Can’t get enough carnal sins? You’re preaching to the choir, says Pope Francis.
In an interview with Italian writer Carlo Petrini, who has compiled several conversations with the pope for a new book, his Holiness referred to sex and food, among other delights, as gifts from God. Furthermore, to enjoy them is not sinful, as “overzealous” church leaders have taught in the past.
“Pleasure arrives directly from God. It is neither Catholic nor Christian nor anything else; it is simply divine,” he tells Petrini in the book “TerraFutura: Conversations With Pope Francis on Integral Ecology,” an English working title, out now in Italy. “The pleasure of eating and sexual pleasure come from God.”
Francis continued, referring to the church’s past condemnation for life’s gustatory and sexual pleasures as “overzealous morality … A wrong interpretation of the Christian message.”
“The pleasure of eating is there to keep you healthy by eating, just like sexual pleasure is there to make love more beautiful and guarantee the perpetuation of the species,” said the Pontifex Maximus.
Views that banish such basic aspects of life “have caused enormous harm, which can still be felt strongly today,” the 83-year-old claimed.
“I don’t think it’s unusual for a pope to say what he specifically said, though,” said writer and Catholic critic Peter Williams. “In calling the enjoyment of food and sex ‘divine’, the Holy Father is rightly pointing out that pleasure comes from God.” Williams told Newsweek that the Bishop of Rome was describing “the church’s acceptance of ‘human, simple, moral pleasure,’ like good cuisine and fulsome sexual love in marriage.”
Indeed, Pope Francis has said there are much bigger issues to pray over, namely climate change, deforestation and unsustainable consumption.
The book’s author is touted as a founder of the “slow food” movement, beginning in the 1980s as an effort to protect regional culinary traditions and to advocate against fast food and rampant consumption. The book, according to Petrini, is an answer to the pope’s recent call-t0-action to defeat climate change and and environmental injustice.
Last week, the spiritual leader urged audiences at the Vatican and the world to heed the 2015 Paris climate accord — a cornerstone issue of the 2020 US presidential election next month.
“Our constant demand for growth and an endless cycle of production and consumption are exhausting the natural world,” Francis said on Sept. 1. “Forests are leached, topsoil erodes, fields fail, deserts advance, seas acidify and storms intensify. Creation is groaning!”
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