The Revolution of Tenderness

Tuesday 28 October 2014
By Natasha Marsh, Kairos Catholic Journal
‘WHAT do you really want?’

This was the question posed by Bill Donaghy, inspirational speaker and curriculum coordinator for the Theology of the Body Institute, Pennsylvania, in his lecture, ‘Pope Francis and the Revolution of Tenderness’, given on Thursday 2 October. More than 70 people gathered at the Cardinal Knox Centre after Six30 Holy Hour at St Patrick’s Cathedral to share a meal and listen to Bill.

A natural and charismatic speaker, Bill held the young audience captive with some honest critiques of modern culture. ‘I’m not trying to make judgements here … I just want to put my finger on the pulse of what is going on,’ he said.

Bill showed how family role models, such as in The Brady Bunch, had been replaced by the ‘dysfunctional family’ or the angst-ridden pop star. ‘There is narcissism here. There’s no sense of family, or the other … just the pursuit of my own happiness.’

He spoke of the ‘great divorces’ in culture: God versus science, body versus soul, faith versus reason, theology versus biology, and even masculinity versus femininity.

‘Don’t we divide these things? But “in the beginning” every one of these was married,’ he said. ‘We have ripped things apart, and lost in the process a sense of tenderness.’

Bill offered the vision of Pope Francis and his predecessors as the antidote—a Church looking outward, a Church of tenderness.

‘Pope Francis says, “The Gospel encourages us constantly to risk a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence, which challenges us.” God is still gushing love. He still wants to give us everything ... but sometimes we just don’t hear it,’ he said.

He encouraged the audience to unplug, log off and connect: ‘We need real “face time”, my friends.’

An in-depth interview with Bill Donaghy will feature in the next issue of Kairos Catholic Journal.

Photo by Natasha Marsh, Kairos Catholic Journal


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