Pope Francis arrives for his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 28. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Editorial: Take Pope Francis' advice and stop complaining

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  • July 27, 2017

Let’s face it, we live in a world of complainers.

The neighbours are too noisy. The weather is lousy. The roads are too busy. The raccoons are a nuisance. There’s nothing to watch on summer TV. The Blue Jays can’t hit anymore. There are too many weeds. The homily was too long. And the politicians, where to begin?

You get the picture.

So you have to admire the sign that now hangs on the door of the Pope’s Vatican residence: “Complaining Not Allowed.”

Some people ask you to leave your shoes at the door. Pope Francis wants you to leave behind your gripes.

Who can blame him? It’s probably a safe bet that the Pope has few meetings during his busy days that don’t include someone grumbling about one thing or another. When you lead a huge, international institution that rarely seems to run smoothly on all cylinders, dealing with complaints probably goes with the job, one supposes.

It may not have been complainers, per se, that caused Pope Benedict XVI to step down. He certainly never made that claim. But you have to wonder if dealing with too many moaners played at least some small part in his conclusion that, at age 85, he was no longer able to exercise his papal ministry. Maybe he’d just had enough.

But this isn’t just a Vatican problem. The Pope’s new sign should be copied and pasted on doors beyond the Vatican corridors. His prudent suggestion deserves to be studied by all would-be complainers. It offers sound advice for everyone.

Complaining is detrimental to one’s health and well-being, the sign says, echoing studies that indicate complaining, and the stress that often accompanies it, can contribute to depression, headaches, fatigue and coronary issues. Further, says the sign, complainers are prone to exhibiting a “victim complex” that dulls their sense of humour and problem-solving ability. It is particularly wrong to complain in the presence of children, it concludes.

It’s easy to picture Pope Francis wearing a smile while hanging his notice. This is a pope, after all, who has lamented that the Church has too many doom-and-gloomers with faces resembling pickled peppers. Designating his suite as a no-complaint zone, complete with a large, red notice, would appeal to his obvious sense of fun.

But as usual with Francis, the humour has a deeper message. He’s right, of course, people complain too much. He seeks a Church of people who are joyful and optimistic. So if he’s tired of the naysayers, who are we to complain?

His sign concludes with some sound advice. “Stop complaining and act to make your life better.”

So let’s enjoy the summer and stop complaining — even when the Blue Jays strike out and the homily runs long.

Comments (2)

If this were a genuine Catholic column it would be complaining about the lack of true Catholicism in the Church - which is now glaringly obvious even inside the door of the Pope's residence - and complaining loud enough for the complaints to be...

If this were a genuine Catholic column it would be complaining about the lack of true Catholicism in the Church - which is now glaringly obvious even inside the door of the Pope's residence - and complaining loud enough for the complaints to be heard behind that door! True Catholics will stop complaining so much when they have a true Catholic Pope installed in St Peter's Chair.

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