The monthly Chronogram
, promoting the creative and cultural life of the Hudson Valley, publishes "Thomas Moore: Accounting for the Mysterious"
by Susan Piperato in its March issue. This interview talks about Moore's retreat at the Garrison Institute, 31 March to 2 April 2014, and his approaches in his new book, A Religion of One's Own
Piperato asks Moore: "I’ve heard a lot of lapsed Catholics saying that they feel welcome and hopeful again, which is something they never thought they’d experience. You were brought up Catholic and served in the Servite Order for 12 years. What do you think of Pope Francis?"
"Well he’s definitely having an impact. I’ve been saying lately that I’ve been waiting most of my life for a pope to come along who could talk more simply and without all that heavy authority and leave room for people to find their own way, not just moralistically thinking—that’s what it means to be religious. But he has been doing that publically and it’s amazing, so here we have a pope who makes his own breakfast in the Vatican and word of that gets all around the globe, and suddenly people want to be Catholic again. It’s quite a remarkable thing. So he doesn’t have to talk about dogma and what you should believe—for him it’s more about style. I think it’s wonderful. That’s what a religious leader ought to be. I always thought that the pope should be very much like the Dalai Lama—someone who is respected around the world as a religious leader and is not caught up in all the pomp and circumstance and finances and rules and judging people. And Pope Francis has shown himself to be wonderful along those lines, especially about not judging people. If he continues that way and has an impact on his own official church that way—I’m not sure that he can, but if he can, I’m sure that a lot more people will come back to the Catholic Church.
And this fits into another thing. I know from my travels that people all over the globe are hungry for spiritual guidance. They want to have spirituality in their lives. And the churches are emptying, as we were talking about before. So if you put those two things together, it just makes sense. The church should be able to reach those people and offer them guidance. But there are several things they have to do—the first thing the Church needs to do is get over its gender problem. And not be so male-dominated—it’s so obvious that that’s a huge problem today. You really, truly have to be living in some other century not to see that. And people today don’t want to be told so much what to do and don’t want to be judged—and rightfully so. They want some guidance and encouragement and inspiration. If the Catholic Church can do all that, I can see it coming back and really thriving. But they’re going to have to change radically, and the church is going to have to go further than we are right now with Pope Francis."
Share April Fool's Day with Thomas Moore at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York.
12 Jan 2014 "Thomas Moore gives public talk in Garrison, N.Y."
3 Nov 2013 "Be with Moore and others, April Fool's Day 2014"