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SUNDAY SACRILEGE: Response to BarnetEye's "The Saturday list #65 - The Pope's top ten tips for happiness

Whenever I hear or read anything about The Pope, I'm tempted to ask 'Which one?'. There's no more reason to assume the vicar of the Vatican is 'The' Pope than to assume that I am 'The' blogger of Barnet. There are lots of Popes. Popes aplenty. But I suppose we all know who we're talking about when the head of a State which isn't a state when it's not convenient but is when it comes to doling out advice, comes knocking.

Here is BarnetEye's post celebrating Pope Francis' revolutionary top ten 'tips' (presumably a redux of the Commandments?) for happiness:

The Saturday List #65 - The Pope's top ten tips for happiness
In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly "Viva" July 27, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one's life:
1. "Live and let live." Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same."

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead a general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican last month. (CNS/Paul Haring)
2. "Be giving of yourself to others." People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid."
3. "Proceed calmly" in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist -- gaucho Don Segundo Sombra -- looks back on how he lived his life.
"He says that in his youth he was a stream full of rocks that he carried with him; as an adult, a rushing river; and in old age, he was still moving, but slowly, like a pool" of water, the pope said. He said he likes this latter image of a pool of water -- to have "the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life."
4. "A healthy sense of leisure." The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said.
"Consumerism has brought us anxiety" and stress, causing people to lose a "healthy culture of leisure." Their time is "swallowed up" so people can't share it with anyone.
Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it "complicated, but you must do it," he said.
Families must also turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime "doesn't let you communicate" with each other, the pope said.
5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because "Sunday is for family," he said.
6. 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.
"It's not enough to give them food," he said. "Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home" from one's own labor.
7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation "is one of the biggest challenges we have," he said. "I think a question that we're not asking ourselves is: 'Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'"
8. Stop being negative. "Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'" the pope said. "Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy."
9. Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs. "We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing," the pope said.
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" and dynamic.

I must saay ther eis not much on the Pope's list I disagree with 

Let's respond in order.

1. Now, isn't it interesting that the purportedly kind, caring and tolerant Christian community need to be told to 'let live'.

2. In fairness, Christians are pretty giving, both in terms of charity and time. I'll certainly concede that this 'tip' is pretty typical of a lot of Christian communities already. But why the ugly 'putrid water' trope? That's just unnecessary.

3. 'Proceed calmly'. Not sure what to do? Go to your happy place. Pills help.

4. Who would have thought leisure would make anyone happy.

5. Sundays are for rest. Unless you are a teacher with toddlers at home. Then, they are for washing and breaking up fights.

6. Points here. Jobs for young people is actually a pretty good idea. Can I send my kids to be Swiss Guards for the Vatican when the school ask for work placements? 

7. Another home run on this one. Nature and the Environment: might want to preserve those. If these tips get any more exciting I might need another pot of paint.

8. Stop being negative. Does that include sarcasm, mockery of the less fortunate than myself? Please don't remove the only joy left for us heathens who are going to hell.

9. 'Don't proselytise?' Sorry, what was that? The Pope said it, folks. Catholics are to stop badgering us with their Good News. Now this is news worth reporting.

10. Peace. Yep, that's a biggie.

Well, it seems his Papal Graciousness is actually quite au gout du jour with a few current affairs issues, and keen on shutting up the more belligerent and irritating among his flock. Fairplay to him. I'm not too sure how these 'tips' will go down (my feeling is, like an underbaked souffle) with the more fervent Catholics around the world. But he gets points for trying.

All in all, nice job on coming up with some 21st century tips, you sceptre-weilding, palace-inhabiting, Popemobile-riding, pricey robe-wearing old mucker, you. Now, back to the Vatican for some Vino Santo and snooker with the Cardinals. The hard work is done.


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