I am glad to recommend books that I know you will enjoy. ‘The Clowns of God’ by Morris West is one of those. It opens with the cardinals in the Vatican deciding the Pope has lost his mind and the Pope’s desperation that no one will listen to him. God has given him a revelation for the world. We follow a number of fascinating storylines, discover and love the clowns of God, are startled by evil of the apparent trustworthy, feel the despair at the power of evil, are horrified by the joy that evil people feel in exercising their power.
As the book finishes we can be aware it is today’s world and always has been. Empire is evil, controlling the lives of people for the benefit of the powerful few who are fearful of each other as they plot to defeat others who are powerful, seeing world domination as the ultimate aim.
Pope Francis. Do you believe him? Do you believe in him? Big money in the Catholic Church wants him pushed to one side. A political Catholic Church would then threaten other super powers.
Such powers speak with the weapons of mass destruction. In such a scenario our and their side are where people live. The people do not know the truth but are told a version of the truth that pleases the ruling and controlling powers. It pleases the ruled people, also, because they do not have to think for themselves but repeat what they are told to believe. They are free to not think, the supreme achievement of imperialist power in politics, business, religion. What the revered leaders want or say is to be accepted and obeyed. All know the punishment for refusal.
Personal integrity will cost freedom and lives. Such courageous people know they can be pursued anywhere in the world. There are death squads (theirs) and protectors of freedom (ours) and a constant need to beware of falling out of favour and being disappeared. Pope Francis knows who would like him out of the way. He is not a clown of God but is more aware than most of the powers of political, business and religious rule and dictatorship. His words mean nothing to them unless they can be doctored and adopted, but they can mean a great deal to us as we hear his pain.
He is in Portugal and his first act was to meet thirteen survivors, victims of abuse in our Church. Before the whole world he chose to speak first to them and was blessed by their agreeing to meet him. He longs to bring healing to them and the millions abused and wants us to feel the same. We are called to be clowns of God, all of us, and our example is the beautiful clowns that God has chosen in the book.
I hope you make time to read ‘The Clowns of God’, easily available to download, perhaps even to buy. St Paul asks those to whom he writes to put up with his foolishness when he speaks of God – Paul, the clown of God. He could not be given a better role or title: a fool (clown) for Christ’s sake. So may we be.
God bless us to be clowns for God,
Rev Fr John
(6th August 2023)