"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Hysteria Lives--in the Catholic Church

The carryings-on around this pseudo-synod in Rome (so called not because of its content but because, as I argued almost a year ago, nothing in Rome called a "synod" since 1965 has really been such properly so called) are really a sight to behold. The reaction to this synod is merely a more advanced case of the reaction to Pope Francis, which has been growing worse over the last three years especially. But in the last day or so things really seem to have crossed a line with the adolescent antics around some of the Amazonian art which was pitched into the Tiber and has caused rejoicing among a certain sector of Catholics (largely white, North American and Western European, upper middle class at least, and right-wing) on social media.

This sector, I'm convinced, is astonishingly well described by the Anglo-American psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas in his book HysteriaBollas defines hysterics as those who are
“indifferent to conversion, who are over-identified with the other, who express themselves in a theatrical manner; who daydream existence rather than engage it; and who prefer the illusion of childlike innocence to the worldliness of the adult. They also suffer from suggestion, either easily influenced by the other or in turn passing on ideas to fellow hysterics.” 
Elsewhere in this book he notes that "there are as many male as there are female hysterics" and the especially advanced cases are "malignant hysterics" prone to, inter alia, being "transference junkies."

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