Monday, 31 March 2014

"Existential Tourist!"

"These people wander through life like existential tourists, without a goal and without taking God’s promises seriously. But those who wander around are lying to themselves, because they say 'Yes, I walk.' But no, you don't walk, you just wander...'Simply wanderers..but the Lord tells us to keep going. He tells us to take the right path and to not wander around aimlessly.”

- Pope Francis

You can read the Rome Reports version or the Vatican Radio version in which the Holy Father's fascinating homily is not quoted even once. Why is our Holy Father so unquotable?

Just for a moment there, I thought the Pope had given up insults for Lent. I haven't given up documenting them. The interesting thing of course is that St Francis of Assisi and his mendicant friars spent a great deal of time, keeping the commandments and wandering around urging people to love God, repent and keep the commandments. I understand that it is really important that we never lose sight of our status as sinners, to recognise our sins and to repent of them, to overcome them with the power of God's grace through prayer and the Sacraments, but I thought that keeping the commandments were, for Jesus Christ, important too. After all, it was He who said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."

Is His Holiness suggesting that to try to keep the commandments with God's grace is an impediment to the Christian life? Rome Reports summarises the Pope's words as following, without giving us the actual words...

But there are many Christians whose hope is weak and while they believe and follow the commandments, they have come to a standstill in their spiritual lives.

And I don't doubt that I, a sinner, am one of them. God knows I'm not St John of the Cross, neither do I consider myself to be flying up the spiritual ladder this Lent. That said, breaking the Ten Commandments would, I would posit, be bad...right? No Pope would want to encourage that.

Is this another encouragement to us all to go to Confession? I do worry slightly that, while no description of God can tell the full story, we are receiving a two, or even one dimensional vision of God from His Holiness that doesn't do justice to Him. God is Merciful, but also Just. God is Loving but is also Truth. We can't be 'pastry shop Christians' and say God is only Merciful to everyone but the mafia.

Who is His Holiness thinking of here? How can someone so non-judgmental see into the hearts of so many Christian existential tourists? Has His Holiness the gift of reading souls en masse? Someone help me out here. In the mind of His Holiness there seem to be so many, many Christians who are like this or like that and they are bad Christians. It must be so wonderful, Your Holiness, not to be like


gracem said...

the people in the santa marta look REALLY HAPPY!!!

gracem said...

the people listening look SO UNHAPPY!!

tro said...

You'd almost think that in Bishop Francis's world the only truly bad people are orthodox Catholics!

philipjohnson said...

the bishop of rome talks nonsense and he has done from day one!god bless .Philip Johnson.

Jacobi said...

“But there are many Christians whose hope is weak and while they believe and follow the commandments, they have come to a standstill in their spiritual lives”

True, but there are many, many more Christians, and Catholics for that matter, who don’t follow the commandments, who find them a bit inconvenient for their secularist lifestyle, who have little spiritual life, at standstill or otherwise, but who are most assertive when it comes to interpreting those commandments for the benefit of themselves and others.

That is certainly an impediment to the Christian life.

John Vasc said...

Listening to Pope Francis speaking those words, with hands revolving to suggest somebody vainly going round in circles, it seemed to me that he was spontaneously following an image, but despite his rhetorical emphasis, hadn't any clear idea what he meant or where he was going with it. The depressed reaction of his listeners suggested they didn't know either: but you could see them thinking 'He's having a go at somebody, and it's probably me.'

Let's not pay it too much attention. It's just a private off-the-cuff sermon at a private Mass. I doubt even God knows what Francis meant.

But there is a corrective point to be made: Christians who lose hope in the promises of Christ are to be pitied and helped and heartened with good cheer, not censured as 'the most dangerous of all'. They certainly aren't that.

Genty said...

I think the gloomy faces are indicative of having to attend one of Francis's Masses under a three-line whip.
No way would the ever-present camera permit an empty chapel, even if Francis spends most of the homily angled towards it.
At the same time the recipients are trying to work out whether Francis understands the big words he often uses, let alone the context.

Liam Ronan said...

Sadly, it all smacks to me of Google Translate. A hodge-podge of words which on occasion, perhaps, allow one to get the gist, but never the concrete reality (much less nuance) of what reputedly has been said.
Maddening for those who want to be attentive.
I have heard clearer communication by teenagers mumbling into the microphone at burger bar drive-thru windows.

ET said...

But my wife and I just love existential tourism. We do it whenever we run out of money for real tourism.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

heheh, ET; my neighbours' existential wives' husbands love their tourizm as well. never mind - the big guy understands.

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