All the “Bergoglioisms” of Francis The Slang of Francis/4: “Hagan lio”, because the Good News is not silent

Another in the series of articles I am translating from Italian on Francis’ interesting use of Argentine slang words, particularly “porteno slang.”  He is a colorful person not only in what he does but in his use and crafting of language….Reyanna

(“Hagan lio”=make or cause a noise, mess, although one translator stated that “hagan lio” has a stronger translation as “raise hell”…RR)

By Jorge Milia

September 27, 2013, Terre d’ America website

Make “lio” is an expression common on the lips of Argentines. They make “lio” when the children make noise, when the fans celebrate a victory, the teenagers do it willingly in their rooms, ignoring earphones, “hacen lio” when students celebrate a graduation, but making or causing “lio” demonstrators make the city of Buenos Aires a living hell blocking the streets to protest, or who wanting to be heard tout court, maybe with the typical “bombo” (drum) as when the Pope himself entered an audience with Argentine players not a little upsetting Vatican protocol.  To make or cause “lio” is a current term therefore, that Papa Francesco used in his dialogue with the youth of Rio de Janiero.  But with an application that makes it unique:  “I want to tell you what I hope as a consequence of World Youth Date:  I hope that there is noise (“lio”) (…) but I want noise (“lio”) in the dioceses, I want her to come out, I want the Church to come out on the streets (…).

He wants us to be “lio”, noise, sound, movement, that the young reclaim space in society, and, why not, also in the Church.  The churches are off—the Argentine pope seems to say—where Christians do no “hacen lio”, the priests are not out in encounter with the “sheep” entrusted to him, where existence itself has no salt of good leaven of evangelical memory.

The same idea that the House of God should open her doors is not new.  It is as old as Christianity.  The “hagan lio”of Francis is so the doors of the churches are always wide open and can give shelter to the suffering humanity of the People of God on the way in the world.  But also that from inside the place of worship, you can go out to bring to the world, namely to all, the treasure that is kept guarded.

“Hagan lio”, do not remain silent was repeated back to Rome from Brazil, this time inside the Vatican Walls. The Good News is not silent.  He is telling us to not remain silent.  Jesus was not silent when he chased the merchants from the Temple or when they wanted to stone the adulteress.  Let’s hear another way to describe the noise levels to which he alludes.  A protagonist is, is to be seen, but with something of the positive inside.  And it has not only to do with the Church.

In a climate of political clashes that was believed exceeded in Argentine society for decades, where even families, friends, colleagues stopped talking or dating only over differences of opinion regarding the political, where, beginning with the politicians, many wanted to be portrayed in a photo with “Francis”, even when they were at one time enemies, it is a proper case to say “more papist than the Pope”, we hear, have begun to hear after World Youth Day, that we must “hacer lio”, but in a new sense, as how the Pope intended.

What amazes, is that all, absolutely all, beyond the inevitable political exploitation, are certain that you understand precisely because of the strength and expressiveness of the sentence, what does this “positive” mean.  “The Pope said”, they added.  And therefore it is clear.

So the expression is changing direction, indeed, has already done so.  But rather than change, we can say Papa Francesco has transformed it.  It is clear that it is not a question for philologists or semeiologists.  No, as any transformation that continues to happen even today, is showing under a new light, is recreating what was already before.  And it is restarting.

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