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Talk about mental problems…

Francis in new Interview:
‘Neuroses must be Caressed and given Maté’

Nelson Castro is a journalist with the Argentinian paper La Nación. Today he published excerpts of an interview he did with “Pope” Francis on Feb. 16, 2019, regarding his physical and mental health. Castro conducted the interview for his book Salud de los Papas (“The Health of the Popes”), which is scheduled to be released on Mar. 1.

There are a number of interesting pieces of information in the conversation printed in La Nación, but the following is a really cringey eye-roller:

[Castro:] You told me several times about your neuroses. How conscious are you of them?

[Francis:] Neuroses need to be fed with maté [tea]. Not only that, they must also be caressed. They are a person’s companion throughout his life. I remember once reading a book that interested me a lot and made me laugh out loud. Its title was Rejoice in Being Neurotic, by the American psychiatrist Louis E. Bisch. It is something I commented on at the press conference I gave on the flight back from Seoul to Rome. I said: “I am very attached to the habitat” of neurosis and added that, after that reading, I decided to take care of them. That is, it is very important to be able to know where the bones are squeaking. Where they are and what our spiritual ills are. With time, one gets to know one’s neuroses.

(quoted in Nelson Castro, “Entrevista con el papa Francisco: ‘A las neurosis hay que cebarles mate'”, La Nación, Feb. 27, 2021; italics added; translation by DeepL.com.)

What is there to say?

A few years back, in an interview given to Dominique Wolton for yet another book on this humblest of “Popes”, Francis revealed that he had spent six months in therapy with a Jewish psychoanalyst in the late 1970s. In his conversation with Castro published today, he confirms and elaborates on it.

This is not to dismiss or poke fun at having a neurosis, which is often a serious psychological health problem requiring treatment. Rather, what is to criticize here is the way in which Francis speaks about it. He is once again humiliating the Papacy in the eyes of the world. Although he is not a true Pope, he is nevertheless believed to be one by almost everyone, so the effect on the public image of the Papacy is the same.

If someone wanted to ensure that no one will ever take the office of the Papacy seriously again, he couldn’t do a better job than Jorge Bergoglio has been doing for the last eight years in the act we have dubbed “the Francis Show”.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (Benhur Arcayan)
License: public domain

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