News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 2, 2015: Pope Mania is over now that the Holy Father is back in Rome leaving many wondering whether his remarks on immigration, made to the US Congress last week, managed to soften any hearts.
Pointing to the fact that he himself is the son of immigrants, Pope Francis attempted to quiet an at times repulsive and racist right wing clamor for the deportation of millions, with passionate appeals for compassion.
“In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom,” he stated. “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.”
The last part of his sentence is worth repeating – especially for The Donald and company.
Encore Pope Francis. Let’s hear it again. “…knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants.”
Indeed! Unless of course right wingers would like to now claim they are Native Americans or of Native American ancestry?
The Holy Father, keeping it diplomatic instead of chastising the bigots, instead choose to paint a picture of compassion much like Jesus spoke in parables.
“Thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children?” he asked.
“We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation,” added the Pope.
But now that the few days of reverence for the Holy See has passed, what now?
As of last week, The Donald too seemed enthralled by Pope Francis even though he is not Catholic. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, he too caught Francis-mania and made a switch, hailing the pope’s words on immigration as “beautiful.” Yes he said that!
For a minute – even he forgot his claims that Mexico was sending us rapists and criminals and there needed to be mass deportation.
But don’t expect this to continue. Especially not with a new Pew poll that says some 53 percent of adults who identified as Republican said immigrants made the country worse and those who back Trump’s call for mass deportations and a 2,000-mile border wall with Mexico. They are also seemingly unaware that the number of border crossers have plunged or don’t really care. Just blame the immigrants!
So what impact exactly will the Pope’s visit have?
Hopefully the pontiff’s visit and his words will galvanize Latino and other immigrant voters, especially Catholics, to mobilize, especially in swing states and maybe, just maybe, it will embolden other candidates to confront the Republican frontrunner.
Like John Boehner, maybe their consciousness will awaken and they will have a Damascene moment.
Marco Rubio’s push for immigration reform in Congress, and Jeb Bush calling immigration an “act of love” gives us all hope for the right, but then again – there is little hope they can win a national election so let’s hope those in Congress can surely take the Pope’s words and turn it into action.
One can only have faith and hope!