Obama’s America – Episode # 243 – Popemania

Pope Francis kept it diplomatic and compassionate on immigration but did he soften any hearts?

By Arthur Piccolo

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Sept. 28, 2015:  I certainly got Popemania.  Many Americans have.

Why do you think after 242 weeks for the first time ever this episode of Obama’s America is 3 days late? Blame Pope Francis for coming to America last Wednesday and capturing so much attention.

Since this is Obama’s America I should focus on his time in Washington although that is impossible to separate from the rest of his trip. Turning to Pope Francis own words is not necessarily where his message is to be found.

What? I am saying that it was the totality of his trip, the theatre of it all, that created a powerful feeling. Yes I find some interesting views expressed in his speeches but he does not say what he really believes in the kind of detail that would have specific value.

Here is the problem. If all Pope Francis’ visit does is create a good feeling while he is here that is not bad but how useful is it? What difference will it make a week from now let alone a year from now?

Some of the 80,000 people who were lucky to win tickets for Central Park, gather on central Park West, before being ushered into Central Park,to see the Pope. (Jason Szenes image)

At The White House, Michelle Obama did her best to express her own humility in the presence of Pope Francis, wearing a $2,300 designer dress for the Pope. Michelle did not want the Pope get the wrong impression that he might conclude she not take his message seriously.

Back to Pope Francis – an infinitely more worthy subject.

Here is what he said at The White House with President Obama …

“As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country ….. American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination … I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children.”

Pope Francis also spoke positively about the environment in his statement to President Obama and others at The White House.

In fact it was not especially memorable except for Michelle Obama flaunting her wealth and privilege in front of  the Pope.

Here is what Pope Francis might have said to President Obama …

Pope Francis (C) waves from the Pope Mobile as he parades through Central Park in New York, New York, USA, 25 September 2015. Pope Francis is on a five-day trip to the USA, which includes stops in Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia, after a three-day stay in Cuba. Pope Francis added the Cuba visit after helping broker a historic rapprochement between Washington and Havana that ended a diplomatic freeze of more than 50 years.” (Jason Szenes image)

“President Obama you have been a disappointment these last 7 years in many ways. Please try to do far better your last year as President.”

Let’s move on to Pope Francis’ speech to Congress.

Somewhat better, here are some key excerpts and what he should have said …

“A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress …

“Congress you should be ashamed of itself for serving the needs of the rich and powerful and not the vast majority of Americans.”

Then  he said ..

“You are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress …

“You mock God’s message ignoring the needs of the many.”

“All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress …

“You must stop being jerked around by the Saudis and right wing Israelis.”

“Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress  …

“How dare you give so little to the struggling people of the Earth?”

“If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress …

“Stop accepting huge contributions from special interests.”

“We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress  …

“It is pathetic how anti-immigrant you Republicans in Congress are.”

“Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you  … Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress  …

“American society is in trouble because you Congress do not foster fairness and equality for all Americans.”

“I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress …

“You foster poverty with your tax system that favors the rich and with your budget that punishes the poor in America.”

Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a “culture of care” and “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress …

“Now is the time for you to finally be the Congress you should but are not.”

“Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”

Here is what Pope Francis should have said to Congress …

“The United States is the biggest exporter of weapons of any country on Earth stop this dirty business.”

And here is what President Obama and Congress should have said to Pope Francis but they did not …

“Pope Francis you are an inspirational leader but you are making two terrible mistakes that diminish you and which gravely weaken your church while showing it to be stick in the past not the preset and future.

“First of all stop treating women as inferior. That can only be corrected by allowing women the right to become priests right now equally with men.

“And of comparable importance Pope Francis we urge you to allow priests both men and women to marry and to have children.’

“These two changes are essential for your larger messages to reach us all and to make the Roman Catholic church a church for our time and the future and for the whole world.’

“Make these two essential changes your finest legacy pope Francis.


About The Writer: Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.