One assumes the Pope was speaking extempore on January 9th during his daily Mass in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican. At least one hopes the Pope was speaking off-the-cuff, because his remarks about Christian love were muddled and tiresome.
Truly, the man is tiresome.
Yesterday, Pope Franny said Christian love is concrete. And according to the Pope, concrete has only one meaning: particular. And by particular the Pope means Christ’s concept of Christian love.
And let me interject here, the Roman Catholic Church’s ideas on what Christ thought and preached are illusory at best and maddening at the worst, since Christ did not himself expound on what he meant by love when he said “love”.
“Christian love has a particular quality: concreteness,” Pope Franny said. “Christian love is concrete…Jesus Himself, when He speaks of love, speaks to us about concrete things: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and many concrete things.” The pope did not list the many concrete things Jesus spoke of when he spoke of love. But the pope makes a giant leap by assuming his understanding of love is the same as Jesus’ understanding of love.
“And when this concreteness is not there,” the pope said, “you can live a Christianity of illusions, because you don’t understand where the center of Jesus’ message is.”
“If you have a hardened heart,” Pope Francis explained, “you cannot love, and you think that love is to imagine things. No, love is concrete,” adding that this concreteness is based on two criteria. “The first criterion: to love with deeds, not words. Words are taken away by the wind! They are here today, tomorrow they are not. The second criterion of concreteness is: in love it is more important to give than to receive, ” Pope Francis added that “the one who loves, gives…Gives things, gives life, gives oneself to God and to others.”
“On the other hand,” the Pope said, “the one who does not love, who is selfish, always seeks to receive, always seeks to have things, to have advantages.”
The irritating thing about the RCC is that its concept of Jesus Christ has become so tiny and constipated. Jesus has gone from being a larger-than-life being that was at one and the same time a truly human being but also was God—so magnificent in His largeness of heart, in His understanding, in His mercy. But now, that concept, in the hands of tiresome little men like co-popes Franny and B16, Jesus Christ is small, constricted, whittled down like a giant tree carved into a three-inch totem—particular and concrete—a teeny, bloodless icon that can only be explained and understood by men who equate love with particular acts, and particular concrete deeds that are sanctioned, organized, listed and codified, and which cannot involve words or fancies because these things are not concrete and therefore not holy.
Is it okay for me to love my cat? May I write love poems and call them hymns and psalms? May I absolutely adore my best friend? May I take joy in and love to get presents? May I take solace in having wildly abandoned fucking and sucking sex that will never, never, never end in a pregnancy? No…Pope Franny tells me that these expressions of my humanness are not expressions of Christian love because the RCC’s dwarfed understanding of love is particular and concrete and does not include the above illusions that I see as love.
And in its unbounded hubris, the RCC says that Christ–who the RCC has made so small I can hold Him and all that He stands for in one hand, with room for a cannoli–would call my ideas of love sinful. When I love, as I believe Christ’s largeness of heart and magnanimity would love for me to love, the Roman Catholic Church, in the form of Pope Francis, says I do not understand the center of Christ message, and in addition, I am a sinner.
What a tiresome church the Roman Catholic Church is. And what a tiresome, arrogant, ignorant and grandiose little man Pope Francis is.