Monday, August 4, 2014

The Pope's 500-Day Anniversary Interview - Regurgitating Desiderata

Yes, I know it's a little dated, since this interview happened last week.  As I read it, I wonder if it was necessary that it happened at all.  From Zenit, we read that Pope Francis gave a "10-point plan for happiness".  I won't rehash the whole list here; please have the interview open in another window so you can refer to it as you read this piece.

As you read it, you'll notice that there is no real reference to the One True Faith.  Anyone can "live and let live".  The question is, should they?  Should that be their attitude as they see family members wallowing in mortal sin?  The closest he comes to the Faith is his fifth point about "sharing Sundays with family"; but even then, there's no mention of attending Mass on that day.  Where does respect for the Third Commandment come into the picture?

I dunno!  Coming from the Pope - or any ordained, for that matter - I might expect some real "points from happiness".  Dare I propose some below?
  • If you haven't been to Confession in a while, get there asap.  Prepare beforehand by examining your conscience.  Some basic measures would include the Ten Commandments and the Precepts of the Church.
  • Go to Mass on Sundays (to omit Mass on Sundays without good cause is a mortal sin).  If you're in a state of grace and have fasted properly, receive Holy Communion.
  • Learn the tenets of Catholicism.  For starters, I might suggest the Baltimore Catechism, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other decent books (This Is The Faith by Canon Francis Ripley is excellent).
  • Pray the Rosary and wear a scapular.
  • Examine your conscience nightly and make an Act of Contrition.  Remember any faults for your next Confession (especially if they're serious).
I could go on and on, but you get the point.  There will be no real happiness unless one knows, loves and serves God.  The best way to accomplish these is in the Catholic Church.  

Truth be told, when I read these, I was reminded of a song that was popular in the 1970s called Desiderata.  Here are the lyrics.  There isn't any difference between this humanist thing and what the pope pronounced last week.  Oh, there is one small difference; Desiderata mentions the word "God" once; that's one more occurrence of the word than what I saw in the pope's tome.


  1. Thanks for the link to the article. I read your's first, then the linked one, then your's again. Your comments seem to focus on what Catholics worldwide need. As you said, any ordained could focus as you did...truly sound suggestions.

    Pope Francis is speaking to the world. He is from a South American country and is living in Europe. I my "Meditations before Mass" book, the first few meditations are focusing on silence, from there it moves to composure. In my reading the Zenit article, I see someone tilling the ground, removing weeds, and planting seed. If the ground becomes more ready, then the sonlight and living water will be able to be received--what is truly needed. Perhaps the Holy Father isn't regurgitating at all.

  2. Is the title of the book "Meditations before Mass"? Right there is an explicit statement that the Mass is the main event and that the book is meant to aid in preparation. There is no such statement regarding the pope's ten things; they are presented as ends unto themselves. He knows - or should know - that these ten things, however good they may be (and even that is debatable) will NOT lead to happiness. Only Jesus Christ will, and He desires all to come to Him via His Church. That this was not stated as key to "happiness" is a gross disservice.


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