27Oct Has Pope Francis been to SpecSavers?

SpecSavers  rolled out a series of TV advertisements which have proved to be a huge hit with viewers.  The current Irish advertisement is of an elderly sheep farmer shearing his sheep to the haunting tune of the old Irish favourite ‘Mo Ghile Mear’.  After shearing a number of sheep, the farmer, because of his poor sight, accidentally shears his Collie dog.  The advertisement then ends with the punchline “Should’ve gone to SpecSavers”.

The place of sheep, shepherds and flocks in Scripture are so well known as to hardly need an explanation here.  Sheep can be seen as soft and cuddly, well-groomed and easy to manage.  The toy manufacturing industry is expert in cashing in on this version.  They have done it well for ‘Shaun the Sheep’ and the same industry is experiencing similar success with ‘Peppa Pig’.  The merchandise is widely available and their television programmes are very popular.

Pope Francis has taken to the image of sheep too!  However, he has a different vision about sheep than the domesticated one.  The vision of Francis resonates more with the way things actually are when taking care of sheep. Anyone who has ever got a whiff of ‘sheep dip’, even if just from driving through the countryside, will know how pungent it is.  Anyone who has ever helped out in shearing sheep will be familiar with the sprains and strains that can go with that work.

Francis urges priests to be ‘shepherds living with the smell of sheep’.

Myopia is the technical term for being near-sighted.  The condition can be addressed by wearing glasses or contact lenses, which is the primary business interest of SpecSavers.  It is also possible to have surgery to correct myopia.  Francis recently referred to what could be described as myopia in the Catholic Church.  He said that the Church had become caught up in “small things, in small-minded rules”.  The corrective lens Francis prescribes is to take a broad-view of Catholicism.

The Annual General Meeting of the ACP will take place on Tuesday, October 29th.   The ACP was founded in 2010 and has been before its time in advocating for what Francis is now calling for.  As the ACP continues to look through the lens of a broad-view of Catholicism, what is it that comes into focus for the next three years?

Sean Duggan CSsR, 27th October 2013.

4 Responses

  1. ger gleeson

    Sweet smelling sheep, bad smelling sheep, and lost sheep, have all had the oppertunity of making their views known on this website. A sincere thanks to all within the ACP for making this possible. Have a great meeting on Tuesday next,and who knows, a well known gentleman, presently living in Rome, with similiar views of Church as you do, may turn up.

  2. Louise Murphy

    What has always encouraged me about the ACP has been its focus on the pastoral care of people- not lecturing people or selecting the few who seem to get things right. But going out of their way to speak for and to those of us who are on the margins.
    It encourages me that this too is the focus of our present Pope.
    So let the AGM reaffirm the steps already taken by the ACP and encourage its members to continue to give leadership, courage and hope to the church in Ireland.
    We need pastors not princes.

  3. Joe O'Leary

    too much pope-talk

  4. Shaun the Sheep

    Of course, well-cared for sheep aren’t as smelly as neglected sheep. The sheep look to their shepherds to be fed sound doctrine and sacraments. Many sheep are hungry, standing in the rain-soaked, windswept fields, baa-ing forlornly. When will the shepherds begin preaching from the Catechism instead of from their own limited bank of personal, small-minded ideas? But then, who am I to sheep?