Pope Francis.. Not Afraid To Speak Out..

To me the foundation of my spirituality lies in the words of Jesus in Matthew 25, particularly verse 40: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Pope Francis almost wants me to return to my religious roots in Catholicism. He says inconvenient truths that so many other religious leader shy away from or completely disregard.  Verse 40 as cited above is the most often quoted verse in Matthew. Seldom are the verses before or after used as a pretext to that sentence. In those verses Jesus basically tells the current religious leaders that they are hypocrites who will not be welcomed into heaven if they don’t take care of the “least of these”.  In fact he tells them an inconvenient truth often ignored: 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

These are very strong words that Pope Francis said about not being a Christian without practicing the words Matthew 25:40!  Many of the 81% of the Evangelicals who voted for CO3 (the Current Oval Office Occupant) often twist these words to say they only apply to other Christians (and particularly of their flavor of Christian!) but to me that is an intolerable rationalization that diminished their self-professed faith.

But I do also realize that these words and logic of Pope Francis will have not affect on CO3 as he is unable to admit that he is wrong about anything.  I just hope that the other two branches of government do their job and prevent the current Executive branch from destroying the spiritual roots of our country…

GOD SAVE OUR COUNTRY (in spite of ourselves)

Living On The Outskirts Of Hope…

2015-09-26_17-00-20I want to pen some final words about Pope Francis here. The title of this post is a recent quote from him that truly inspires me. There are just too many people in the world to who the very idea of hope seems unknowable. They live in such despair that all they can manage is just surviving day-to-day.   It is said that Pope Francis views the world from the Bottom up. I have never thought of it in those terms but it is an accurate portrayal of him and I hope to a certain degree myself.

Most of us, especially those of us living in the U.S. view life from a top down window.   We all dream of getting rich someday so that we can buy whatever our hearts desire.  We feverishly follow tweets from all the rich and famous people dreaming to be like them someday. We seldom take time to think about those living below us and in some cases very far below us.

I know that GOP congressional leader Paul Ryan’s hero Ayn Rand called empathy a scourge of mankind and that is probably how Mr. Ryan and many of his GOP friends view mankind. They seem to deem those that have nothing are just lazy people looking for free stuff.  Empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of those less fortunate than yourself. Many simply refuse to go there.

To see the leader of the biggest Christian organization in the world living with a bottom up view is inspiring indeed. I hope his empathy is addictive to all those millions who went out to see him recently.  I know that Catholic Services is one of the strongest and most active religious organizations out there. If only all of us who call ourselves Christians were actively involved in such services we might just live up to the expectations of our founder.

 

 

Pope Francis and Consumerism…

In Francis’ encyclical Laudato Sí, he took aim at the West’s “extreme and selective consumerism” and “throwaway culture,” arguing that the developed world’s voracious appetites are a bigger threat to the planet than population growth. Blaming overpopulation in poorer parts of the world, he writes, “is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.”…

If Pope Francis is working at least partly on faith, surely the same is true of boosters of supply-side economics. Conservatives can believe that the laissez-faire policies pursued by George W. Bush didn’t directly lead to the 2008 economic crash, or that the tax changes pushed by Reagan aren’t a primary cause of the growing chasm of disparity between the rich and the poor — they can believe that Reaganomics works. But plenty of real economists would find that faith naïve and misguided.

You can disagree with the pope on economics or the environment or any host of issues — again, plenty of people do, including Catholics of all political persuasions. But it’s a little rich for the high priests of Voodoo Economics to be calling the Vicar of Christ an economic charlatan with nothing important to say.

Source: Why Pope Francis is at least as qualified to pontificate on economics as U.S. conservatives

I will soon be ending my “Pope Francis” posts and return to the normal day-to-day world so I want to put some closing thoughts into this post.  I am shockingly surprised just how aligned I am with the messages of Pope Francis during his visit to the U.S.  One of the advantages of being retired is that I was able to watch much of his activity in real-time.

I’m not sure that there was a single issue he brought up that I didn’t whole heartedly agree with.  This guy just seems to speak to my heart. I definitely have my differences with the church he leads but maybe even those will mostly diminish as he re-shapes Catholicism.

One of the sad things I see about Pope Francis is that he was not made pope long ago.  It seems like Pope Benedict was just wasted time.  Pope Francis is 78 years old and his physical movement show it.  I don’t know how long he will remain on this earth but I hope he has a long life.  The Church, and by that I mean all of Christianity, needs him and his teachings.

What I most fear, or maybe expect is a better word, is that the attention,his words and actions have brought forward will quickly subside and we, and the church, will go back to the way we were.

The Mark Of The Shepherd…

the mark of the shepherd is you have got the smell of the sheep.

You have to go out and not only teach, but listen to the people of God. And he said, my ideal of a pastor was a priest I knew who knew who the name of every dog in the slum….

What he has done, I think, is he has transformed the Catholic attitude towards the world. He’s calling us to the margins and to the marginalized. And that is, of course, the oldest Christian message…

It is his identification with the poor that most differentiates Pope Francis. His remarks on inequality and the excesses of modern capitalism have been forceful, and he has attacked supply-side economics, policies that call for tax cuts for the rich, as a near-sacrilegious heresy.

Source: How a low-profile priest transformed into Pope Francis

 While I agree with everything above I especially love the first quote. It describes perfectly the difference between just saying words and actually acting out your beliefs.  Pope Francis is the epitome of being a humanitarian and demonstrates that fact through words and especially his actions. It will be interesting to hear in the coming days whether his words stuck to any of the politicians in Washington.  On this account I am pretty skeptical.  If dozens of young school kids being blown away by freely available guns did nothing to promote any gun legislation I doubt that this pious man’s words will have much of a lasting effect but I would love to be proven wrong.

Wouldn’t it be gigantic to see that the common good as the pope described it take hold in our national processes.

  • We need to quit using federal funds to abort life before birth as well as to end existing life via execution or street level violence.
  • We need to reign in capitalism so that  it allows families at all levels of the economy to thrive.
  • We need to FINALLY get a hold of allowing guns in the hands of those who would do so much harm .
  • We need to make sure that even the poor have an opportunity to become rich, even very rich, but NEVER very very rich. When too much is allowed to accumulate in the hands of a few humanity can never prosper or even survive for long. We need to finally understand that basic principle.
  • We need to treat the least of these  as we want to be treated.
  • We need to get out of our pews, synagogs and mosques and put messages of God engraved in our hearts into action.
  • We need to do whatever is necessary to stop killing each other over ideologies that really won’t make much difference. We need to quit sending our young men and women to war as a first choice.

Will any of these things have even a chance of happening?  I pray that they will but dread that they won’t. Thank you Pope Francis for putting all of these topics front and center in our lives if even only for a day or two.

Perhaps They Never Will..

GOP_Leadership

I have to put out a quick post here following Pope Francis’ speech before our congress. To me it was very inspiring but obviously there were those there that simply refused to listen to anything he said. Instead they sat stoically on their hands while those around them frequently stood and applauded.

This reminded me of the last words in the final verse of one of my favorite songs which is entitled “Vincent” by Don McClean. It goes like this…

They would not listen,

They are not listening still

Perhaps they never will

I just cannot believe that the current GOP leadership really represent all those who claim allegiance to that party.  Are all those millions who make up the GOP base so close minded that they will not even consider listening to anything that might threaten their current views?  I certain hope not.  The Bible calls that “hardened hearts”.  Perhaps its time to look elsewhere for your leaders?

Pope Francis has an unsettling message for corporate America

On Sept. 24, Francis will be the first pontiff ever to speak before a joint session of Congress. He’ll speak in English rather than his native Spanish. And he’ll most likely say a lot of things objectionable to the Republicans who hold majorities in both branches of Congress, and to many champions of American-style capitalism.

Source: Pope Francis has an unsettling message for corporate America – Yahoo Finance

Catholic or not (I am not) should listen in on what this man says.  He is a man as close to the teachings of Jesus Christ as I have ever seen in my lifetime.  You might just be inspired by his words….