By a Newsnet reporter
Media reports that the Pope said the case for Scottish independence should be “taken with lots of grains of salt” have been challenged after translations of the Pontiff’s words called them into question.
This week several news outlets reported that Pope Francis had entered the independence debate and appeared to have expressed an opinion that indicated he was against ‘division’.
Several news outlets including the BBC quoted the Pope as saying: “The independences of nations by secession is a dismemberment, sometimes it’s very obvious.
“Let’s think of the former Yugoslavia. Obviously, there are nations with cultures so different that couldn’t even be stuck together with glue.
“The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases – Scotland, Padania, Catalunya.
“There will be cases that will be just and cases that will not be just, but the secession of a nation without an antecedent of mandatory unity, one has to take it with a lot of grains of salt and analyse it case by case.”
However, it is being claimed that the version given by the BBC, and others, was not accurate in two critical areas.
According to linguist Paul Kavanagh, the following sentence had the emboldened section removed, which led to an altogether different meaning being placed on the Pontiff’s words:
“The Yugoslav case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases, in other peoples which until now have been joined. They must be studied case by case. Scotland, Padania, Catalonia.”
[Actual transcription: El caso yugoslavo es muy claro, pero yo me pregunto si es tan claro en otros casos, en otros pueblos que hasta ahora han estado juntos. Hay que estudiar caso por caso. Escocia, la Padania, Catalunya Habrán]
Kavanagh has also claimed that the term “take it with a lot of grains of salt” is an incorrect interpretation which has been placed on Pope’s actual words which were “taken up with tweezers”, a Spanish term to mean handle with great care.
Writing on his blog, Kavanagh explained the meaning of the term: “In Latin American Spanish (and the Pope is, remember, Argentinian) the sense of ‘tomar con pinzas’ is better expressed by the English idiom “to handle with kid gloves” – in other words it means that the topic must be handled with great care and sensitivity.”
The “taken up with tweezers” phrase is correctly reported in the Vatican’s own news website.
Kavanagh also revealed that the ‘division’ comment uttered by the head of the Catholic Church had been given in response to a very leading question which asked: “Does the conflict between Catalonia and Spain worry you?”
It has also emerged that Pope Francis slammed as “outrageous” that some countries have a youth unemployment rate of more than 50%, with tens of millions of young Europeans out of work.
“We discard a whole generation to maintain an economic system that no longer works, a system that to survive must make war, as the great empires have always done,” he said.
“But since we cannot wage World War III, we then make regional wars. And what does that mean? That we make and sell weapons,”
He added: “And with that the balance sheets of the idolatrous economies — the big world economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money — are obviously cleaned up.”