|Praying for the pope at the park!|
On Thursday, Pope Francis addressed a joint meeting of Congress. He's the first pontiff to do this! That's pretty cool. When I read his speech, I immediately thought about St. John Paul's Theology of the Body and Jesus. In the Theology of the Body, St. John Paul mentions Matthew 19:8, where Jesus is being questioned about lawfulness concerning divorce and marriage: "He [Jesus] said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." St. John Paul II points out that Jesus takes the Pharisees' questions about the law, and turns the conversation to how things were in the beginning. St. John Paul II spends a huge amount of time in his TOB audiences discussing how God ordained things profoundly and simply in the beginning.
What does this have to do with the address to Congress?In his address, Pope Francis explicitly touched on some major issues: immigration, politics, finances, the environment, the death penalty. While I've been trying to stay away from all the negative news sources and responses to the pope's visit, I did notice that some people were mad he didn't blatantly talk about certain issues (for instance, abortion). But what did Pope Francis say? Among other things, he hearkened back to the beginning, in a sense. Going back to the words of Christ, to the law of love given in the New Testament, Pope Francis referenced the Golden Rule.
" Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12). This Rule points us in a clear direction. 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. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development."In a matter-of-fact, blunt, kind manner, Pope Francis showed us that we do not have a complicated task. Nope, the Golden Rule is simple, easy to remember (I'm sure many of you, like myself, had it memorized at some point during our childhood), and profoundly true. In this walloping punch of an epic statement, Pope Francis is showing us that no matter what our political affiliations are, we need to listen to the words of Christ, and to live out the Golden Rule. This one little statement from the pope forces us to look at how we treat the elderly, the unborn, refugees, immigrants, and the underprivileged. Pope Francis, you are legit.
He also spoke at the United Nations this morning, and I eagerly read the text of his speech. Did he really talk about education??? Yes, he actually talked about "the primary right of the family to educate its children, as well as the right of churches and social groups to support and assist families in the education of their children." Oh, my home schoolers heart is singing! Pope Francis, could you get any cooler? Oh wait, the pope also called us out to put an end as quickly as possible to
"the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences: human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labour, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime. Such is the magnitude of these situations and their toll in innocent lives, that we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences. We need to ensure that our institutions are truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges."He just got cooler. Pope Francis is really laying it down. Hold on, he's not finished yet...
"The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic. This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature."
|I just can't even...|
Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of New York, from Vespers on Thursday.