Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | December 19, 2013

The Pope’s Christmas Message – Not Nice, eh?

It’s somehow strangely heartening to see respected figures put their foot in it. Makes them more human. The fact that they mess up makes them more loveable. For this reason I now love the pope! Despite being infallible (haha!) he’s just said the most fantastically stupid thing.

Seated on a vast throne above an adoring crowd  in a crisp white papal robey suit thing, he advised his flock to “become small among the small and poor among the poor. It’s a bad thing when one sees a Christian that does not want to come down, a Christian that uses everything to show off. Not nice, eh? That is not Christian, that is paganism.”

Not nice, eh?


Responses

  1. Yep, because so many pagans live in a palace-that-is-also-a-country, sit on golden thrones and have absolute rule over millions of adherents.

    I can’t believe that we are in the 21st century and we’re still facing the level of bigotry and religious hatred that allows some Christians to use the word ‘pagan’ to basically mean ‘evil’ and not get called out on it. Can you imagine the global outcry if the Pope had said that showing off was ‘Jewish’ or ‘Muslim’ instead of ‘Pagan’? He would rightly be denounced as a bigot. So why is it still seen as acceptable to bash pagans?

    • Today I stated that the Pope didn’t use the term pagan for the first time in his christmas speech. I found other messages like that, on the italian internet newspapers. In his christmas speech, the pope uses the verb “pavoneggiarsi”, that means to brag. A pavone is a peacock, pavoneggiarsi is “to act like a peacock”. In Italy we use this word for labelling arrogant and smugly people. First, christianity teaches not to judge, but apparently the Pope does, by labelling pagans with such superficiality. The worst thing is that he really literally meant what he said. And that’s sad!
      I had a discussion with my mother yesterday. She likes the Pope because he talks at politicians. Ok. I can live with that. He says the things that the poor people want to hear in this times of financial crisis in Italy, which I can say, they are really catastrophic. But he does politic as well… So what? The cow calling the cattle black? He could feed the world twice with the riches of the Vatican but talks at the politician telling them, they should be ashame to feed their children with the money they steal from the poor. This Pope is now a movie Star in Italy. But I can live with that also. But why spreading gossip upon the pagans? Isn’t it weird to say, a christian who is not humble is not a christian, but then put christianity over paganism? That’s hypocrisy…

      • Good for you Carla, but I think he was probably using the word “pagan” (note the small / lower case letter) to mean someone who has no spiritual commitment – that is the meaning the word generally has, whether one likes it or not.

        Wikipedia’s page “Paganism_(contemporary)” says “Pagan (note upper case / capital letter) as a self-designation appeared in 1964.”

        Since Rylin55 is so hypersensitive, I’ll merely say that if self designated “Pagans” wish for respect, it is up to them to be active publicly so people are – just as a first step – aware of their existence.

      • Christopher Vipond Davies, since you don’t even know me, I’m not even going to dignify that comment with an argument.

  2. There are situation where I am ashamed to have been baptised as a child… and italian. Really… this pope’s speach is infamy 😦

  3. I cannot believe this. It has made me so upset to think that pagans should be spoken of like this. How could you be closer to God than being close to the earth and the elements? I really hope that someone of influence will pick him up on this gross error and teach him that pagans are the good guys not the bad! An apology would be too much to expect.

  4. Wow! And I was just starting to like him…

  5. Actually, it is that fact that he is considered ‘infallible’ that is the danger here. Pope verbally insults pagans – radical catholics consider it carte blanche to be horrible to pagans. Bit of a potential mess here, I think.

  6. Not only is he, shall we say “misinformed” and he did “step in it”…… seems he might need a review of history. I’m thinking he doesn’t have a clue about where so many “Christian” holiday traditions come from. Then again, most people don’t. Easier not to know.

  7. Ha! What a git! 🙂 He might, for all I know, be a thoroughly nice bloke, but he’s talking a lot of rubbish about paganism!

  8. A serious mistake by the ‘representative of Christ’. Where as in other Christian traditions,leaders reach out and understand ‘oecumene’ (ex.: the recently appointed Archbishop of the Swedish church) , this leader of millions sets time back several centuries. Sad .
    /|\

  9. The Popes’ ill thought out comment is sad to hear but what can one expect to hear from a Roman Catholic Pope!? Perhaps we allowed our expectations on him to become to high. So far he is an improvement but as you say not perfect!

    • In my eyes this showed his limitations and his ignorance!

  10. I agree with all the comments above! Especially about him being “misinformed”, at the very least (to be extremely lenient). I’d like to hear his definition of “pagan”. Or maybe not. Maybe I just heard enough already! The apology of scarcity and poverty is a mentality that also makes me very uncomfortable, it sounds archaic and controlling. I have never believed that lowering oneself helps anyone (except certain organisations trying to control people’s minds and working against any kind of progress… Catholic church anyone?). I don’t think they are living a particularly miserable life down at the Vatican! The Church has a long history of materialism and show-off behaviour… This speech just doesn’t make any sense.

    • It does not matter if the pope doesn’t know about pagans. What matters is that he implied that anyone who is not Christian does not measure up to the christian god’s standards and places their values on materialism. What a disheartening message to the world from a world leader.

  11. Well I think it is good what he says, he stirrs things up, we are globally more awakened (I hope), so the more he utters what lies covered in dust, the more pagans and all that is “different” can shine
    . He merely placed Light upon it, keep smiling keep positiv, he is playing his role …hope some one understands this, english is not my mothertongue…

  12. Desperately sad. As someone who works at a C of E primary school, trying hard to form an alliance between Christian and Pagan philosophy, these remarks are, personally, quite deflating! Notwithstanding his lack of grasping the irony of his own comments, the Pope then attempts to associate the word “pagan” with something unedifying and unholy. This from a supposedly more learned and moderate member of the Vatican. Crass ignorance at its worst.

    • Having had time to reflect on my previous post, I believe that this Pope is far more forward thinking and progressive than any of his predecessors.
      However it appears that attitude to Pagan beliefs is still a barrier too far to cross. His comments, in jest or not, were ill advised at best. In accordance with German recognition of Nazi atrocities or Britain’s acknowledgementof its past record of slavery, the Catholic Church needs to reconcile its history of persecution of pagans. This Pope has at least made a start in condemning the dreadful sexualabuse cases of the Church’s own staff. I live in hope.

  13. Sad… and disturbing: historically a wealthy Roman Catholic Empire persecuted impoverished Pagans as it conquered the world. Now a wealthy Catholic Pope is persecuting Pagans, accusing us of being to the poor what they have been to us. Are they borrowing a page from the American Republican party, which has adopted the strategy of loudly accusing their opponents (both political and among the populace) of doing what they themselves do? This is an all to effective strategy: it leaves your opponents almost entirely unable to defend themselves, without seeming to be doing exactly what they are doing! The very essence of Spin…
    I think the only way to fight back is to do what a local Goddess worship group here in my town is doing (as are other Pagan groups in many locations): minister to the poor, remembering our own poverty and oppression! (Well, some of us, myself included, still are poor – in no wise have Pagans become the wealthy in our society!)

    • ^ …all too effective…

  14. I suggest you need to get a bit more real, not just splutter impotently. the word pagan is not associated in most people’s minds with any “Pagan” group, it is just as casual term for a non-believer, just like the word heathen Both these words have noble meanings, but the world has moved on.

    I was very angry years ago when someone said using the line “gay daffodils a’dance on the hills” might be changed, not because he disliked my poetry but because gay now is understood by most people to mean homosexual. I am still angry at how a beautiful word has been hijacked, but I know use another adjective in my song (but refuse to use the word gay in association with homosexuality).

    If we want people to be more aware of Paganism and Pagans and have more “respect” it’s up to us to earn it. Rather a traditional I know, but isn’t one of the claims of Paganism to have celebrate Tradition?

  15. For once, though, I think this Pope simply may not understand Paganism in its neoPagan context – how visible is the modern Pagan population in Argentina? I do believe he would have chosen other words and might actually be educable in this respect. I would like a delegation of modern Pagan leaders to talk to him about this. I think this one might listen.

  16. Well, Anna beat me to it (well said).

    I think we may safely assume that Pope Francis does not, in fact, know any Pagans. Perhaps we could invite him to a gathering? I mean, lots of our folks are wearing white as well, so he need not worry about standing out.

  17. I agree with Anna. It’s unfortunate for us, but “Pagan” is one of those knee-jerk buzzwords that people like to use to mean “anti-Christian heathens,” or something equally as horrid. I don’t think Francis is educated about who we really are and what we really believe. I give him a conditional pass; conditional in that he needs Philip to go talk to him in person! ; -)

  18. Unbelievable hypocrisy. The trees creaked from the powerful laughter of the forest gods; The winds howled in the mountain tops and the oceans fomented at the injustice of the man and the sand gods hid in shame at what mischief they initiated so long ago. The goddess simply sighed though, for she expected little else from the ego of childless men who clung on to their pride so desperately.
    But then perhaps I am a little biased. 😉
    Shaun.

  19. Ditto, what Shaun wrote! The hierophant reversed and reversed and reversed again and without any balancing female influence. And this is the pope I like! ? ! I’m glad he actually said it, because it is what many in the evangelical Christian cathedrals believe and think. For them God is preparing for battle – God and the Beast, us and them, men and woman, human and beast. Coming out of that brand of religion over 12 years ago, it took the hierophant a lot of time and patience to bring me around to seeing his true, upstanding energy and value. Mark Twain said it best, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to reform.” Cheers to rebels for truth and. . .beware of the sheep!!!

  20. Now here’s an idea. Would it be beyond the realms of possibility to get the chosen chiefs of all pagan orders to write to the press to explain that the leader of the roman catholic church has been very hurtful, unhelpful, damaging and deconstructive towards the pagan community?

    BUT WE ALL FORGIVE HIM FOR HIS HARSH WORDS!

    We are, as a community, stronger and more open and available to everyone who requires a spiritual way of life.
    We accept and warmly encourage all genders, sexes and even other religions into our fold, which is something that, in this, the 21st century, the “great religions” still have problems with!!

    How sad that the christian church is still blocking out much of its community because “it’s written”!

  21. Well it just doesn’t make any sense. Shows he knows nothing about Paganism! Or the history of Christianity either come to that 🙂

    • Give it a rest for goodness sake. If Philip’s half the person I think he is, he’s probably regretting he commented as he did. Try and see the the Pope by all means but saying you forgive him wiuld just be self righteous twoddle. But I don’t know why I’m spending time writing this, I’m preparing for the Winter Solstice, Alban Arthan.

      • I think if Phillip is half the person you think he is (as do I), he probably wants for those discoursing on his blog posts to remain civil and respectful toward each other. Have a Blessed Alban Arthan!

  22. As a former Catholic, I am disheartened by the Pope’s message and can only bless his heart that he recognize his human error and find true unconditional love in his heart.

  23. In this article he seems suggest that the pope is contradicting himself, or did he basically really not know the true definition of paganism. This article it states the Pope claimed “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there?” However there will always be a catholic slant on what he says, here is the link to the article.

    http://diversitychronicle.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/pope-francis-condemns-racism-and-declares-that-all-religions-are-true-at-historic-third-vatican-council/

  24. I’m sad to have to reply with this: http://wafflesatnoon.com/2013/12/22/did-francis-all-religions-are-true/

  25. In using the word ‘pagan,’ the Pope clearly meant in the sense of ‘non-Christian,’ rather than to refer to groups who identify with any neopagan religions. As you know, that is an old and traditional sense of the word. Anyone not a Christian was/is a ‘pagan’. We’re lumped in with the rest of the ‘lost’ — that’s just the way it is in Christian thought. May be unwise to get too riled up. Well, at least, I’m certainly not going to let affect my day.

  26. Just a thought. Perhaps the Pope was referring back to the time when Romans were “Pagans”, persecuting Christians. As we know, the majority of people who convert to Christianity perceive themselves as superior, and anyone who fails to “see the light” needs either exterminating, exorcising or the guidance of missionaries. The Romans undertook this task with their legendary zeal. The Pope is either a devious spin doctor or is genuinely unaware of modern Paganism. This is why it is essential that we speak out about our beliefs. For too long we have kept quiet for fear of ridicule or worse. Now is the rebirth of the Divine Feminine. Her voice needs to be heard.

  27. Easy fix – invite the Pope to the next festival at either Stonehenge or Glastonbury.

    • I would LOVE to see that! It would make my day… 🙂

    • Heck, it would make my year!


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