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Pope Francis Tag

Asked about Donald Trump Thursday, Pope Francis responded to a reporter saying, "“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” Pope Francis' full remarks are here: pope francis full remarks The news reached Trump shortly before a press conference. He responded by calling Pope Francis, "disgraceful."

It was only two short months ago that Pope Francis was touring this country and promoting his climate change encyclical, having made this issue a key one in his papacy. In the wake of the Paris attacks, his priorities seem to have been shifted. Unfortunately, he blames the weapon sellers instead of the weapons users for the start of a "world war" in his most recent homily.
Pope Francis has denounced arms traffickers who are fueling what he calls the piecemeal “world war” raging around the globe, saying they are “damned” delinquents interested only in making money. Francis delivered one of the most pained homilies of his pontificate Thursday during morning Mass in the Vatican hotel chapel. He didn’t mention the Paris attacks by name, but referred to little wars being fought around the globe. ...He continued: “Those who make war are damned, they’re delinquents. War can be ‘justified’ for many reasons. But when the whole world is at war, as it is today … there is no justification. And God weeps.”

Pope Francis' tour of the U.S. turned normal alignments upside down. Liberals -- who spare no effort to denigrate the Catholic Church -- all of the sudden found the Pope's progressive economic and immigration pronouncements to be just dreamy. At brunch on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and in Brooklyn, kind words were spoken in the same sentence as "Pope" and "Catholic." Eyes did not roll. We can now return to the prior alignment of the political universe. The Pope met secretly with Kim Davis, via NY Times:
Pope Francis met privately in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a Vatican spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. Ms. Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, has been at the center of a nationwide controversy over whether government employees and private businesses have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples. She spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal court order to issue the licenses. On Tuesday night, her lawyer, Mathew D. Staver, said in a telephone interview that Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security guards, aides and photographers. Mr. Staver said he expected to receive photographs of the meeting from the Vatican soon. On Wednesday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that the meeting took place, but he declined to elaborate. “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add,” he said.

I've noticed that we seem to get the popes that match our times---a harmonic resonance between popes and other public leaders of the day. That doesn't mean that popes are overtly political, although there’s really no way for a pope to retreat completely from politics, unless he speaks on ritual matters only and never ventures into more general statements. To paraphrase Madonna (not the Madonna, but Madonna Ciccone), we are living in a political world. No matter how hard a Pope tries to speak non-politically, politics enters the equation nearly every time he opens his mouth, unless he's talking Church business. Even then, what he says can have political repercussions. That said, I think that Pope Francis got somewhat political on his recent visit to the US. As the first pope ever to address an American Congress, what he's said about politics in the past seems relevant:

Pope Francis continued his American tour, touching down in Philadelphia this morning to ride by Fiat-motorcade to the downtown Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul and celebrating Mass for about 1,600 people. In his homily, the papal homily encouraged a greater role for women and laity:
The pope stopped by a nearby seminary for a rest after presiding over a Mass at Philadelphia’s cathedral in the morning, where he called on women and youth to play a greater role in strengthening the Catholic Church in America, while keeping the institution’s existing authority in place. In his homily, the pope singled out the story of Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia-born heiress who became a nun and then, after her death, a saint. Pope Francis told the story of how Drexel had asked Pope Leo XIII for help with American missions and the pope replied, 'What are you going to do?' At Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis repeated that question in Spanish, “y tu?” — and what about you? — again and again as he reflected on the church’s role in a changing society and urged the faithful to support women and youth.

Pope Francis has accomplished something that is truly miraculous in this country: He has managed to bump Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton from the spotlight for a brief time. For that, I am truly grateful. I have been mulling over my thoughts about the Pope's American tour and his various statements, and I have come to the conclusion I need to view him like I view my local priest: I will listen politely, avoid getting emotionally attached, and do what my own conscience (after prayerful reflection) dictates. When I became Catholic in 2010, my sponsor warned me about getting emotionally attached to any priest. Why? Priests tend to move around quite a bit, but every one of them has something to teach you. I must admit, I'm getting quite a lesson in expectation setting and patience. Pope Francis is the first pontiff installed since I joined the church, so in that way, he is special to me. I must admit, I caught "Francis Fever". Given his humility and sincerity, it was hard not to be moved.

Regardless of what your thoughts might be on Catholicism, the Pope, or politics, I believe we can all agree that the decision to view everything through a political lens is a great way to miss some of life's best offerings. This has never been more apparent to me than it is today. This morning I watched the fanfare around Pope Francis' historic visit to the US. You can watch Pope Francis' remarks here. They're brief, less than ten minutes.

President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and their families greeted Pope Francis with smiles when he landed at Washington, D.C., obviously looking forward to the historic visit that includes a gay-activist filled dinner at the White House and addresses to Congress and the United Nations. With the tumultuous start to the 2016 presidential election cycle, the media is eager to politicize the event so that it is bad news for the Republicans:
Francis has blasted gun manufacturers, likening them to hypocrites. And in a series of tough speeches, Francis has railed against global capitalism, even calling it a "subtle dictatorship." Such comments make many Republicans cringe.

As the United States is preparing for the visit of Pope Francis, security efforts are focused on a potential terror plot:
On the eve of Pope Francis' historic first visit to the United States, law enforcement officials are concerned terrorists could disguise themselves as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians to carry out attacks, according to a report from NBC News Monday. A memo titled "First Responder Impersonators: The New Terrorist Threat," from the Pennsylvania State Police's Criminal Intelligence Center and sent to law enforcement, warned that terrorists could falsely identify themselves as first responders to enter secure areas and carry out attacks. "The impersonators' main goals are to further their attack plan and do harm to unsuspecting citizens as well as members of the emergency services community," the memo read, according to NBC News.
This contrasts to a security incident that occurred in 2013, during the papal visit to Brazil:

Pope Francis stopped in Cuba on his way to a Tuesday arrival in Washington, DC.  While there, the Holy Father took a victory lap for the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Pope Francis landed in Cuba on Saturday, quickly calling on the communist nation to "open itself to the world," while praising its recent restoration of diplomatic ties with the United States. Francis was greeted by President Raul Castro at Jose Marti International airport in Havana, where the pontiff urged Cuba to grant its people the "freedom, the means and the space" to practice their religion, an implicit criticism of the sharp restrictions the country has placed on faith.
Obama should be grateful to the pontiff, who helped the President achieve a very rare foreign policy "success". If he is, the Obama sure has a strange way of showing it.
In a stunning show of political indecorum, Obama has invited a series of individuals who publicly flout Catholic teaching, including a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.
Truly, this is the sort of SmartPowerTM move we have come to expect from the White House.

Despite the fact that poll numbers are tanking so badly for Hillary Clinton that there is a new movement to draft Joe Biden, it turns out she has some competition for biggest drop in favorability! New numbers from Gallop for Pope Francis show a significant drop in support for the pontiff. The favorability rating is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014.
...The drop in the pope's favorable rating is driven by a decline among Catholics and political conservatives, two groups that have been ardent supporters of the modern papacy. Seventy-one percent of Catholics say they have a favorable image of Francis, down from 89% last year. Pope Francis' drop in favorability is even starker among Americans who identify as conservative -- 45% of whom view him favorably, down sharply from 72% last year. This decline may be attributable to the pope's denouncing of "the idolatry of money" and linking climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality -- all issues that are at odds with many conservatives' beliefs.
Why the plunge? As an independent conservative who is also Catholic, I must admit I am none too thrilled at the attacks on capitalism as a "structurally perverse" global economic system. I assert that these remarks that are too political and secular for a man who should be focused on more spiritual matters.

A leaked version of the climate change encyclical written by Pope Francis ignited a storm of controversy earlier this week.
The unexpected leak of Pope Francis’ much-anticipated environmental encyclical has meant the return of something that not long ago was fairly common around the Vatican but had become often dormant during the two-plus years of Francis’ mostly charmed papacy: intrigue. Who leaked it and why? Was this the work of frustrated conservatives in the Vatican, as some experts have speculated? Does it portend big fights at a pivotal October meeting in which church officials are expected to grapple with homosexuality and divorce? Or is it just a tempest in a teapot? “Somebody inside the Vatican leaked the document with the obvious intention of embarrassing the pope,” said Robert Mickens, a longtime Vatican expert and editor of Global Pulse, an online Catholic magazine.
In the wake of this incident, the Vatican revoked the credentials of Sandro Magister, the Italian journalist who has been reporting on the behind-the-scenes development of the papal document.

The last time we checked in with Pope Francis, he was preparing an encyclical addressing "the moral cause of climate change." A group from the Heartland Institute, which promotes free-market solutions to social and economic problems, was on its way to Rome to present data that would give the pontiff a more science-based perspective than the faith-based theories of climate change activists. Sadly, the team did not obtain an audience with the Pope. However, they did hold a "Environmental Workshop" in an attempt to formally present information to the public in hopes that it will eventually been seen by the Holy Father. There were many wonderful talks, but perhaps the most poignant was given by Christopher Monckton, British peer and chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

This Holy Week, we reported that Islamic fanatics made a dawn raid of a Christian university in Kenya. Currently, the death toll is 147 and looks like it will increase. The event, as well as the massacre of the Coptic Christians in Libya, were the focus of an address Pope Francis gave during his Good Friday service.
Pope Francis has condemned the "complicit silence" about the killing of Christians during a Good Friday service in Rome. Tens of thousands of pilgrims joined him for the Way of the Cross ceremony, recalling Jesus' crucifixion. Among the cross bearers were Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and Nigerians who had escaped Boko Haram persecution.