In the pope’s homeland, more Argentines are seeking spiritual answers beyond the church

by | Oct 9, 2023 | Religion

CAPILLA DEL MONTE, Argentina (AP) — In the pope’s homeland, there’s a woman who believes in angels and calls them aliens. Another proudly identifies as a witch. And there’s a spiritual guru so turned off by the Vatican’s opulence that he left the church to help others connect spiritually outside organized religion.All three are former Catholics who have joined many other Argentines in the growing ranks of the religiously unaffiliated. Known as the “nones,” they identify as atheists, agnostics, spiritual but not religious, or simply, nothing in particular.
Pablo Robles says a better label for him would be “all,” since he has a rich spiritual life outside religion.
Robles grew up Catholic but became disenchanted while visiting the Vatican during the Great Jubilee of 2000. At a papal Mass, he listened to a sermon on humility — and found himself questioning how the church’s vast wealth conflicted with that message.
“I was next to a gold column larger than my apartment,” Robles said. “It just unsettled me so much that I said: ’This is not the truth. They’re speaking about one thing and doing another.’”
Back in Argentina, he began searching for answers in astrology, Buddhism and Sufism, the mystical side of Islam. He now uses music, yoga and reiki to help others connect spiritually.
“This is growing because it’s a moment where the structures and the institutions no longer show coherence and people need freedom instead of the public approval of an institution,” he said a …

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