‘Sirens want to charm you with seductive and insistent messages’: Pope Francis warns against the ‘cult of physical wellness’ — and perils of consumerism

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While Americans live on a holiday spending spree that could break records, Pope Francis has a suggestion for your shopping list: Less than that.

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After the leader of the Roman Catholic Church left Greece on Monday, he called on ancient Greek poetry to sound the alarm over contemporary consumerism.

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Once upon a time, mythical sirens sang beautiful songs to try to lure sailors to their doom in Homer Odyssey,

The story now has a sequel, Pope Francis said.

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,‘Today’s sirens seek to captivate you with seductive and insistent messages that focus on easy profit, the false needs of consumerism, the cult of physical well-being, entertainment at all costs.’,


– Pope Francis

Pope Francis made his remarks, as reported The Associated Press, in a speech to the students. This limited a journey where he also drew attention to the plight of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe.

Pope Francis – like many other spiritual forefathers in Catholicism and other religions – has warned against materialistic culture in the past.

in 2015Pope Francis said, “Today consumerism determines what is important. Maintaining relationships, maintaining friendships… whatever the cost or the outcome.”

But there may be a new ring this season, as America’s reopening economy copes with a supply chain that has been thinned by labor shortages and rampant consumer demand.

,As the holiday shopping season begins, America’s reopening economy copes with a supply chain that has been thinned by labor shortages and rampant consumer demand.,

The National Retail Federation projects a record holiday shopping season that could reach between $843 billion and $859 billion.

According to Adobe ADBE, online purchases were down slightly year-over-year in the five-day period following Thanksgiving,
+0.89%
figures.

But many people started early on their gift lists this year, and online sales grew by about 12% year over year.

Consumers’ spending spree may be strong, but so is their charitable streak. Nearly 35 million Americans donated $2.7 billion to Giving Tuesday, making it Record breaking numbers.

“This extraordinary display of generosity has illuminated the world in two years of darkness,” said Asha Kuren, Co-Founder and CEO of GivingTuesday.

,To avoid the sirens invoked by Pope Francis, consumers may have to take similar measures – turn off their notifications and remove some shopping apps from their phones.,

In Homer’s epic tale, Odysseus suffered Sirens sing as he was tied to the mast of his ship. Before that, his crew filled his ears with wax.

In today’s attention economy, consumers may have to take similar measures – turn off their notifications and remove some shopping apps from their phones, to avoid the sirens called for by Pope Francis.

Of course, this is a tough way to get through life.

But some financial advisors say people can get away with the siren’s song by directly looking at what they have — and then being grateful for it.

For example, James Vermillion of Vermillion Private Wealth in Lexington, Ky., said that gratitude can help people avoid short-term impulses that unnecessarily nibble on a person’s finances at the sacrifice of longer-term goals.

“By practicing gratitude, we can overcome the urge to spend on an asset that won’t increase our happiness and focus on areas like spending quality time with family and friends,” he said.

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