Why can’t people be smart enough to realize that both sides want the best and affirm some things that are good and true, and both sides have blind spots where they think they’re right, but they’re actually off beam.
The value of a papal visit is that a pope speaks for the Catholic Church and therefore brings an international, historical and spiritual viewpoint to the discussion. I’ve written here about why a pope is necessary for political discussion.
Here are five papal takeaways for right wingers and five for left wingers.
1. The Pope is Criticizing Greed – When the pope attacks unfettered capitalism he is simply stating part of historic Catholic social teaching. It’s okay to disagree with him about the details, but his underlying critique is on a system that encourages un limited greed. You don’t think greed is a good thing do you? Do you think the American system should be above criticism? Instead of muttering your disagreements with the Pope’s critique of capitalism why not see where you can agree?
2. The Pope is an Advocate for the Poor – That’s being like Jesus isn’t it? When is the last time you read the gospel? You’re also in favor of helping the poor aren’t you? Before you slam the Pope as a Socialist take time to inform yourself. Have you actually read his comments or just the headlines? If he challenges us to help immigrants and refugees we should listen. What country did your grandparents or great grandparents come from? Again, you may disagree about the detail, but do you not agree that the rich have a responsibility to the poor and that we are called to be our brother’s keeper? If not, which religion do you follow, because it ain’t Christianity.
3. The Pope is Against Pollution, Wanton Consumerism and Waste – Maybe you disagree with him about the alleged human causes of climate change. That’s okay. Those views are not church doctrine. But you’re not actually in favor of pollution and the destruction of the natural environment are you? Are you in favor of a total slash and burn, rape and pillage policy regarding the world’s resources? Probably not. Pope Francis is calling on humanity to use the world’s precious resources wisely and carefully. That’s a good thing isn’t it? Furthermore, his call for us not to waste and use wantonly connects with his pro life message. He constantly calls on us not to waste and wantonly consume one another too. You do think that’s a good thing don’t you?
4. The Pope is Against War and Killing – Popes are always against war. Aren’t you? If the pope criticizes nations that spend more money on weapons than on health care isn’t that a good thing? We should face it. America is a warrior country. We’re always fighting a war somewhere, and very few of those wars are just according to church teaching. It’s right to defend our country, but it’s also right to be against war and only use violence as a last resort.
5. The Pope Sets an Example of Simplicity – Pope Francis is strong on significant gestures. In everything he does he is setting an example of apostolic simplicity. This echoes into the reverent but simple way he celebrates Mass, his choice of cars, his choice of dwellings and his choice of friends. Do you disagree with his example of simplicity? Don’t you think it reflects well on the church? Isn’t it Christ-like? It goes with his whole anti-materialistic message. That’s something you as a Catholic would agree with isn’t it?
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