In latest interview, Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness

So as of two days ago, Pope Francis has shared his “10 Secrets to Happiness” that have of course been shared all over the internet.

Pope Francis Ten Secrets to Happiness

I am concerned with the latatement he made regarding proselytizing… I’m sure he doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t evangelize others or encourage conversion to Catholicism, just that we shouldn’t talk to people for the sole sake of “winning” the battle and not basing the discussion on friendship and good will.

Already I have seen people sharing articles stating that the Pope has said that trying to convert others is wrong. I really feel the Pope chose very poor words here and I’m.worried by the number of people who seem to think that Pope Francis is suggesting we not try to evangelize Catholicism to non Catholics.

Any thoughts?

This is the direct quote from the pope in the article:

“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. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,” the pope said.

The pope is very clear:

  1. Witness is what inspires others to be attracted to the faith.
  2. An important part of Witness is communicating – a dialogue in which two people share and listen
  3. Proselytism is talking** at **the person, not to the person or engaging with
    the person.
  4. Attraction is what people see and hear. In other words, what do people see and hear when they look at Catholics? If they act no differently than others in the world, why is it necessary for anyone to consider the Church?

People will interpret what they want to interpret. What the pope says is clearly in line with the Church’s approach to evangelization.

I was more bothered by #5

  1. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.

Isn’t Sunday the Lord’s day?

He said that because he’s not only talking to Catholic/Christians. The article doesn’t even mention God. He was just saying how everyone can live happier lives.

Yes, of course, but the title is Ten Secrets to Happiness, not How to be a Good Catholic. Remember he is speaking to a wider audience.

There was a time, even in “Godless Massachusetts” up to approximately 1980 that stores were closed on Sundays. No one starved, no one went without clothes, etc.

Our bodies were not designed to go 24/7 and there is a psychological and physical need for us to slow down and relax and reflect. The laws of the Church and perhaps the Ten Commandments don’t mean diddlysquat to a non-believer, but the psychological/physical benefits might be a first step. We have to meet a person where he or she is in order to make a connection.

In many places in this country you can’t tell it is Sunday as opposed to a different day.

Now, retailers will tell you that they are only giving the public what they want and if people didn’t want to shop on Sundays then the stores and businesses would not find it profitable and close on Sundays.

I see proselytizing as trying to covert someone yourself through your own power and evanglization as letting God convert through you and your actions. We can’t convert anybody, only God can do that. We can only give witness and provide an example.

I agree that what he says is definitely in line with Church teaching, it’s just frustrating currently that when you Google “Pope Francis 10 Secrets to Happiness”, the first result you get is an article titled “The Pope gives his 10 Secrets to Happiness, Including Don’t try to Convert Anybody”.

The media is absolutely notorious for bending and twisting the words of Pope Francis to fit their agenda, I just wish his language was more clear, because already all over my Facebook people are sharing that article I mentioned saying “Yeah, this guy gets it. Everybody just mind their own business.”

I don’t think we need the Pope to give secular advice on how to be happy. There are plenty of Oprahs and self-help guides for that. He’s the Pope. I happen to think that being a good Catholic is the secret to happiness.

I must agree that neither the Pope’s own words or reason would seem to suggest he would be giving advice for happiness to “just the secular folks” of the world, as if the happiness found in Catholicism, the Truth, did not apply or was unobtainable for them.

I mean, Pope Francis doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to cater to the news media, but what I’ve observed so far are my non-Catholic friends rejoicing that the Pope “said” that “they shouldn’t be converted” and then reprimand Catholics when they try, and my Catholic friends are upset that the name Jesus wasn’t mentioned in the Top 10 Secrets to Happiness. It’s seems both sides are being confused by this. I just wish our Holy Father would be more concise with his words, and realize the impact they have on such a socially connected world.

I like what the Pope said and it doesn’t surprise me. We must remember that every Pope comes from a different background and a different order. The Jesuit do not push evangelizing as much as service, showing how to be a man for other, and other things. That does not mean they do not believe it is important it just means something different.

Many time whether people want to admit it or not, they want to evangelize other for their own self worth rather than the people they are trying to covert. It makes them feel superior or like better Catholic, even when other things they do clearly go against the church. How many time have you read people on this site sounding more arrogant when they speak of evangelizing rather than charitable or caring?

I totally agree, and I also think that that’s what the Pope meant. I think he meant, evangelize, but don’t do it do in argumentative, pompous, self-referential, or know-it-all type of way, but rather have it be based in loving service.

But I just wish he clarified that a little more, because not many people seem to understand that and I fear this will make some non-Catholic Christians considering conversion feel that they should no longer go through with it.


I agree with him too and am glad he is making these points. And I do believe the best way to bring people into the faith is through example or witness, not proselytizing them. When I was an agnostic/atheist, I found proselytizing so annoying (and it’s always Protestants). Made my blood boil. The religious people that inspired me and that I didn’t forget were what I saw as the “real” Christians who really lived out their faith, Orthodox/Catholic/Protestant. Although I am glad my grandmother lectured me and gave me Bibles and dragged me to Mass in the summer. Otherwise I never would have set foot in a Church.

Pope Francis can come off as too mellow sometimes, sort of a Catholic Thoreau. :o I give him a nine out of ten, maybe a 8.75…

No offense meant to be lobbed at those who are questioning what the Pope has stated, but I’ve noticed an increase from Catholics being more critical of the Pope than those who are twisting the reporting of what he said.

This Pope isn’t really saying anything much different than what Pope Benedict would have said nor Saint Pope John Paul II.

Perhaps they didn’t realize what the Church has always taught regarding such matters?

I agree completely … “live and let live” … felt like something the Beatles would sing.

To quote, PJB, “Did those legendary Jesuits like St. Isaac Jogues and the North American Martyrs make a mistake proselytizing and baptizing, when they could have been working on youth unemployment among the Mohawks?”

I will say flat-out that I do not like Pope Francis.

He simply refuses to take on the major moral issues of the day. ‘Live and let live’? Seriously? Is that all we get from the Vicar of Christ? I could read that in People magazine.

‘Dignified jobs for young people’? What is the special expertise of the church in coping with teenage unemployment?

I can be happy if I respect and take care of nature?

And the worst thing we can do is proselytize. Wrong Pope Francis. The worst thing we can do is be neutral in the culture war.

We would never get this kind of wishy-washy nonsense from St. Pope John Paul II. He became great by defending the truths of the church and his refusal to change moral truth to accommodate an immoral age.

Predictably, the world loves Pope Francis. Didn’t Jesus say the world will hate us though?

Those in the world who revel in sin and claim to love Pope Francis do not understand him, and their love is more a reflection of their own agenda - narcissistic self love. You do not like Pope Francis, but are you willing to accept that God gave us Pope Francis at this very time, just as he is, for reasons you cannot understand? Are you willing to take to heart the Holy Father’s message, even though, or perhaps precisely because, you find it so disagreeable?

What is his message? Be nice? Respect nature? Help teenagers get jobs?

Pope Francis has been critical of the “culture of death” or a “throwaway culture” that advocates the convenience of abortion and birth control and also for things like gay marriage. He defends the traditional family based on the model of the Holy Family. I agree he sometimes keeps too low a profile on social issues, but when cornered he’s orthodox. His style is laid back, that’s all. He is more complex than you are giving him credit for. (No worries, I respond that way myself to him sometimes - I do think it’s a mistake though.)

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