VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis revealed Friday that he never wanted to be pope and that he’s living in the Vatican hotel for his “psychiatric” health.
Francis told them the decision to become a priest had been difficult and that he had suffered “moments of interior darkness” when “you feel dry, without interior joy.”
I’ve written about the relationship between mental illness and religion and people got their feathers ruffled. I’m thankful that the current Pope is honest about his need for psychiatric health, for, I’ve found in religion lies a misunderstood connection to mental health. If we were to take a close look at how mental illness plays a hand in ongoing problems with the church, we might learn more about, not only, the intricacies of mental illness, but how we can teach others that are already devote followers of a deity, whatever it may be, that mental illness is more prevalent then we think.
A recent episode of Larry King Now: A Tribute to Billy Graham aired in honor of National Day of Prayer and Larry celebrates evangelist Billy Graham. The panel had, what I believe to be, hyper religious leaders giving their two cents on modern day religion.
I sat and watched the episode and thought about an old article I wrote on the relationship between mental illness and hyper religion which took some bible thumpers over the edge, big-time. I was blasted by the Christian Diarist among other religious groups, to even propose such a notion that there might be a correlation to mental illness and hyper religion. After reading all the craziness and slander, I couldn’t help but think why it was such a sore spot with people?
Web MD writes: Does the medical community consider pedophilia to be a mental disorder? Yes. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has included pedophilia in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders since 1968.
We have pedophilias left and right coming straight out of the church, we have religions leaders with mental illness that lie and deny having a mental disease, and we have hyper religious patients walking around psych wards with diagnoses of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder with psychotic features.
Sorry folks, but there is a relationship to mental illness and hyper religion and unfortunately religious zealots don’t want to hear about it, acknowledge it, or face it. Hyper religion coupled with mental illness will continue to show its face. So why can’t we have an honest social dialogue about it, and use it as a means to teach others about mental health awareness?
Here is the original article:
Peace out everyone!
Monk image available from Shutterstock.
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Pope Francis foregoes papal summer retreat - Wanted in Rome (June 10, 2013)
Last reviewed: 10 Jun 2013