Watching Raymond Arroyo’s show The World Over I heard Fr Gerald Murray and Robert Royal as they commented on the late “bergogliata” – I mean no disrespect to the Pope and I am not the first to use that expression referring to His Holiness off the cuff remarks. After some rather unusual papal comments on cohabitation and marriage we were left asking one more time the question: “What did Francis really mean?”

I am not going to criticize our Pope – not because I don’t feel like it – but because I respect the Papal Office. One can read the New Testament and see in St Peter something that I would call “a man completely unprepared for the grave responsibilities he was given” – if one forgets for a minute who was the one appointing him and giving him the extraordinary power of the keys. Putting that aside for a second we can say that Peter lacked the intellectual stature of Paul, whose letters he finds “difficult to understand.” (2 Peter 3:16) Peter’s sincerity, impulsiveness, and “little faith” (Matthew 8:26) are generously exposed throughout the New Testament in spite of Peter’s leading role in the early Christian community. Writing about Peter very early in the life of the Church, the Christian writer Origen says: “See the great foundation, the most solid of all the rocks upon which Christ built the Church! What does Our Lord say of him? – ‘O you of little faith!” (Adversus Haereses.) It is obvious that the keeper of the faith is Christ. To Him goes the glory of saving the Church from collapsing due to the occasional incompetence of our Popes. If one thinks about it, that is the way it ought to be. When something important is about to happen, God names someone most obviously not competent for the post. That way the glory will go to Him, most deservedly undivided. (Exodus 4:10-13) Well, something as important as the Exodus is about to happen hence, the Pope we have been given.

Both Fr Murray and Robert Royal are absolutely right in their analysis of this terrible situation namely, that the Pope appears to be a lose cannon sliding about the deck of Peter’s barque. Worry not. It could be worse. God is still in control.

Fr Murray mentions a part of the papal chat when the Holy Father brings up the matter of a custom of Northeastern Argentina’s indigenous peoples. He is referring to the sirviñaku (pron. see-r-vee-nya-kou the “nya” pronounced like the “ny” in the English word “canyon”) or “trial marriage,” a custom that precedes the discovery of America six or seven centuries or more. In a monogamous society that valued children as a blessing and a form of insurance against old age, it was most important to make sure that the couple could procreate. Therefore a trial period was granted to some. After the trial period both man and woman were free to leave “without shame” but the birth of a child made the union permanent. There is a traditional Aymara song I have included here for those who understand Spanish. The only version I could find belongs to the Chilean group Inti Illimani, they are definitely leftists but nonetheless excellent musicians. Please enjoy it if you wish.

Apparently the Pope spoke as if people outside Northeastern Argentina knew the practice of Sirviñaku well. Or perhaps he does not know it himself. Certainly the old custom is definitely not an affirmation of cohabitation. It is simply an ancient pagan solution to a very human problem like infertility in an environment where being infertile was a sure ticket to a short, hard life. When the area was evangelized by the Spaniards, some of the aspects of the ancient custom remained. The communities of the old Inca realm have survived for millennia sticking to their traditions, and the Church is still trying to inculcate the perfect Christian practice there. St Francis Solanus, St Rose of Lima, and many other saints were given to those nations. I guess eventually God will raise more saints to finish the job of evangelizing that area.

That is my contribution to the very good observations of Fr Murray and Mr. Royal. Hope you enjoy the music as much as I do. I find the lyrics very cute – a very sweet marriage proposal – although they may be somewhat obscured by the use of native words.


11 thoughts on “Sirviñaku

  1. This article is wonderful Carlos and Viktor will see it soon. Love the music of course! Also, my Norwegian friend said that this was also the custom centuries ago in Norway, namely that before a formal marriage and commitment the ability to conceive was most highly regarded and proof of the pudding, so to speak.

    Many have difficulty interpreting Pope Francis remarks, obviously. Thank you for doing your part in clarifying them a bit. Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “When something important is about to happen, God names someone most obviously not competent for the post. That way the glory will go to Him, most deservedly undivided. (Exodus 4:10-13) Well, something as important as the Exodus is about to happen hence, the Pope we have been given.” Really good observation here, Carlos. I hadn’t thought of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The lyrics of the song in the video …

    Yo t’hei dicho nos casimos,
    vos diciendo que tal vez;
    sería bueno que probimos
    m’a ver eso qué tal es.
    Te propongo sirviñaku,
    si tus tatas dan lugar
    p’a l’alzada del tabaco
    vámonos a trabajar.
    T’hei comprar’ollita nueva,
    en la feria ‘e Sumalao,
    es cuestión de hacer la prueba
    de vivirnos amañaos.
    Y si tus tatas se enteran,
    ya tendrán consolación,
    que todas las cosas tienen
    con el tiempo la ocasión.
    Y si Dios nos da un changuito
    a mí no me ha de faltar
    voluntad pa’ andar juntitos
    ni valor pa’ trabajar.
    Te propongo como seña
    pa’ saber si me querís
    cuando vas a juntar leña
    sílbame como perdiz.

    Music by Eduardo Falú, lyrics by Jaime Dávalos
    When I proposed to you
    You have responded: “May be”
    It would be nice to try
    To see how all that works.
    I propose sirviñaku
    If your parents allow us
    To the harvest of tobacco
    Let us go to work.
    I will buy you a new pan
    In the Sumalao fair
    Let us give a try
    To living together.
    And if your parents find out
    They will find consolation
    For everything in this life
    In time there is occasion
    And if God gives us a child
    I won’t lack
    The will to walk together
    Or courage to work.
    Agree with me on this
    I will know that you love me
    When you go to gather wood
    Whistle like a quail.


  4. I’m pondering your comment about something as important as Exodus happening. I have no idea to what you were referring, but something certainly seems to be happening up this way.

    One way to see it, I suppose, is the regression to mimetic violence and scapegoating in a culture that has turned out to not be Christian enough. To me, the logical end will have to be the sacrifice of other innocent victims, a passion of sorts that replicates the one 2000 years ago. Such a passion has already been unleashed by Obama and the globalists in the ME, but the irrationality of American liberals has now turned delusional in the same way that we saw in Germany last century, and my expectation is that the sacrificial victims will be white Christian males. Not sure if the victims in Dallas fit that description, but I suspect that is where this is going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Castelletto:
      I have been criticized many times for having an interest in prophecy. There seems to be a fatwa of uncertain origin, forbidding any interest in Christian eschatology. Some readers seem to be uncomfortable with any mentioning of that. Too bad! Some months ago I bumped into a series of numerical oddities that I honestly did not understand. I described them in The Year of liberation Many things have happened in the last three years that lead me to believe we have entered into that period described as “the end of the age of the gentiles” described by the prophet Daniel, by Our Lord in Matthew 24 (Luke 21, and Mark 13) My understanding of the events is at best foggy but the predictions of Our Lady in Fatima and Garabandal have shed some light on the matter. We entered that particular period of history sometime before February of 2005 when Sr Lucia of Fatima went to her heavenly reward on February 13 of that year. Our Lady had promised Sr Lucia that she was going to live to see the “end of times” (not to be confused with the “end of time” which is still way in the distant future.)
      I believe that sometime in the near future (this year, this decade?) mankind will be witnessing the end of the age when nations are allowed to govern themselves. God will purify the Earth and begin to rule. When, and in what manner, I do not know. I have no dates, just a hunch that we are very very close. The Exodus is the prophetic model for this time. I know some think one should be scared. I don’t agree with that. I agree with Our Lord that we should “raise our heads” and rejoice because our liberation is near.


      • I agree. We should rejoice, always, in the midst of trial and tribulation, and especially when the likelihood is that it is labor pangs. I remember the moment when, as a baby convert, I realized: there’s nothing that anyone can do to truly harm me. What a relief!

        Still, the world is too much with us. What a distraction from what is really important.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, something of the Exodus is resonating with me too, since the Dhaka massacre, but I cannot see much beyond that. Like many others, I too wait for the Lord to come to end the bloodshed that is becoming a constant, yet, there is worry and fear because of our children, loved ones. I’ve tried to dismiss them, move beyond their manacling, but I can’t.

        So, I’m putting worry and fear to use – I allow them to take me to prayer. May it be of some worth to us all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I imagine you read David Warren’s column at CatholicThing on Sacralizing Violence. Here is a relevant comment from the thread that follows:

        Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D. • 4 days ago
        David Warren. You pointedly identify what has become the standard of religion and politics, removing from each their dissimilarity, that “Liberal democracy will save us.” Reinventing religion as the ape prancing to the tune grinded out by contemporary secular humanism, the soul of our political philosophy is Bergoglioism. There. I’ve coined it. Bergoglioism. Essentially religion has lost its savor as the salt that is meant to change the world. instead Catholic doctrine is reshaped to accommodate mankind, not change it in the image of Christ. It is trampled underfoot by Bergoglioisms chief lieutenants Cupich, Marx, Kasper, Danneels the list goes on. Social justice in line with Engels and K Marx, egalitarian and godless is the new Catholicism. Theatre fits in perfectly. Kissing countless babies for the cameras, kissing active homosexuals, raising to cardinal author of the Art of Kissing, is violent theatre meant to impact, disable the faithful. Seemingly as violent to the soul as the recent grandstanding acts of violence. Actually more so since the homicidal kill the body, the evil kill the soul.

        Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D. Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D. • 4 days ago
        I wish to add a positive note to my comment based on David’s great insight, “liberal democracy will save us.’ Those who won’t subscribe are a puzzle to them. What can they be thinking?” Republicans and Catholics have bought into the idea that Democracy will save, that Martin Luther King Jr’s idea the arc of history is long but it points to justice, places emphasis, at least by implication, on man saving himself sans God’s grace. A recent article quoting Aquinas I believe in Commentary refutes that. Man requires grace. The current trend of secularization of the Church, the only institution that can redeem mankind and strike a viable counterbalance with politics is being countermanded by Bishops Chaput in America and Athanasius Schneider in Europe, and there are others who will come forward.

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  5. Castelleto: thank you for your comment! I do believe most have forgotten that the Pope is a steward, not a king but he acts in lieu of Our Lord and King. The Cardinals are not senators, the Bishops are not a lower house of some parliament. Our opinion counts as absolutely nothing since we are called to live the faith and not to opine about it. This era was predicted by many saints, by Scripture, by Our Lady in La Salette, etc. As far as I am concerned the Pope can make an ass of himself and I will respect his office. I may be befuddled, I may even be angry but I will not participate in a revolt. God is in control, principle number one. God is good. God is a benefactor. Those last two qualities reach the completeness of perfection. God gave us this Pope. He must be what the times required, he must be what we deserve to have. Is he a good Pope? I rather don’t answer that. Do I understand this Pope? Yes, I think I can because my whole life was lived in the context of that phenomenon called “Peronism” which is a sickness of the human mind that grows in the Petri dish of a society that has rejected all that is good, pure, and decent. Is this the Pope that will enthrone the abomination? Based on what I said before: I would not be surprised. And yet ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia, et ibi ecclesia vita eterna. To this day I haven’t seen anyone achieve salvation through disobedience. Responding to that some say: “What if the Pope proposes to disobey Catholic law?” To those I respond: Our Lord, the same that rules the entire Universe, has said: “I will pray that your faith does not falter” (that is Peter’s faith) so we can be sure that Peter’s faith may get very close to the point of failing but it won’t fail. This is a crisis, a terrible crisis indeed but this is not the end of the world. Aaron has cast a golden calf but Moses is hurrying down the mountain with the tablets of the Law. Israel will survive in spite of the leader’s failures. All men will fail but God shall not fail. Where the word of God has marked Peter, this Peter will not fail either. If he tried to fail the world shall pass away but the word of Our Lord will stand. Pure and simple.

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