On shock talk, what if Pope Francis knows exactly what he’s doing?

(CRUX. John L. Allen Jr.).

 Barely had the original furor over Pope Francis’s use of a bit of anti-gay slang begun to subside when it emerged – at least according to never confirmed, but also never denied, media reports – that his May 20 commentary to the Italian bishops was actually even more off-color than initially believed. Not only had the pope used a vulgar Italian term roughly meaning “faggotry,” but, according to those reports, he also used another pejorative Italian term in the same conversation, checche, referring to stereotypically effeminate homosexual men, to suggest that even “semi-oriented” gays should be weeded out of Catholic seminaries. As if that weren’t enough, yet another bit of papal shock talk made the rounds a few days later, this one involving not gays but women. Once again according to media reports, Pope Francis told a group of recently ordained priests in Rome on May 29 that gossip – he used the colloquial Italian term chiacchiericcio, roughly meaning “petty little chatter” – is a “women’s thing,” adding, apropos of men, that “we wear the trousers, we have to say things.”

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