When House Speaker John Boehner announced that Pope Francis will visit the U.S. Capitol on September 24, 2015 and address a joint meeting of Congress, I wonder whether he realized what the Pope might tell our representatives.
This the first time a pontiff has addressed Congress.
In his announcement of the Pope’s visit, Boehner said, “The Holy Father’s message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds. His teachings, prayers, and example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another. We look forward to warmly welcoming Pope Francis to our Capitol and hearing his address for the American people.”
It should be interesting.
The Pope will probably say something about the economy. This is his statement from January 11, 2015: “When money has replaced humans at the center of the economy, then money has become an idol, and men and women are reduced to simple instruments of a social system and an economy characterized, indeed dominated by deep imbalances.”
He goes on to say, “Let’s not consider this state of things irreversible; let’s not resign ourselves to it. Let’s search to construct a society and an economy where humans and their welfare, and not money, are at the center.”
Think about this: If only 20 people existed in the world and they all sat around and decided how they should live, it would probably go something like this: We need some people to hunt for meat, we need some people to grow crops, we need others to take care of the children, etc. If someone gets sick, we should help them get back on their feet.
In other words, everyone would be helping each other out for the common good. People would not be saying, “I want to be rich and the rest will live in poverty.”
When money became the center of the economy, we forgot that the main purpose of any economic system is to serve the well being of all people. Why should owners make millions of dollars while they pay workers less than a living wage? If employers cannot pay their workers a living wage, maybe we shouldn’t allow them to operate their businesses.
The Pope will probably address the need to respond to the poor. He said, “Jesus affirms that you cannot serve two masters, God and wealth. Jesus tells us that this is the basis with which we will be judged. It is what we read in chapter 25 of Matthew: I had hunger, I had thirst, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me: dressed, visited, you took care of me.”
The Holy Father goes on, “Every time that we do this to our brother or sister, we do this to Jesus. To care for our neighbor: who is poor, who suffers in the spirit, who is in need. This is the touchstone. Is it pauperism? No, it is the Gospel.”
He also might say, “Private property does not constitute an unconditional and absolute right, and that no one is authorized to reserve for their exclusive use what he does not need, when others lack necessities.”
This surely goes against the thinking of some members of congress.
Pope Francis also believes that humanity’s destruction of the planet is a sinful act, likening it to self-idolatry.
“When we exploit Creation, we destroy the sign of God’s love for us. In destroying Creation we are saying to God: ‘I don’t like it! This is not good!’ ‘So what do you like?’ ‘I like myself!’ Here, this is sin!”
The reactions of many members of congress should be interesting since many do not believe that humans are causing global warming. Stay tuned.
Posted on Fri, February 27, 2015
by Rev. Wilmer L. Todd