While being interviewed by primarily
Catholic Argentina’s Viva weekly magazine, Pope Francis listed 10 ways to lead a happier life. Prior to being selected as the Catholic pope in 2013, Pope Francis was going by his birth name, Jorge Maria Bergoglio, while he was a cardinal and the archbishop of Buenos Aires.
As such, he sometimes clashed with Argentina’s political leaders. But his selection to Rome’s papal seat has inspired the almost 77 percent Catholic population of Argentina. Pope Francis certainly appears more genuinely happy at times than his predecessor Pope Benedict, so his personal choices of 10 ways to live a happy life even impresse this former Catholic who has gone Eastern spiritual for the past
(1) Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs: This may be his most controversial comment. Out of the world’s 2 billion or so Christians, half are Catholic. The Catholic Church
helped overrun South America and Mexico as well as sections of Canada using what worked in early Middle Ages Europe, convert or die a gruesome death. In between those extremes, there was a bit of slavery. Then, the Christians who had broken away from the Vatican
and colonized what is now the USA carried on in similar, though not quite as overtly brutal, fashion. In other words, most of Christianity has a history of expansion through
force. So dropping even trying to convince others of converting civilly is major.
(2) Live and let live: This makes “don’t proselytize” a corollary. If you live and let live, you won’t insist that
everyone else thinks and worships like you. Pope Francis mentioned that this should be one’s guiding principal in life. Good idea.
(3) Be giving of yourself to others: Pope Francis cautioned that, “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”
(4) Respect and take care of nature: He warned that harming the environment by exploiting nature has created humanity’s biggest challenge, adding, “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical
use of nature?'”
(5) Proceed calmly in life: This produces the next Papal tip as a corollary.
(6) Have a healthy sense of leisure: He warned how “consumerism has brought us anxiety,” then advised turning off the TV while eating and for families to get
together with their children without TV also.
(7) Sundays are for holidays: He said that workers should have Sundays off to be with families. He didn’t mention
what young Catholic children were told circa 1950 — if you miss mass, it’s a mortal sin and you risk going to Hell if you die before confessing to a priest. Ah, yes, that was real back then!
(8) Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “‘We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs’ and be more vulnerable to suicide,” he said, as reported in a translation by the Catholic News Service.
Yes, but there have been a few well-off creative folks of note doing the drug-suicide scene lately. So, well paid creative energy doesn’t necessarily guarantee not getting hooked on
hard drugs or booze. Marijuana is not a hard drug, incidentally, though the DEA thinks otherwise.
(9) Stop being negative: “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem,” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”
(10) Work for peace : “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace
sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive.”
Well, if everyone from the lowest station in life to the highest practiced the other nine tips, there might not be any need for aggressive peacemaking . Peace would become a natural state of affairs.