The Pope disappoints me.
As a Protestant the Pope is in one sense inconsequential to me, but as he is the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, he wields amazing influence. When Pope Francis was elected after the historically rare resignation of Pope Benedict, I was really impressed with his humility and his passion for the poor, the disempowered and the voiceless. I was also impressed with his rejection of the trappings of the Papal office like the special Papal Chair, Papal Residency and even the Papal red shoes. (See Pics).
But he seems to have lost his way. In Pope Francis’ address to the Congress of the United States and the United Nations this last week there is literally a plethora of issues that he could have made priority: Here is a few that I am sure he would have mentioned:
1) Gun control in the US. Figures from several years ago: guns took the lives of 31,076 Americans in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour. In the same year, 73,505 Americans were treated in hospital emergency departments for non-fatal gunshot wounds.
2) Abortion: 40 million Americans have been killed since the decision of Roe vs Wade legalized the killing of babies in the US. Catholics are traditionally opponents of abortion and the Pope could have put pressure on Congress to address this incredible injustice
3) The Syrian refugee crisis consuming Europe at the moment. Or the fact that 27,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean in the last 15 years as they sought the apparent safety of European countries.
4) He could have talked about his desire to meet with the victims of Clergy abuse of children and his abhorrence at the systemic cover up.
5) The level of homelessness in the US and the fact that the lack of a welfare safety net leads to many having to resort to begging on the streets for food.
6) The mistreatment of women around the world, including Female Genital Mutilation, Honor Killings, Dowry Killings and Domestic Violence Killings.
7) The mistreatment of minority religious groups around the world.
9) Global Muslim Extremism
10) The failure of US foreign policy that has caused America to be hated around the world.
So which of the world’s issues did the Pope feel was one of the major things that needs the attention of America or the United Nations?
I quote the Washington Post:
“The pontiff reaffirmed that we are in a time of crisis: The moment to act on climate change is now,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) “Without aggressive policies to take on what he described as ‘environmental deterioration caused by human activity,’ the health and safety of millions around the world is at risk.”
(This week scientists announced in London that they have measured 33% more ice on the Arctic ice caps than in 2013.)
Second issue that the Pope felt was super important: The abolition of the Death Penalty. In 2013 the US executed 38 people……so no mention of the 27,000 people drowning in the Mediterranean.
The Pope did mention war. He lamented war as “a dramatic assault on the environment.”
There were other topics that he addressed but not really any of the above and certainly they weren’t the ones that caught the attention of the world’s media. The Pope had an amazingly influential audience but I can’t help but think he crafted his speech to tickle the ears of his hosts. After all the Obama administration spends approximately $90 billion a year on climate change.
So Mr Pope. I am disappointed. Being a voice for the poor and disempowered isn’t always popular when speaking to the rich and powerful
Climate Change is not the world’s biggest issue right now.
That’s what I think anyway.
Categories: Current Affairs