“The pleasure to eat as well as the sexual pleasure they come from God ”. To state it is Pope francesco in the book-interview written with the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, titled Terrafutura (Joints). The volume collects three dialogues with Bergoglio on integral ecology which took place from May 2018 to July 2020. “The Church – explains the Pope – has condemned inhuman, crude, vulgar pleasure, but on the contrary human, sober, moral pleasure has always accepted it. The pleasure comes directly from God, it is not Catholic or Christian or anything else, it is simply divine. The pleasure of eating serves to ensure that by eating one maintains good health, just as sexual pleasure is made to make love more beautiful and guarantee the continuation of the species “.
To Petrini who argues that “the Catholic Church always has a little mortified the pleasure, as if it were something to avoid”, Francesco replies that he disagrees. And he adds: “What you say refers to one bigoted morality, a moralism that makes no sense and which, in case, may have been, in some epoch, a bad interpretation of the Christian message ”. Bergoglio also stresses that precisely because eating and sex are the two acts that guarantee the survival of the species, “God made them beautiful, full of pleasure. The Pelagian rigidity has done so much harm, the Pelagian vision has refused pleasure in a bigoted way and has done enormous damage that in some cases are still strongly felt now ”.
Words destined to cause a sensation, but not new in the papal magisterium. Speaking to Jesuit confreres in the apostolic nunciature in Mozambique, on the occasion of his fourth trip to Africa, in September 2019, Bergoglio had explained that “one of the dimensions of clericalism is the exclusive moral fixation on the sixth commandment. Once a Jesuit told me to be careful in giving absolution, because the most serious sins are those that have a greater angelicity: pride, arrogance, domain. And the least serious are those who have less angelicity, such as the naked and the lust”. E to a group of young French people, received in the Vatican in September 2018, Francis had said that “sexuality, sex, is a gift from God. No taboos. It is a gift from God, a gift that the Lord gives us. It has two purposes: to love each other and to generate life. It is a passion, it is passionate love. True love is passionate ”.
In the dialogue with Petrini, the Pope also reveals that “quite frequently the people who are closest to me warn me that they hear about bad comments about me: that I am no longer the same as before, that I am losing my way because I have welcomed the Roma in the Vatican, I have talked about welcoming migrants and the last ones. I am not surprised and I do not take it ”. And on his predecessor he says: “I get angry when they say that Benedict is a conservative, Benedict was a revolutionary! In so many things he did, in so many things he said, he was a revolutionary. Then he got old and couldn’t continue, but he was really a revolutionary ”.
The dialogue between Francesco and Petrini arises fromBergoglio’s social encyclical, Laudato si ‘, published in June 2015. From there began a journey that saw Petrini, supported by the bishop of Rieti, monsignor Domenico Pompili, founding the Laudato Si ‘Communities, “spontaneous and heterogeneous groups of people of the most varied backgrounds, – as their founder defines them – united by the will to give legs to the concept of integral ecology, key theme of the encyclical “. But then meeting Francesco, as Petrini himself tells us, the “idea of a dialogue that could become a book” was born. A comparison, as the founder of Slow Food, between “an agnostic and a Pope, a former Communist and a Catholic, an Italian and an Argentine, a gastronome and a theologian”.