As we see our Pope high-fiving a Protestant televangelist and prescribing ten rules for right living that Oprah would applaud, not one of which has anything to do with the Catholic Faith or eternal life, we realize that the embarrassing comedy of this papacy is not going to end. Indeed, it appears that Francis is just getting warmed up and that we may be dealing with a bottomless bag of tricks.
Someone whose vocation or avocation is commenting on Church affairs has three ways to approach this unprecedented situation: First, simply ignore Francis entirely while bashing the bishops for following his lead. This appears to be the neo-Catholics’ prescription in keeping with their historical role as enablers of the post-conciliar revolution, which is clearly entering a new and probably terminal phase. Second, raise an objection every time Francis says or does something objectionable, which would be almost every day. (As one wag put it: “If he doesn’t talk he’s not a bad Pope.”) Third, limit one’s objections to papal stunts that have serious theological implications as opposed to being merely ridiculous.
The Daily Beast headline sort of says it all: “Call Him ‘Poprah’: Pope Francis’s 10 Commandments for a Happy Life”.
And here is Bishop of Rome Francis’ list, from an interview published in the Argentine weekly Viva (translation via Catholic News Service):
1. “Live and let live.”
2. “Be giving of yourself to others…If you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”
3. “Proceed calmly [in life].”
4. “A healthy sense of leisure … Consumerism has brought us anxiety, [causing us to lose a] healthy culture of leisure.” (On this point, the pope also urged families to turn off the TV when they’re eating together.)