Take a break, says the Pope

02 November 2006

DON'T work too hard, the Pope has told the world in a summer message frohis holiday home in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

 After a survey in the United States showed that 40 per cent oAmerican workers had no plans to take a holiday, Pope Benedict XVI has warnethat they could be risking their spiritual health.

There is no legal obligation in the United States to give workers a holidayMost of them get less than four weeks' paid holiday a year - including publiholidays.

The Pope, who is 79, greeted tourists on Sunday at his summer residenceQuoting from St Bernard of Clairvaux, he said that the warning applied thimself as well. "We have to guard ourselves, as St Bernard observed, againsthe dangers of excessive activity, regardless of the office one holds, becaustoo many concerns can often lead to hardness of heart and suffering of thspirit. They are nothing other than loss of intelligence, dispersion of grace,he told the tourists, before giving them his blessing.

"The caution applies to all kinds of occupations, even those inherent in thgovernment of the Church."

He quoted St Bernard's "provocative" words to a former Pope, Eugene III"This is where your damned occupations can drag you, if you continue to losyourselves in them . . . leaving nothing of you to yourself."

Pope Benedict's words were welcomed by the the Churches Together in Englan(CTE)'s staff member on its spirituality group, Captain Jim Currin CA.

Quoting the rule of life of the Companions of St Lawrence, Captain Currisaid: "Almost inevitably this means leaving some things undone. We think ouour priorities under God, and then accept the fact that much we had thought wought to do, we must leave."

He suggested Christians should look at the Grove bookleDecluttering: A spirituality of less by Andrew Barton, published iMay (1-85174-623-4,  2.95). But the general secretary of CTE, the RevBill Snelson, suggested weariness could drive someone to God.

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