Bergoglio’s 11th Interview
“One-On-One with the Pope” —
Francis’ 10 Tips for a Happy Life include
“Live and Let Live” and “No Proselytism”
It seems that “Pope” Francis is interested in letting each and every publication in the world have its own special interview with him, and this time (July 27, 2014), it’s for the Argentine Viva, a Sunday supplement to the Clarín newspaper.
At this point, details are still spotty, as almost nothing has yet been published online about the content of the 77-minute interview, which was recorded on video. Entitled “Mano a Mano con el Papa” — “One-On-One with the Pope” — it is an account of journalist Pablo Calvo’s conversation with the Argentine papal pretender.
It is a really good thing that Calvo recorded the conversation on video; this way, no one will later be able to say, “Who knows if these words attributed to the Pope are even accurate?!” — as has been the fashion lately.
One substantial excerpt of the interview’s content has been released online so far, however: Francis has given “10 Suggestions for a Happy Life”, which we share below (in English translation — Spanish original posted here). Now, keep in mind, this is a Modernist speaking, so please proceed with caution — do not expect to find Catholic content here:
- Live and let live. “Here the Romans have a saying that we can follow like a thread: “Go ahead and let others go ahead too.” Live and let live, that is the first step towards peace and joy.”
- Giving oneself to others. “If one stays still, they run the risk of being selfish. And still water is the first to spoil.”
- Moving like a peaceful oasis. “In Don Segundo Sombra there is a beautiful image of someone who reflects on their own life. He says that as a youth he was a rocky stream that moved everything in its path; as an adult he was a river that moved ahead and that in old age he felt in motion, but slowly like a peaceful oasis [“remansado” in the original]. I would use the image of the poet and writer Ricardo Güiraldes, this last adjective “remansado.” The capacity to move with kindness and humility, the peaceful oasis of life. Old people have this wisdom, they are the memory of a nation. And a nation that does not look after its old people has no future.
- Playing with kids. “Consumerism has lead us to an anxiety about losing a healthy culture of leisure, reading, enjoying art. These days I rarely hear confessions, but in Buenos Aires I used to do that a lot and when a young mum came to me, I asked her: “How many children do you have? Do you play with them?” And it was a question she did not expect, but I said to her that playing with kids is key, it is a healthy culture. It is difficult, parents go to work early and at times return when the kids are already sleeping, it is difficult, but it has to be done.”
- Spending Sundays with the family. “The other day, in Campobasso, I went to a meeting between the worlds of academia and the world of labor, and both were demanding Sundays without work. Sunday is for the family.”
- Helping young people find employment. “We have to be creative with their age group. If there is a lack of opportunity, they will fall prey to drugs. And the suicide index among young people without employment is very high. The other day I read, but I don’t trust it because it is not scientific data, that there are 75 million unemployed young people below the age of 25.3 It is not enough to feed them: we have to make up one-year courses for them to learn plumbing, becoming an electrician or a builder. Bringing bread home is what gives you dignity.”
- Looking after nature. “We have to look after creation and we are not doing it. It is one of the greatest challenges we have.”
- Quickly forgetting about the negative. “The need to speak ill of another indicates low self-esteem, in other words: I feel so low that instead of rising, I lower the other. Quickly forgetting what is negative is healthy.”
- Respecting those who think differently. “We may trouble others by our testimony, so that we may both progress in our communication, but the worst that can happen is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: “I dialogue with you to convince [convert] you.” No! Each one dialogues from their own identity. The Church grows by attraction, not by proselytism.”
- Actively seeking peace. “We are living in times of many wars. In Africa, wars look like tribal wars, but they are something else. War destroys. And the call for peace has to be shouted. Peace at times gives the impression of stillness, but it is never stillness, it is always an active peace.”
Notice in particular that there is no mention of anything supernatural here; it’s all totally geared towards this earthly life, which must necessarily end, and which is not our eternal destiny, not the reason for our existence. True happiness in this life is impossible. Would have been nice for him to mention. Then again, not being a Catholic, he wouldn’t understand. He does not speak about God at all, and of course Sundays are only for the “family.”
But our favorite in the above “10 Commandments of Happiness” is point no. 9, in which Bergoglio says: “pero lo peor que puede haber es el proselitismo religioso, que paraliza: ‘Yo dialogo contigo para convencerte’, no” — “but the worst that can happen is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: ‘I dialogue with you in order to convert you.’ No!”
This is definitely a familiar theme with Mr. Bergoglio, who said in January 2014 that “[t]o dialogue means to believe that the ‘other’ has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective. Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute” (source).
Well then, welcome to Francis’ New Gospel, that of “live and let live”, where the worst thing you can do is try to convince the other that the Catholic Church alone has the absolute truth.
Tom Droleskey has provided an insightful commentary on this nonsense, here:
The July 27 Cover of CLARIN
There is more content of the interview in Spanish at this link. But you’ve probably already read enough.
UPDATE 29-JUL-2014: Some Novus Ordo coverage of the interview has now appeared: