Yesterday Pope Francis gave a homily that denounced the culture of pleasure and entertainment and the “obsessive” pursuit of perfect bodies. With the Jubilee for the Sick and Persons with Disabilities in mind he spoke of how our culture may lead us to refuse gifts if they do not fit our mold of “perfect”:
In his homily, the pope acknowledged the fundamental reality that “human nature, wounded by sin, is marked by limitations.” Yet, he continued, “it is thought that sick or disabled persons cannot be happy, since they cannot live the lifestyle held up by the culture of pleasure and entertainment.”
“In an age when care for one’s body has become an obsession and a big business, anything imperfect has to be hidden away, since it threatens the happiness and serenity of the privileged few and endangers the dominant model,” he said.
“The world does not become better because only apparently ‘perfect’ people live there,” he said, “but when human solidarity, mutual acceptance and respect increase. How true he said are the words of the Apostle: ‘God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong’ (1 Cor. 1:27).”
Pope Francis is primarily talking to the sick and disabled, but his words are also applicable to the millions of people who bear the cross of poor self-image and eating disorders. When the media around us constantly depict images of cultural physical ideals it can a whole generation to link the idea of happiness to physical attractiveness. What do you think?