Wednesday, August 3, 2022

If Dr. Phil was pope

I can't think of many differences between a letter he would write to an LGBTQ outreach event, and this one from Pope Francis: 

Dear brother,

Thank you for the letter you sent me a few weeks ago, along with the “Outreach 2022” brochure. Congratulations for having been able to make the event happen this year in person.

I am aware that the most valuable thing is not what appears in the brochure or in the photos, but what happened in interpersonal encounters. In fact, the pandemic made us seek alternatives to shorten the distances. It also taught us that certain things are irreplaceable, among them the possibility to look at each other “face to face,” even with those who think differently or those whose differences seem to separate or even confront us. When we overcome these barriers, we realize that there is more that unites us than separates us.

I encourage you all to keep working in the culture of encounter, which shortens the distances and enriches us with differences, in the same manner of Jesus, who made himself close to everyone.

I assure you of my prayers. Don’t stop praying for me. May Jesus bless you and the Blessed Virgin care for you.



No mention of anything of religious substance.  Just 'hang in there' levels of pep-poster talk.  Nothing about wanting to help people come closer to God, Christ, a moral life, or anything.  The idea of leaving a sinful lifestyle isn't even worth mentioning.  Where Jesus and Mary and God exist at all, is where they exist in our modern paganism - at best to bless me no matter what I do or want, otherwise stay out of my way. Which is just what one would hear listening to the latest installment of Oprah Winfrey.  

In fact, apart from how he spends his Sundays, I can't really think of anything that makes Pope Francis sound any different than any one of a thousand talking heads, pop psychiatrists, television commentators, and self-help gurus in our modern world.  If there is a bigger problem with a pope, I'm at pains to imagine what it is. 


  1. Replies
    1. I'm not recognizing Phil McGraw's idiom in the letter. I remember reading a biographical sketch of him nearly twenty years ago, when his program was new. He tells the interviewer that he followed his father into the clinical psychology practice then discovered that he was 'a terrible therapist'. The big problem was that 'I could usually figure out in the first few sessions what their problem was. I'd be working with them for six months and not getting anywhere and I just wanted to say, 'look, here's your problem: you're a jerk'". So, he left common and garden practice and went into the jury consulting business. He was hired by Oprah Winfrey's counsel when she was sued, and it was through his acquaintanceship with Winfrey that he landed his TV gig. I cannot imagine Francis offering such a plain and critical self-assessment.

    2. Heh. I had to get to the end to find the punch line. You're right of course. Pope Francis is not big on dropping the first person plural when calling out the cause of problems in the Church.


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