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pope francis

Pope Francis Preaches From The Wrong Side Of The Morality Border.

By: Chris Warren.

Pope Francis has done a lot to bring a message of decency and peace to a world that seriously needs it. This blog has said nice things about His Holiness before, and nothing has happened since then to change that sentiment. Still, respect is not blind, nor open-ended. Pope Francis may be infallible in Church matters but for all other things he’s just another guy with an opinion like the rest of us. That’s why l was disappointed and even a little offended when during a visit to Mexico Pope Francis was critical, or more accurately, hypocritical, towards American immigration policy.

Aided and abetted by the Pope, the political left wants to make the issue much more complicated than it really is, but the bottom line goal of building a wall along the US-Mexico border is for the United States to control who comes and goes. It’s not “racist” or “xenophobic” to build a border wall any more than it’s “racist” or “xenophobic” to have a locking door on your house.

A country without a border is not really a country. Pope Francis should know, because there is a very large, centuries-old wall surrounding the Vatican. The Vatican is recognized as an independent sovereign nation where (surprise!) legal immigration is almost impossible. Tourists are welcome to visit, but they better be back on the other side of the gate at closing time. If Francis has a problem with walls & barriers, then he can start by tearing down the one around his own patch of dirt.

What offends me is that Pope Francis stood on the Mexico side literally a few feet from the border and wagged his finger in admonishment at the United States because of American attitudes towards the very controversial but yet very legitimate issue of illegal immigration. And again, I must stress that it’s “controversial” only because the liberal left makes it so.

It was almost as if His Holiness did not want to see that the United States cheerfully takes in millions of legal immigrants every year. As a religious (not political) figure, he has a little more wiggle room to say things. Yet, wiggle room is not a license to forego discretion and context. He knows damn well the USA is more generous and giving than any nation on Earth. When there is any kind of humanitarian crisis or natural disaster anywhere on the globe, no one calls the Vatican for help. They call the United States, and rightly so: The entire world knows Americans can always be depended on to come through.

When Pope Francis visited the United States last fall, I was personally uplifted and encouraged by his being here and he said many words of comfort that touched millions of Americans. Of greater import is what he did not say. I would like to know why he did not go to the American side of the border and give a morality sermon towards Mexico about all the drugs and problems they send over here. Why didn’t he insist that Mexico fix all the internal social dysfunction that motivates illegal border crossings in the first place? Why didn’t Pope Francis tell Mexico, “The Americans have been very, very kind to you. Stop taking advantage of them!”?

I’m not going to be too rough on Pope Francis. In spite of my disagreements with his approach to some issues, I do think he’s a great man and a net-positive for Roman Catholics and the world. But standing literally within earshot of a nation’s border and criticizing that nation’s political process (which, by the way, is the most free and democratic in the world) is in extremely poor taste.

As a Christian and an American, I forgive Pope Francis for his offense. I hope he visits the USA again soon and takes some time to see for himself that a wall may define a country’s physical border, but not the spiritual limits of its generosity and goodwill.

pope francis

Pope Francis Crosses The Line With Class And Grace.

By: Chris Warren.

This is a big week for American Roman Catholics as Pope Francis is making his first ever visit to the USA. The media acts like he is some sort of visionary, but that only shows how little the media knows about the history of the papacy. It’s not unprecedented for a pontiff to dabble in politics and social issues; Pope Francis is doing it with an amazing level of class and grace. Popes have been inserting themselves into secular matters for centuries, and in many cases it went far beyond mere “dabbling”.

Pope Francis’ position on climate change or gay marriage or whatever provides material for endless chatter on the cable news channels. Had electronic media existed in times past, it would have been overloading the circuits with news of how popes were, literally, kingmakers. Pope Julius II (b. 1443, d. 1513) was known as the “warrior pope”. He raised armies and conquered territory, acquired vast art collections, and tore down then rebuilt what is now the present day St. Peter’s Basilica. Julius II was also the guy who hired Michelangelo to paint the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. One can barely imagine the media attention that would ensue if Francis attempted anything close to what Julius II did.

It is somewhat amusing that the media thinks Pope Francis made some huge splash when he gave a few sermons and wrote what is basically the Vatican equivalent of a college term paper on climate change. It’s barely an effort compared to his predecessors. Pope Paul V (b. 1552, d. 1621) put Galileo on trial for daring to suggest that the Earth revolved around the sun. Galileo was found “guilty”, given a light sentence, then was later tried by the Church a second time as a repeat offender. He lived the last few years of his life under house arrest.

Although the Catholic Church no longer places anyone on trial for scientific heresy, that of course does not stop the Church from having an opinion. It’s a fair argument that religion should concern itself only with spiritual matters, but since society by default is also a statement about collective values and beliefs, the line between religion and politics is quite fuzzy.

Pope Francis has been criticized for stepping out on the ledge, so to speak, and making bold statements about secular affairs. If he did not, then what is the point of having a Church? One of the primary purposes of any church is to glorify God by doing good works for others. Is Pope Francis supposed to sit in a chapel and quietly pray the Rosary all day?

One thing that always bothered me about secular people is that they wrap themselves in a veneer of separation of church and state, thinking they have a monopoly on social change. If it were not for organized religion, a lot of problems would go unsolved. I don’t see any atheists building hospitals in Africa or running homeless shelters in inner city America. They aren’t willing to admit it, but secularists do indeed have a de facto church –the government– to which they petition for help and guidance. It takes a lot of nerve for people who think the church should be separate from the state to treat the state as if it were a church.

pope francis

I don’t completely agree with everything Pope Francis says on political and social topics, but I do agree with his selfless message of God’s love. If his words makes people of any (or no) faith look a little more kindly upon their fellow man, then that’s a net plus. Pope Francis is in a position to reach people who otherwise would not have any interest at all in words of faith. He is not a political figure and thankfully is not bound by any political customs. Pope Francis teaches that politics may not belong in religion, but religion most certainly has a place in politics.