All the “Bergoglioisms” of Francis The Slang of Francis/3: A civilization that is “spannata”, has need of Christian hope

This is the third of the 17 articles on the slang words that Pope Francis uses in his speeches, homilies and writings.  This one was very interesting to translate!  You will see why in the bit of explanation in parenthesis I added at the beginning of the article below.  If this is the first of these articles that you have read, you might want to click here for the explanation at the beginning of the first article.  I have made it past the halfway mark in translating all 17 of these articles and it has been an interesting venture indeed!!….Reyanna

(As far as I can figure out from researching “spannata” and from the context of this article, it is a porteno slang word that conveys having gone beyond the limits.  Or as we say in America, it is “screwed up” with some putting that more strongly….RR)

Jorge Milia

“This global civilization has gone too far!” (“paso de rosca” was the phrase used.  It could also be translated “crossing the threads” or “cross-threaded”…RR) said the Pope to the youth of Rio de Janeiro.  Also here Papa Francesco has launched one of those “Argentinisms” that he has internalized in the years of his pastoral work as a simple priest.

In mechanics, when you twist a screw more than necessary, the thread (rosca) breaks and the screw begins to go around in circles, it has no more hold on the matter, is short on reality.  You say that it is “spannata”.  From here you will understand who coined this expression that is part of the language of the Argentines and of Papa Francesco in particular: the mechanics of the workshops in the neighborhoods.

When it is “paso de rosca”, it also means that you have crossed the line,  made so many laps around something, which has no reasons, you cannot see life clearly and life is on autopilot.  It is little important that the expression reflects drugs or alcohol, that are not so different than the abuse of power, money or of influence.  The result is the same: you no longer see reality, do not “grab” its real connotations,  it distorting or, exaggerating, cheapens, mortifying.

In Brazil, Papa Francesco focus the lens of those days from the moment he set foot on this beloved land: youth.  He was right in front of young people that relate to society, that worldly civilization that is “paso de rosca” and in his visit to the San Francesco Hospital of Rio, he painted clearly the crude reality: “Many merchants of death follow the logic of power and money at any cost.  The scourge of drug trafficking, that favors violence and sows sorrow and death, requires an act of courage of all of society.”

It was necessary the he said it in this way so that the youth and also those not so young understood: “This worldwide civilization is gone beyond every limit because it has created such a cult of money, that we are in the presence of a philosophy and of a practice of exclusion of the two poles of life that are the hope of a people: the young and the old.”  Those who were present on the spot remember well at these words, all present in the Cathedral fell silent.  Because the denunciation not only shocked those that have been denounced, it shook all.  Each felt in some way the weight of his own silence, of complicity for not having spoken, for not having done that “act of courage” that Papa Francesco showed as necessary.

Many thinkers indulge nowadays in analysis on a divided, confused, disintegrated, disconcerted, frustrated society and a thousand terms yet for justifying it to be “paso de rosca”.  The justification of its errors instead of recognizing and seeking forgiveness is a pathology with which you try to soften the effects without the need to confess the sin.  Francesco does not make it complicated, we have it clear:  “This civilization is gone beyond the limit.”


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