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Pope Francis’s ten secrets to happiness

In an interview with Argentine magazine Viva, Pope Francis listed his 10 secrets to happiness. Here they are, drawn in part from the Vatican's news network and the Catholic News Service. (The Washington Post)

Everyone’s doing lists, five things you need to know, three things that will terrify you, the ten best and ten worst of everything. So how about ten secrets to happiness, courtesy of Pope Francis.

In an interview with Pedro Calvo of the Argentine magazine, Viva, Pope Francis listed his ten secrets. Here they are, in quotes and paraphrase, drawn in part from the NEWS.VA, the Vatican News network and the Catholic News Service.


Live and let live.

‘The Romans have a saying, which can be taken as a point of reference. They say: “Campa e lascia campà” (Live and let live). ‘That’s the first step to peace and happiness. Move forward and let others do the same.’

Give of yourself to others.

 Pope Francis recalled Concepcion Maria Minuto, a Sicilian woman who used to take care of his mother, whom he met when he was a 10 year old. He said this woman made a long-lasting impression on him, teaching him to serve others. ‘People need to be open and generous towards others….If you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.’

“Proceed calmly” in life.

Referring to an Argentine novel by Ricardo Güiraldes, he said ‘In Don Segundo Sombra there is a very beautiful thing, a man who looks back on his life. He says that in youth he was a rocky stream that carried everything ahead; As an adult, he was a running river, and that in old age, he felt movement, but it was “remansado” [dammed; ie slowed, quiet]. I would use this image of the poet and novelist Ricardo Güiraldes, the last adjective ‘remansado,’ the ability to move with kindness and humility, calmness of life.’

Enjoy leisure.

‘People’s time is swallowed up, so they can’t share it with anyone. Take pleasure in reading, creating art and having fun…Consumerism has brought us anxiety.  Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it complicated, but you must do it.’

Take Sundays off.

People nowadays work too hard and miss the chance to enjoy life. He advised taking Sundays off because that’s ‘family time.’

Create jobs for young people.

‘I read the other day, but I do not telegraph it as a scientific fact, that there were 75 million young people under the age of 25 unemployed,’ Youth should be taught skilled work, which would allow them the ‘dignity of bringing home the bacon.’

Protect and respect nature.

‘When, for example, you want to make use of a mining method that extracts more than other methods, but it contaminates the water, it doesn’t matter….And so they go on contaminating nature. I think it’s a question that we do not face: humanity, in the indiscriminate use and tyranny over nature, is it committing suicide?’

Don’t be so negative.

‘When we talk behind somebody’s back, we are paying attention to the negative, which proves we have low self-esteem: This means, “I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down.” A healthier attitude is to be generous and treat others the way we want to be treated.’

Don’t proselytize; respect the beliefs of others.

‘We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes. “I am talking with you in order to persuade you.” No. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing.’

Work for peace.

‘We are living in a time of many wars and ‘the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive.’  Help immigrants, he urged. Open our doors. Look after them.






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Fred Barbash · July 31, 2014

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