The Los Angeles Times is reporting that President Obama will include a significant reference from Pope Francis in his upcoming State of the Union speech. President Obama will tag on a powerful statement of Pope Francis urging us all to embrace the world’s poor.
This is the quote of Pope Francis’ that he will use: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
President Obama, in a shameless move to hitch a ride on Pope Francis’ pope mobile, will repeat Pope Francis’ statement while continuing to support abortion and to fight the American Catholic Church on the issue of birth control.
President Obama seems to say, “See, I love the poor, too, so support Obamacare, folks. Oh, and I love Pope Francis, as well”
President Obama will take Pope Francis’ message from a homily, a Gospel message, and attempt to turn it into political gold for his 2014 political agenda.
If President Obama in his State of the Union speech challenges Wall Street businesses to donate a ten percent tithe to the cause of the poor next year, then using Pope Francis’ words would have some practical meaning. I do not think President Obama will ask for that tithe. Pope Francis is urging the world to pony up for the poor.
I suppose President Obama realizes that mentioning Pope Francis could smooth over some of Obama’s disregard for the cultural importance of the Catholic Church in America. The Catholic Church contributes a spirituality which is an important part of the American fabric. If you are president of the U.S., you cannot act as if 66 million Americans do not exist.
Of course it doesn’t hurt that Pope Francis shines from the cover of Time Magazine as “Man of the Year.” How can President Obama not give in to the temptation to hook his political agenda to that bright star?
Rush Limbaugh, the grand-dad of blow-hard radio, thinks that Pope Francis is either a gosh-darn communist or just deluded by leftists. Poor Pope Francis is a pitiful man –allowing himself to be led by the slick operators of the Vatican. Or, maybe Pope Francis is a communist and in love with socialism. Can he be far from Marxism? Rush came up for air after that rant.
I lose Rush somewhere because I can’t equate loving the poor with being a communist. Nor can I believe that capitalism in any form is an unassailable system of goodness. I think there is an immense amount of greed in our society and it ain’t all nice.
So the Pope doesn’t like trickle-down economics. Lots of good Americans don’t believe that kind of economy reaches the poor. Many good people believe with Pope Francis that money gets clogged somewhere between the very rich and the well-off.
Pope Francis would like a more generous distribution of our resources. He’s repeating what Jesus taught so powerfully when He told us that a cup of water given in His name will not go unrewarded.
If this sounds like communism to Rush, I marvel at the smallness of his mind. Or, is he like Captain Ahab, obsessed with himself all the while making his way in the dark sea of ignorance. Save us, Rush! Save us from dumb shepherds who do not understand how the world works.
Does Limbaugh know any other song than that communist-leftist refrain which we have heard so often from him? Let me shorten that sentence: Does Rush Limbaugh know anything, anything at all?
He might have learned something about Pope Francis and the Catholic Church if he would have read at least the introduction to Evangelii Gaudium. I doubt if he read the entire document and I would be surprised if he understood any of it
Rush, you have to be a Christian at heart to get it, to understand it. By the way, Rush, the document is not addressed to you. It’s a long memo to the contemporary Catholic Church.
The papal document is from beginning to end about what the Catholic Church calls “the New Evangelization.” It’s not about economics, though Pope Francis insists that we take care of the poor better than we have in the past. The Church of Christ is the church which lifts up the poor. Evangelii Gaudium is not a church teaching on economics. It’s a motivational sermon on evangelization.
Pope Francis loves the poor. He loves the poor because he sees in them the face of Christ. I guess, he’s a bleeding-heart liberal, Rush. That makes me and those who follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ fellow travelers, right?
Here we go again.
It is remarkable that we have come so far in just the last fifty years. There was a time here in the U.S. when Lutherans and Catholics wouldn’t even acknowledge one another’s presence. I, a Catholic, was taught Lutherans were heretics and Martin Luther, a renegade monk.
A Lutheran minister told me long ago that that his mother taught him to never trust a Catholic. These days, it looks like the pope and the Lutherans are trying to trust one another.
We’ve come far by dialoging. Lutheran leaders who have been in the forefront of ecumenical discussion think it’s O.K., even good, to walk into the Vatican and meet the Roman Pope on his own turf. They hear him say that Lutherans and Catholics do not need to contend any more. That time is over. It is a time of healing now.
In his opening words, Pope Francis greeted his Lutheran guests as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
He encouraged both Lutheran and Catholic leaders to work on practical ways of achieving the unity that Christ, Our Lord, prayed for in John 17; 20-21.
I have been blessed to be friends with three wonderful Lutheran ministers in my life. Forty years ago, one of them gave me a print of the Last Supper (by P. C. Hodgell).
He wrote on the back of the print the following prayer: “…toward the time when we will be able to take communion together.”
Pope Francis thinks we are getting closer to that time.
Pope Francis gave this response in an interview in September, 2013. The interviewer was Antonio Spadaro, S.J. and Pope Francis remarks were published in “La Civitta Cattolica.”
OMG! What modern pope has ever defined himself as, first of all, a sinner? What happens to our conception of the pope as the pre-eminent, holy, follower of Christ? A pope in our day is considered an icon of holiness. All you have to do is think of John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Pope Francis wants to shatter the image we might have of him as reigning above us all in holiness. Pope Francis calls to mind the painting by Caravaggio of the “The calling of Matthew.” The masterpiece hangs in the Church of St. Louis of France, in Rome. I saw it when I was in Rome two years ago.
In the painting, Matthew is in what appears to be a pub. Along with him are several of his henchmen and they are counting the days take.
One young man fingers the day’s haul and contemplates it. Jesus, barefoot, enters the pub with Peter. Jesus points to Matthew and says “Come follow me” as he points at him. Matthew points to himself as if to say, “Are you sure you want me?”
Matthew, a despised Jew who worked for Rome against his own people, is called by Jesus to fulfill a destiny which Matthew had as a member of the covenant people. Matthew was a ritually unclean Jew who gouged the poor and extorted from the rich. But, when called, he got up and followed Jesus as a member of the new covenant people.
Pope Francis feels he has been chosen through no merit of his own to be an apostle like Matthew.. Pope Francis does not set himself above us but situates himself with the rest of us sinners.
There is a quiet revolution going on in the Catholic Church. In this fiftieth anniversary year of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Our Lord has given us as chief shepherd, a sinner in need of the healing call of God’s mercy, just like you and me.
Pope Francis is confident of that mercy and he knows that he is graced with the light of God. He wants us all to see the light.
The questions are predictable and so is their reasoning:
–Why shouldn’t women be priests?
–Abortion is a fact of contemporary life. The Church needs to recognize that at times abortion is a correct, morally good choice. Don’t you agree, Holy Father?
— Birth control can be achieved these days through preventive medications or the morning after pill. Catholics should regulate their conceptions just as they do with other important components of their lives. Surely you can see the need for the Church to get with the times?
— Homosexuality is not a mental illness. Why not simply recognize homosexual practices as an alternate life style?
Holy Father, these days homosexuality is not an issue. Nobody cares. It’s time the Church stopped condemning gays.
–All religions whether Christian or not are pretty much the same when it comes to core teachings, i.e., Love one another;
Teach others to love; Don’t sin: Life will continue in some way after death, etc. Why can’t the Catholic Church admit this and strive for unity of all religions?
Pope Francis has not ducked any of these important questions, nor has he suggested changes in Church teaching. What he has insisted upon is a change in attitude for the entire Church, especially bishops and priests. Pope Francis wants his Church to go out and seek those who do not measure up to our high principles. He wants us to take people where they are at and love them, not judge them.
That is an entirely different matter than changing the moral stance of the Church in regard to these issues.
Pope Francis recently spoke to the clergy of Rome and told them to get out of their sacristies and go find the sheep who
live on the periphery of the Church. He reminds us to show them that the Church loves them where they are at in their spiritual and moral lives.
Several times recently, Pope Francis has reminded us that we priests may get dirty working on the fringes of society. It’s O.K. for shepherds to smell a bit like the sheep, if we are to be authentic shepherds.
Stay tuned for further developments from this remarkable, smiling Pope.
Two Sundays ago, Pope Francis asked that Catholics throughout the word pray for peace in Syria and thereby avoid an inevitable escalation of war in that country where over a hundred thousand people have died in the past few years. Pope Francis selected this last Saturday as a day of intense prayer and fasting for peace in Syria..
What can I say? It worked! I believe we have received an answer to our prayers for peace. The plan which the U.S. and Russia have worked out and that Syria has agreed to will turn over all chemical weapons for destruction. I guess it’s up to the U.S. and Russia to figure out a way to neutralize the nerve gases which already have killed over a thousand Syrians.
For the moment, the threat of a new conflict which would have drawn in Russia on the side of Syria, has been avoided. A sense of relief has come over the world.
The rebels in Syria, though are not pleased because the agreement will not bring an enduring peace to Syria. The civil war in Syria continues.
The work of peace is unending. It is the work of the Church to promote peace in our world, the peace that Jesus commended when he said: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.” (Mt 5,9)
However, for the moment a world crisis has been avoided by the grace of God. It’s time now to offer Him thanks for hearing the prayers of a sinful world.
We Christians know, however, that a peace that lasts will come only when we work toward justice for the poor throughout the world. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice…” (Mt.5, 6)
At the Eucharist, Mathew’s beatitudes sounded especially moving this morning: “Blessed are the peacemakers” and, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”.
There were more people in church today, too, than on any ordinary Saturday. I think they were as much affected by that reading as I was.
We are asking for a miracle. Is it possible that the world’s leaders could set down at the table in a communion of hearts, if not of minds? Can we ask insurgents and an oppressive government to come to some kind of an agreement for the sake of the poor, for the sake of peace?
The answer is, of course, to follow the commandment of love. I think the Koran issues the same command.But, we sinners are notoriously disobedient to God’s commands.
This time maybe with half the worlds hearts beating for peace, the other half will hear the call to peace in their hearts, too.
Our Holy Father asks that on Sept 7, Catholics throughout the world pray and fast for peace in Syria.
Pope Francis continues to urge dialogue between the Assad regime and the rebels.
The United Nations through its secretary urges that the U.S. refrain from striking Syria with selective missal launches. He insists nothing will be accomplished by acts of war against Syria.
John Kerry, our U.S. Secretary of State is determined to get Congress to pass a resolution proposed by the Obama administration to send missals into Syria to strike at crucial military installations in order to weaken Syria’s ability to gas its own people.
I thought Kerry was clear and at times eloquent this past Tuesday in his appeal to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as he answered in detail the concerns of that body.
I tend to agree with Kerry: Sometimes you have to act because not acting is complicity. He urged the senators to get behind the Obama decision to weaken Assad’s ability to use inhumane methods to control dissent. To do that we have to strike the Assad regime in a way that they understand.
I’m going to fast and pray this Saturday for peace in the Middle East. I can’t see how we can teach the Assad government that violence is self-defeating by using violence as our teaching tool. I’m going to try to join the millions of Christians who still believe that grace can triumph over evil.