Be Not Afraid of Goodness
While hearing some talks by Cardinal Mario Bergoglio during the previous week of the Pope’s election, it was mention the word “coprophilia” as a common reaction by people in front of certain information. This was an answer made to LaStampa. it, an Italian Online Newspaper, about the sensationalist journalism that often publishes scandals about the Catholic Church (qtd.
in Tornielli n. pag. ). He explained that this kind of journalism is a result of a sickness called coprophilia, something that most of journalists are in danger to get and by them, people in danger to commit “coprophagy”, a common sin that marks all women and men (qtd. n Tornielli n. pag. ). After a week, this Cardinal was elected as the new Pope of the Catholic Church. In the moment I heard about him, I run to find those words’ meaning. I discovered that Merriam-Webster Online defines “coprophilia” as “marked interest in excrement” (n. pag. ) and coprophagy as “eating of feces that is normal behavior among many animals” (n. pag. ). Therefore, I started to think about the meaning of those words in context of Cardinal Bergoglio’s answer, now Holy Father Pope Francis.
What did he mean about people sick of coprophilia and committing coprophagy when we talk about the scandals of the Catholic Church? Fortunately, the bomb of news about the new Pope’s election and people’s perceptions and comments about him as man and Catholic leader answered my questions. He meant that coprophilia is the people’s tendency – and journalists, as main source of information – to look for the worst part of something in a morbid way, placing the good aside; that makes people – receptors – to commit coprophagy by consuming that negative perspective.
Once the Holy Father Pope Francis gave his first words to his people, most of Catholics realized that he was a very humble man who just asks us to pray for him and for each other. In his Homily for inaugural Mass of Petrine Ministry, he mentioned several important facts directed to not just Catholics, but also to all the Governors who were present there in Saint Peter Square, Vatican. He said, “Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross” Holy Father Pope Francis n. pag. ). Also he explained, “We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness” because tenderness “is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love” (n. pag. ). Those words opened mine mind and heart deeply; I could not believe that simple words like his could move me so much. I felt very happy and inspired by him and wanted to find more information about him and his previous talks and writings as Cardinal.
Nevertheless, those nice feelings were shocked by horrible information about him just typing his name on Google. There were several news about him as a participant priest of the Argentinean dictatorship during 1976-1983, as well as accusations of misogynistic activity because of some things he supposedly said about women’s incapacities in a conference. Not wanting to trust that information, I started to ask people. Sadly, I found most of them with the knowledge about the unfounded internet accusations, but not about what he has said about service and tenderness.
It was then that I comprehended deeply how people, journalists as the first source of communication, have an excessive interest on the “secret” or “bad” aspects of any news and deny people the very good information they can get, as the whole inspiration I received upon initially reading the Pope’s words. After searching on Google and asking people, I started to dig a little bit on certain reliable information. Fortunately, I found that the new Pope’s supposed participation in the dictatorship were false accusations based on pictures of him, from his back, giving the communion to General Videla – Dictator Argentinean President.
The picture showed an old thin man as priest, but that year, he was 26 years old, so he could not be that man. Other sources showed as well that people who were imprisoned because of him declared publicly that he was not involved with dictatorship actions. About misogynistic declarations of women in a conference, a program of Eternal Word Television Network did a search about that conference of Cardinal Bergoglio talking about women’s incapacities and recurred directly to the only source that was accusing him, and it resulted that they have said that from a Yahoo forum commentary made by an atheist person who hated the Catholic Church.
That person did not have any fundament for saying that. Sadly, all of this false information was spread quickly and most of people were consuming those arguments easily. All this experience made me grow in the way of evaluating mass information, I discovered that despite the fact something could be really good, like the thoughts of Holy Father Pope Francis that everybody can take advantage of, there will be a dangerous filter which will try to show us the worst part of it.
However, that is not because of “evil” journalists, is because of people’s consumption. In general, people do not care about the true behind information; just pay attention to the secret and bad things can be said about something. Therefore, being critical while reading and willing to find the truth, could give us enormous benefits allowing us to know the best part of everything taking care of our minds and hearts.