Sunday, June 28, 2015

209.2 - Pope Francis strikes again

Pope Francis strikes again

Well, Pope Frankie has done it again. Twice, in fact. First was his encyclical - an encyclical is a teaching document on Catholic doctrine - his encyclical on climate change, which was a fairly comprehensive and worthy-of-respect overview of the reality and impact of climate change and environmental degradation, especially on the poor, coupled with the observation that "It is remarkable how weak international political responses have been." That is, it is remarkable how little we have done - which lead to the deliciously morally-twisted assertion by Fox news pundit Greg Gutfeld that Pope Francis is "the most dangerous person on the planet" beause he "doesn’t want to be your grandfather’s pope."

I'm gong to leave that aside for now as I plan to do a fairly thorough update on news and new research about global warming aka climate change next week.

But I wanted to be sure to mention his other hit this week: It was in an off-the-cuff talk after he completed his prepared comments to a crowd of thousands during his visit to the city of Turin. Because this was, again, off the cuff, there is nothing official about it, nothing doctrinal about it - and no, for you non-Catholics out there, "papal infallibility" only applies to formal statements about church dogma, not to casual remarks - but for that very reason it may be more revealing of where his heart truly is.

What he did was tell that crowd of thousands that arms manufacturers who call themselves Christians are hypocrites. What's  more, he said that those who invest in the arms industry are equally guilty of being hypocrites, saying "duplicity is the currency of today…they say one thing and do another."

Interestingly, he also called out the Allied powers of World War II, saying they "had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn't they bomb (the railway lines)?" Why didn't they, in other words, use their knowledge and firepower to hinder the Nazi death machine?

It's actually a pretty good question - although in fairness it must be said based on news accounts he didn't address the Catholic Church's own let's just call it not-overly aggressive resistance to Naziism during that same time. While it's not true, as some have claimed, that the Church collaborated with the Nazis and the Fascists, it is true that the institutional church didn't do nearly what it could have.

Anyway - I've joked recently that what with the kinds of things Pope Francis has been saying, if only the Catholic Church could move at least into the 20th century in its attitudes about women, about women's roles, about women's health, I could become a Catholic again.

That is just a joke, it will never happen because that would make me one of those hypocrites who says one thing and does another, claiming at least by implication to believe things I do not - but I was in fact brought up Roman Catholic and it's just kinda nice to be able to look at the Pope and for the first time since John XXIII say "Not too bad. Not too bad."

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