Before we leave Padre Pio in the liturgical rearview mirror, an anecdote that sort of captures the man, who lived his Faith, as do all the saints, and should we all, as though it were really true. Not sort of true, or likely true, or true in a way that we would rather not, but truly true. And, if so, everything else depends upon what is taught by that same Faith.
When a young man, mired in sin, unbelieving, confessed to the saint that he did not believe in hell, Padre Pio simply replied, ‘You will when you get there’. We may hope he took the Friar’s words to heart, and discovered the reality of hell from the other side, so to speak.
And, speaking of hell, a secular version thereof seems to be where grumbling graceless Greta Thurnberg seems to condemn ‘climate deniers’, even mild skeptics, even those who don’t think about the topic all that much (if such be possible in our saturated age). The science, to her young mind, is beyond all doubt, suspicion or any breaking of rank and consensus. ‘We will never forgive you!’ she cries, in apocalyptic ululation, unless we all do ‘something‘ about climate change. What that ‘something’ actually entails is left forebodingly ambiguous. It is ironic that her condemnatory berating of world leaders three and four times her age – chastened, nay, castigated, by a moping moppet – should arrive hot on the heels of this essay by Theodore Dalrymple, who comments, in his laconic, psychiatric way, on Greta’s apparent utter lack of humour, unaware, we may surmise, of how she comes across to others of a relatively sane and unbiased mind, as a jejune and juvenile harridan, likely put up to the ultimately thankless task by others above her, who have even more aggressive agenda, of which she knows little.
On that score, whatever the consensus on climate change, there is also a growing trend amongst young people vowing never to have children until ‘something’ is done. This neo-Malthusian Manicheism must be refuted, with a clear and bright line drawn in the sand, signifying the beauty and richness of God’s created world, which He made for Man, and not the other way around.
Here are the words of Pope Saint John Paul II from his 1981 Laborem Exercens, on the proper use and domination of the wealth hidden in nature:
The whole of the effort to acquire knowledge with the aim of discovering these riches and specifying the various ways in which they can be used by man and for man teaches us that everything that comes from man throughout the whole process of economic production, whether labour or the whole collection of means of production and the technology connected with these means (meaning the capability to use them in work), presupposes these riches and resources of the visible world, riches and resources that man finds and does not create. In a sense man finds them already prepared, ready for him to discover them and to use them correctly in the productive process. In every phase of the development of his work man comes up against the leading role of the gift made by “nature”, that is to say, in the final analysis, by the Creator At the beginning of man’s work is the mystery of creation.
Ah, yes, ‘man’s work’ on the gift of God’s creation, which produced the world in which we live, and without which we would be back to vita primitiva, red in tooth and claw.
So rejoice, dear reader, for freedom Christ has set us free. So use that freedom well, with a magnanimous spirit, in whatever path you be called. Padre Pio and Pope John Paul, who rejoiced in large families, would be proud.