Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Pope likes to use colloquialisms when he speaks.

Spinster archetype, Mary Bailey 
It's A Wonderful Life

What's a colloquialism?
nouna word or phrase that is not formal or literary, typically one used in ordinary or familiar conversation.
the use of ordinary or familiar words or phrases.
Many people use colloquialisms - it's a 'folksy' way to express a thought.  It's probable 'mature' Americans may be more accustomed to such words, or at least understand what they signify.  I'm guessing most ordinary people understand them.  Perhaps a colloquialism could be better understood as a sort of literary archetype, a word or phrase which contains a descriptive sense or meaning immediately recognized or understood by an ordinary person.

The Pope uses that sort of language in his more casual speeches and feverinos or daily homilies - sometimes he uses it in more official addresses and the Wednesday catechesis as well.

For instance, last year when the Holy Father addressed 800 superiors of women religious, he told them: The consecrated must be mothers and not ‘spinsters’!  More than one journalist found the admonition to be offensive to women, especially women who have given up marriage and family for religious life.  (Part of the problem may be the general perception that the vocation to religious life is simply another career choice.  It's not.)  Within that same speech the Holy Father counselled against 'using the vocation for personal ambition or advancement.'  A seasoned religious would understand exactly what the Holy Father meant - it echoes everything his predecessors have said about consecrated life, as well as that which more doctrinal documents have taught.

Journalists and careerists, academics and armchair theologians, may not get the use of simple colloquialism to convey a point - but I think an ordinary nun would.  Before he was made pope, the Holy Father was very close to the Discalced Carmelite nuns, whose language and way of life is very ordinary and simple, and I am told the nuns loved him much.  I'm just guessing, but I wouldn't be surprised the Holy Father speaks publicly in much the same way he spoke to enclosed religious as well as the ordinary people he joined around their kitchen tables in the slums.  Maybe that is lost on the more sophisticated, aesthete Catholics in the West as well?

Sadly, it appears the Catholic 'faithful opposition' is just as quick as secular journalists to reject such 'patriarchal' colloquialisms from a Pope they seem convinced is their theological/doctrinal inferior.

What's 'spinster'?
a woman who is not married, especially a woman who is no longer young and seems unlikely ever to marry.
Note* A woman who never enters marriage contract is so smart.
"Spinster means a woman who can stand independently and doesn't need a man for her life" - Urban

Full Definition of SPINSTER
: a woman whose occupation is to spin
a archaic : an unmarried woman of gentle family
b : an unmarried woman and especially one past the common age for marrying
: a woman who seems unlikely to marry - Merriam Webster

Very few people ever use the term any longer, but it can be used as a colloquialism, and often in a derogatory sense - to make a point. It's become a loaded word in our rad-feminist, everyone-must-have-love-affairs-sex-and-partner(s) dominated culture.  Hence my insistence it's use is colloquial.  Yet Catholics today love to mince words, especially from a Pope they do not like.

One of the more ridiculous assertions that the Pope's language is offensive and distinctly derogatory to 'single' women comes from a Catholic blogger known for some pretty outlandish criticisms of Catholic priests and bishops, and now Pope Francis.  Though the term itself is 'derogative' - the Pope was not suggesting single women are inferior - that was demonstrated in the use of the term in his address to women religious last year.

Nevertheless, the blogger took offense to the Holy Father's homily yesterday wherein he used the word 'spinster' once again:

“The joy of going out to seek the brothers and sisters who are far off: This is the joy of the Church. Here the Church becomes a mother, becomes fruitful”
However, the Pope warned that when the Church closes in on herself, it becomes stagnant and disheartened. Without joy or peace, he said, it becomes "a Church that seems more like a spinster than a mother." - Zenit

The Church has always been understood as Mother, Holy Mother Church, a fruitful vine - the term 'spinster' suggests a barren womb - it is actually a very understandable - even traditional analogy - much like saying the weather outside is colder than a witch's tit.  Forgive me, it's vulgar and derogatory, but it's descriptive.

The Catholic blogger I refer to deliberately misconstrues the Holy Father's words, deliberately reads into them something that is not there.  She says she supports sound Catholic doctrine yet takes a rad-feminist approach to 'catch' the Holy Father in an error.  She twists his words to make him look foolish and uses them to write a post which invites her followers to further scorn the Holy Father.  She interprets his words to mean single women, unmarried women, are not welcome in the Church.  While claiming to write her 'private' reactions on her blog, while insisting she supports the Catholic Church whose leader is the Vicar of Christ, she and her readers speculate upon the Pope's mental health, condescending to suggest and discuss that he may have developmental disorders:  "His inability to filter the thoughts in his brain could well be Asperger's."  

I waste my time on this, however.  How can one even respond to the following remark the same blogger made on another post maligning the Pope?

It is obvious he is imposing his hillbilly style upon 2000 years of respect and dignity of that which is holy. Deconstructing marriage and the family, the Deposit of Faith and Sacraments--the army guarding the safety of our Popes is now under deconstruction. - Catholic Blogster


No wonder so many websites, as well as her home chancery no longer tolerate her.


  1. But didn't Pope St Pius X condemn colloquialism along with modernism? That would explain a lot.

    1. Isn't there a syllabus of colloquialisms?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. A long time ago I remember someone explaining to me that what spinster originally meant was not derogatory. It meant a single women with an occupation that supported her financially. Sounds good to me.

    1. You're right - I did some more reading on it. I'd like to suggest a new meaning - for those who spin what the pope says - they may be the spinsters he was referring to. Just kidding.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. "Freeze the balls off a brass monkey" is another one

  5. But what about the witches brass undergarments?

  6. I had never heard of this blogger until you mentioned her, so I decided to read some of her posts. After reading the 6th entry, the rumours, innuendos and sheer bile being poured forth became a vexation to my soul. Now I can say with all honestly: I wish had never heard of her.

    1. That is for the better. It occurred to me that many of us who have been blogging for a long time are actually trapped in a sort time zone or maze - we keep bumping into one another in an isolated world - some people call it St. Blogs - but it's a more or less controlled environment. I realized it is comprised of older - or getting older 'pundits' set in their ways. I may be wrong - I also wonder if they listen to too much talk radio which becomes fuel for animosity. I sense a lot of fear, resentment, and anger within the maze.

  7. Wait, what...spinsters...? Are we talking about the Pope or Georgette Heyer novels? What's next -- wallflowers? Women who are "on the shelf"? Drabs? Are you sure this was a Catholic blog and you hadn't stumbled upon Smart Bitches Trashy Books, or something...?

    Gosh -- the analogy is so clear and why that term would offend anyone in the 21st C. is beyond me.

    People have waaaay too much time on their hands. Way too much.

  8. I think he was also talking about how nuns should act like a loving, strong, protective female to her church just as priests should act as loving, strong, protective "fathers." for their flock. Instead of the "sterotype," of a nun being a nagging, finger wagging, harping old dried up busybody that only became one because she couldnt find a man, he wants them to be loving supportive women.

    Now, I know none of us have ever met nuns acting like old annoying spinsters and the Holy Father would never use my words but...that is how I see it!!!!

  9. Did you know that in the Middle Ages there was a Spinsters' Guild? It was one of the only all female guilds, comprised of women who spun for a living.

    1. That's lovely. Men were spinners as well and also called spinsters.


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