“You will come to me and you will tell me all this suffering in the world. And I will say to you: they are all hysterias of love. Distortions of our ability to love. The problem, brothers, is love. The question, then, is: how are we to love? This is my way: with tenderness, without passion. Passion is the eternal enemy of humility. Christian humility, which is frugal, is just and is necessary. Love is an abstraction, like intelligence, like happiness. Every time our judgment is beclouded by the ardent passions that consume us, we give love a dangerous concreteness, a scandalous concreteness, an illegal concreteness. In short, we are causing pain. To ourselves, and to others. Replace that concrete love with tenderness.”


"The New Pope" makes an explicit connection between abstract and concrete executions of love. Whenever love is expressed concretely (the ardent passion of the terrorist, sexual abuse in the church etc) it leads to pain; the only love that seems to work, at least as Sir John Brannox is outlining it at this point in the series, is one that does not display any passion or propensity for worldly things, an almost buddhist/ christian-nihilist view of the world.

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