I’m not religious in any traditional sense, though Catholicism was my earliest introduction to organized religion so the Pope has always seemed to me to have a sense of authority despite the Church’s past teaching on many social and cultural issues. But Papa Frank, now, he’s a bit different in my view, coming out with some really iconoclastic stuff considering he’s, well, that he’s the Pope! Gay marriage, for example? Contraception? Well it’s not black and white any more for Papa Frank, and it always was black and white for his predecessors!
And now, in remarks after his New Year Sunday prayers, Francis has addressed the issue of how we behave as a society in this covid world. And I find that I am again completely in tune with his words. He says:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I renew to you all my wishes for the Year that has just begun. As Christians, we tend to shun the mentality of fatalism or magic; we know that things we improve to the extent that, with God’s help, we work together for the common good, placing the weakest and most disadvantaged at the centre. We do not know what 2021 holds for us, but what each one of us, and all of us together, can do is to take care of each other and of creation, our common home.
It is true, there is the temptation to take care only of our own interests, to continue to wage war, for example, concentrating only on the economic aspect, to live hedonistically, that is, seeking only to satisfy our own pleasure… there is that temptation. I read something in the newspapers that saddened me greatly: in one country, I forget which, more than 40 aircraft left, to enable people to flee from the lockdown and to enjoy the holidays. But those people, good people, did they not think about those who stayed at home, about the economic problems faced by many people who have been floored by the lockdown, about the sick? They thought only about taking a holiday for their own pleasure. This pained me greatly.
I address a special greeting to those who begin the new year with greater difficulties, the sick, the unemployed, to those who live situations of oppression or exploitation. And with affection I wish to greet all families, especially those in which there are young children or which are expecting a birth. A birth is always a promise of hope. I am close to these families: may the Lord bless you!
I wish you all a blessed Sunday, thinking always of Jesus who became flesh precisely to dwell with us, in the good things and the bad, always. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good meal, and arrivederci!
As he says, the temptation to take care only of our own interests is far too much for far too many who continue to live hedonistically, seeking only to satisfy their own pleasure … and nowhere is that more evident than in those fleeing lockdown to enjoy a holiday. As he says, they aren’t thinking about anyone else, those who had no choice but to stay at home, about the economic problems faced by many people who have been floored by the lockdown, nor about the sick, just about taking a holiday for their own pleasure. As he says, this saddened him greatly. It saddens me too. Here endeth the lesson … I’ll shut up about it now.