It's Sunday - Some Intelligent Hope to Scheer me Up ...

This is an interview that Robert Scheer (editor in chief of truthdig) conducted with film maker Wim Wenders covering his new documentary about Pope Francis.

Pope Francis - A man of his word

I liked Scheer's questions a lot and Wim Wenders answers as well. There is lot in that interview that spoke to me. Scheer's roots and Wender's roots grew out of German soil. I found myself in it a bit. Asking myself some of the questions raised in the interview myself during my lifetime, just vaguely, and never searching in earnest to answer them. But they didn't leave me alone either and tickled me lately.

The interview made me understand why I had similar feelings about that specific Pope. I have no religious education or a specific affiliation to a church, just the very basics of the German Lutheran Protestant teachings, which were presented to me as a 13 year old by a pastor that unfortunately had a speech disability and so most of the time I couldn't wait for his lessons be over, as I didn't understand much of what he tried to say.

From the transcript:

And I’m really excited to be discussing this current film, 'Pope Francis – A Man of His Word'. And it’s a documentary about the current Pope Francis, but it begins with Francis of Assisi, and the whole idea of the vow of poverty and reforming, a commandment from Christ to reform one’s one house. And you begin the movie really talking about this image, and one wonders, does the Catholic Church have this pope at just the right moment; is it the house that requires reforming, or are you referring to the world as requiring, as the house that requires reforming and saving and changing. So why don’t you just introduce that, the subject of [the] current pope. Who I have to say, this film appeals to my own feelings about this pope, that he has actually dared to challenge us on the most fundamental questions that we face, both with his words and his actions.

This summarizes what many with German roots of my generation (post wwII) may feel or may have felt.

Robert Scheer: My own family, my father’s side, came from a Protestant background in Germany. And a half-brother of mine in this country actually was in the American Army Air Force, he actually bombed the area, and then he visited. And he was so alienated by the role of the Church in our home community, Mackenbach, near Kaiserslautern, small village. Because the church, the Protestant church, it’s certainly been compromised by its relation to power, to Hitler. And so had the Catholic Church. And I just, and a lot of the feeling I found in my own relatives in Germany was they wanted nothing more to do with religion; their religion had failed them. And–

Wilhelm Wenders: They were not alone.

Right, as Wenders said to Scheer, "they were certainly not alone".

Yes, I think that's the reason why in my family religion and church were not a subject we discussed or talked about for more than a minute. We were all raised "with an invisible religion", though both my parents did not leave the protestant church, they just were not inclined to have much to do with it aside from using the church for ceremonial festivities that they believed they had to adhere to adjust to social customs.

This makes it clear to me:

Wilhelm Wenders: Yeah. And I don’t know any of his predecessors who would have said, who am I to judge, as long as somebody is a good person, who am I to judge. And that “Who am I to judge” is a huge turn from other ways of treating any of these subjects. It’s true, he says God loves us all, and he even goes that far and says, God loves you even if you’re an atheist, and if you reject his love he has the same love for you, and that’s the only bond that we have as humans. And we are really, really brothers, and we have to take that seriously, and we cannot pretend we are anything else. We need to face that fraternity, and that we are a common family on this planet. So who am I to judge anybody who’s thinking differently from me?

Robert Scheer: Which is incredible coming from the pope.

Wilhelm Wenders: Yeah. It is.

Robert Scheer: And we should remind people of this history. I mean, I talked about half of my family being Protestant; the other half were Jewish. And I remember growing up as a kid in New York, and every once in a while somebody would punch me in the nose and say, “You killed our Lord.” And I didn’t even know what they were talking about, “You killed our Lord”; well, that was a position the Catholic Church supported up until recent history, right? It was, I think, under Pope John where it was officially declared, you know, that this basic anti-Semitic canard had to be rejected forcefully. But this is true of all religions—people claim to be Muslims, Hindus, you know, Buddhists, and they kill other people in the name of a lord. So they say they have the right to judge, they’ve been encouraged to judge, right, by their religion. And here’s a pope—and as I say, he’s just the right pope for that church for this moment, and for the world for this moment, because he is saying, you know—no. We have to take seriously the complexity of this situation, and of the human experience, and then return to some basics. And so, is this guy the real deal?

If you have time and are so inclined this is just a suggestion to listen to. (there is a transcript with it, thank you truthdig).

Listen to the end of it. There are nuggets I like a lot. For artists ... too. Smile

And this Robert Scheer summarizes wonderfully and it explains why he managed to give me some 'Intelligent Hope' this morning:

“Go and restore my house”—by that house, though, it means all the people in this house, whether the house is the world, or it’s the universe, or it’s the Church. But it’s all of them, and it means somebody stuck in a prison; it’s somebody who did something wrong and was punished; it’s somebody who’s poor; it’s somebody who lives in a country you don’t understand their language. That is what this movie really is about, and what you’re saying this man is all about.

In the words of NCTIM's signature: Jesus GOD loves you. Everybody else is an asshole.

In any case that interview and that movie haven't been made by assholes. And that is all I have to add. Have a good one.

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I'll look for that documentary and read the Sheer piece. It's a worthy message....the one about getting one's house in order as well as the one about our inescapable fraternity. Things would be different if we adhered to those ideas. Thanks mimi for taking the time and giving us a heads up. Hope things are going well for you across the sea.

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mimi's picture

of Americans my age. Where they came from. How they grew up. What they remember and why and how. Scheer's words about his family just rings a bell with me.

I left Germany too early in my younger age and now regret to not having had more chances to talk with my extended family members about their past. Today I would have so many questions, but they are all gone.

I made a trip to Berlin for a day lately and walked through old neighborhoods I lived in during the sixties and seventies. It's all gone, different, I don't find that what resided in my memory. I felt like a stranger. Couldn't relate anymore. I missed up on living during all the reunification years and the eighties in Germany. Looked at the events like an idiot on American TV when it happened. Everything I saw now in Berlin looked different. I couldn't find the "Wall". What is Berlin without the Wall? We were an island, the city had a soul and a heart, because we were surrounded by the Wall and it made the city that it was.

I found it almost insulting to see the Wall reduced to two lines of cobble stones in the pavement of streets. That's the respect people have had for the history of the divided Berlin?
Most of the wall mark stones are without any identification plates. You barely see them.

I was kind of upset that I didn't like Berlin anymore. I only can approach it as a tourist or researcher, picking one place and looking at it in depth. I will have to have many more trips, but I wonder if I ever can 'come home again to that city'.

There is one thing though that really felt "right". It's the holocaust memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe. It doesn't need any words or description. Here is a some video by a guy you all know well from your US TV.

Oh, now I went off topic chatting my feelings away. Anyway. There are some Americans I can relate to better than others. In the first years in the US I liked certain people more than others, it took some years to learn they were almost always Jews with German ancestry. I liked their honesty and humor and their liberalism. When I realized that, it struck me. Kind of ironic, I thought to myself.

Ooops I don't know what I am talking about here. Gone off topic.

Thanks for your kind words.

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@mimi touched my heart. Don't exactly know why, something reverberates with me in what you said. Someone said that we are all exiles in some way or another, whether it's from our childhood home, beloved relatives who have passed away, a place we once live and loved, our ancestors, or any number or other reasons. I believe we are all more alike than we might think with shared experiences, though the specifics of those experiences may be paradoxically, very different.

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mimi's picture

and what I learned is that you can be an exile to several 'homes'. That's for those who go to one exile to the next and return and go again. There are a couple of those. You can see how much an exilee to his first exile home resents to become an exilee for another time, even if that means to return to his first home.

That's what makes the refugee crisis in Europe more and more difficult to grasp.

Well, I need to homestead, that's for sure. Smile

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zoebear's picture

Work here at c99 about Pope Francis equally educational, although probably less hopeful.

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If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke