The picture above is the preferred territory of Pope Francis, the poorest of poor neighborhoods in his old Archdiocese. The poor here cheered deafeningly when their pastor was elected to be the pastor of the Church universal. They didn’t lose a pastor. They gained a Pope. Imagine the welcome he will get if he is able to make a trip to Argentina. Wow! Would that ever have repercussions for the Latin American Church, and for Latin American Politics. Wooo hooo!
The picture below, he is with AIDS patients and the most marginalized of society. This has immediate significance for me. When I was in Rome, I would make the rounds to the multitude of houses of the Missionaries of Charity, the houses for AIDS patients, for the geriatric homeless people, and so on. After Mass and Confessions, I would help to care for the physical needs of those who could not care for themselves in any way. I rejoice that the Archbishop, now Pope Francis, has such respect for the poor and marginalized.
Knowing this about Pope Francis, it came to mind that he would surely have a preference as to how his name is pronounced, though he has probably never made an issue of it.
I know many Argentinians, from Cardinals to priests. One priest, a great fan of Savonarola, by the name of Francisco, would never pronounce the letter “s” when it closed off a syllable within a word. Instead. That type of “s” would become a glottal stop, a kind of constriction of the throat so that no sound comes out with its pronunciation. An example of this would be the word “bottle” pronounced with a Cockney accent, no “tt”, just “bah**le” with the accent on the “bah” and the “le” being eaten up. Instead of Francisco, we have “Franci*co” with the accent on the “ci*” syllable.
I mentioned this to some other Argentinian priests and they grudgingly agreed, but said that this pronunciation was only prevalent in the barrios, and that I shouldn’t speak in that way.
I tried this out on an Argentinian Cardinal (not Bergoglio), who said that this was simply awful, and that I should never speak in that way.
I made up my mind never to speak Spanish in any other way. Hah!
So, Pope Franci*co. Hah! I feel vindicated after all these years.