Pope Francis hits ‘utilitarian friendships’

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Pope Francis hits ‘utilitarian friendships’
’Before considering someone your friend, let time test him,’ Pope Francis says, as he describes friendship as ‘very sacred’

MANILA, Philippines – From attacking other day-to-day issues like gossip, Pope Francis now criticizes a “utilitarian sense of friendship” that has hurt him like everyone else. 

“The utilitarian sense of friendship – to see what I can get out of being close to this person and making myself his friend – this pains me,” Francis said in a radio interview publicized by the Vatican on Monday, September 14.

“I have felt used by some people who have presented themselves as ‘friends,’ with whom I may not have seen more than once or twice in my lifetime, and they used this for their own gain.  But this is an experience which we have all undergone: utilitarian friendship,” the Pope said.

The pontiff gave the interview to Marcelo Figueroa, a journalist who is also his friend. The interview aired on Sunday, September 13, over Argentinian radio station FM Milenium 106.7, according to Vatican Radio. 

During the interview, Francis added, “Friendship is something very sacred.”

“The Bible says, ‘Keep one or two friends.’ Before considering someone your friend, let time test him, to see how he reacts in your regard,” the pontiff said.

Tagle: We have become too pragmatic’

Described as “the world’s parish priest,” Francis has addressed other practical issues throughout his two-year papacy. He denounces gossip, for one, as “murder.” (READ: New Year’s resolutions: The Pope Francis list)

Recently, the man dubbed as the “Asian Francis” – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle – also addressed day-to-day concerns that can also apply to friendship.  

On September 1, Tagle also said Catholics should learn the value of “contemplation,” or seeing beauty, dignity, and worth in persons beyond what is “useful.”

The cardinal pointed out: “We have become too pragmatic. We have become too functional. We don’t even give ourselves the time and space to enjoy the beauty of something or of someone.”

Tagle said: “If you are not useful anymore, you are dropped, you don’t exist. It is not human dignity. It is not a contemplation of human dignity. Even people are measured by our profitability.” – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com