The tale is told that once upon a time in Spain, the poor quality of the meals offered at wayside inns got to such a point that the guests, before tucking in, would say the verse: “Si eres cabrito, mantente frito; si eres gato, salta del plato” – which loses its rhyme in translating as: ‘If you are a goat, continue roasted; but if you are cat, hop out of my plate!’
This humorous ‘spell’ probably never worked, but it did originate a typical Spanish saying: dar gato por liebre – ‘to pass off a cat as rabbit’. The idea is quite simple: given that rabbits have a very close resemblance to cats, an unscrupulous innkeeper might succumb to the temptation of making a fast buck by pasing off an inconvenient feline as prime bunny delight! The saying is used to describe the malicious wile of those who offer goods and services of dubious quality as if they were the genuine article, under the facade of the most rigorous legality.
Does this situation have any application in the domain of ideas and doctrine? This is a question that comes to mind forcefully, and with increasing perplexity, when we analyze the ensemble of Francis’ teachings with regards to Private Property and Free Market, the poor, and the Social Doctrine of the Church.
May each one judge on their own if these concerns which trouble us are well-founded, because the last thing we would like to do to our readers is ‘to pass off a cat as rabbit’!… Read on….