,’ then there are several more people in Hawaii who should be very, very concerned. Again, I want to emphasize, Sheriff Arpaio and I do not, at this time, believe her death was connected to any nefarious circumstances.””

    http://ppsimmons.blogspot.com/2013/12/breaking-investigator-mike-zullo-speaks.html
    ===================
    ===================
    “It appears to us, at this time, that the plane crash was simply a tragic and unfortunate accident.””

    “Again, I want to emphasize, Sheriff Arpaio and I do not, at this time, believe her death was connected to any nefarious circumstances.””
    ———–
    … “at this time” …

    [Mike Zullo MUST say this NOW.]

  2. Dr.Carson …speaks to Oprah….

    • He’s just not very good at making himself understood. Another point: That anti-Tea Party MEME is getting on my last nerve. WHERE were the “Tea Party” jumping on the Pope’s words? Conservatives, maybe, BECAUSE THE PROGRESSIVE MEDIA DELIBERATLY MISTRANSLATED AND MISINTERPRETED AND MIS-PARAPHRASED what he said. Rush Limbaugh. These are NOT the “Tea Party”. They can’t make up their minds, btw. Do you notice? Pelosi and Reid celebrate the end of the Tea Party, and yet … There’s the Tea Party!

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