Pope Francis wants you to eat well and enjoy sex.
The pope spoke on cuisine and intercourse during a series of interviews with Carlo Petrini, an Italian culinary writer and activist behind the “slow food” movement, which positions itself as the opposite of fast food and advocates a slower, more meaningful pace of life.
“Pleasure arrives directly from God,” Francis told Petrini. “It is neither Catholic, nor Christian, nor anything else. It is simply divine.”
Francis critiqued the “overzealous morality” of a Roman Catholic Church that denounced pleasure in the past, calling it a “wrong interpretation of the Christian message.”
“The church has condemned inhuman, brutish, vulgar pleasure, but has on the other hand always accepted human, simple, moral pleasure,” Francis said. “The pleasure of eating is there to keep you healthy by eating, just like sexual pleasure is there to make love more beautiful and guarantee the perpetuation of the species. ... The pleasure of eating and sexual pleasure [comes] from God.”
Francis pointed to the 1987 film “Babette’s Feast,” saying it represented his ideas on pleasure. The pope has lauded the film in the past, particularly praising the actions of its protagonist, a chef who prepares an elaborate feast for members of a Protestant village.
“The most intense joys in life arise when we are able to elicit joy in others, as a foretaste of heaven,” Francis wrote in “Amoris Laetitia,” his 2016 apostolic exhortation. “We can think of the lovely scene in the film ‘Babette’s Feast,’ when the generous cook receives a grateful hug and praise: ‘Ah, how you will delight the angels!’ It is a joy and a great consolation to bring delight to others, to see them enjoying themselves. This joy, the fruit of fraternal love, is not that of the vain and self-centered, but of lovers who delight in the good of those whom they love, who give freely to them and thus bear good fruit.”
Francis’ conversations with Petrini were published in the Italian book “Terra Futura: Conversations With Pope Francis on Integral Ecology,” which was released on Wednesday and focuses on the pope’s views on culture, community and environmentalism.
Francis was “simply repeating the perennial Christian message on virtue and vice,” Catholic commentator Peter Williams told Newsweek in reference to the pope’s remarks on sex and food.
“By avoiding the twin evil extremes of repressive puritanism on the one hand and immoral libertinism on the other, both of which prevent or destroy happy enjoyment of good things like food or sex, the church rightly espouses the ‘golden mean,’” Williams told Newsweek.