24 September 2015

So, the Pope has been talking....I guess I should say something

Rumor has it that the Holy Father is present here in the US for the next few days...good...but I must admit, I'm on brain overload from watching both sides screw this up....To be perfectly honest, I've tried to tune this whole situation out....but it even got to me.....So first I'll comment on his "denial", then I will comment on his speech on the important paragraphs of substance, since

Well, the Pope had another interview on the plane...here are the Pope's actual words

And then he spoke to congress here

I come from the school of, one means exactly what they say, unless it's absolutely 100% clear by context that something was intended as a joke, or what not. That is to say, people need to stand behind what they say, people are adults (in general) and if they need to clarify a point, they can make this point explicitly....taking that into account, consider what Our Holy Father actually said during his plane interview...my comments in red

Pope Francis: A cardinal friend of mine told me that a very concerned woman, very Catholic, went to him. A bit rigid (Rigid, something inflexible at least in physics, people can also be a bit inflexible too...but it's very possible that a person has strong stances on *insert whatever they want here* and is not willing to break them.) , but Catholic (Almost as if the Catholic is a qualification nearly, but at least he said this lady was Catholic). And she asked him if it was true that in the Bible, they spoke of an antichrist, and she explained it to him. And also in the Apocalypse, no? And, then, if it was true that an anti-pope, who is the antichrist, the anti-Pope. But why is she asking me this question, this cardinal asked me? “Because I’m sure that Pope Francis is the anti-pope,” she said. And why does she ask this, why does she have this idea? “It’s because he doesn’t wear red shoes. (Actions have consequences, actions lead to people thinking various things, even if not intentional on the part of the person doing the action..the red shoes are of course a symbol of martyrdom)” The reason for thinking if one is communist or isn’t communist. I’m sure that I haven't said anything more than what’s written in the social doctrine of the Church (Are specific positions on issues engraved in the social doctrine of the Church? That is to say, certainly we have the corporal works of mercy, but is there a monopoly on HOW these works of mercy are to be taken out? Of course not, this is why prudential judgement exists true?...Also very apparent, he does NOT remember necessary everything that comes out of his mouth). On another flight, a colleague asked me if I had reached out a hand to the popular movements and asked me, “But is the Church going to follow you?” I told him, “I’m the one following the Church.” And in this it seems that I’m not wrong. I believe (Of course belief is amongst the lowest of the orders, even the devil can believe, but that's besides the point, believing, and what actually happens, can on occasion be in opposition) that I never said a thing that wasn’t the social doctrine of the Church (So it's social doctrine that we must believe in man made global warming, it's social doctrine that we must take these specific steps? God help us all). Things can be explained, possibly an explanation gave an impression of being a little “to the left” (Understatement of the year, a little, no, far out about 600 ft in left field? Possibly more accurate), but it would be an error of explanation (Okay, fair enough, so your intention is not to the left, fair enough, but if you don't wish to be misunderstood, of course you need to be clearer). No, my doctrine on this, in Laudato si' (Oh dear), on economic imperialism, all of this, is the social doctrine of the Church (Again though, is there a possible confusion on this point on the application of particular principles of social doctrine and equating the two together? I'm not sure...The Church explicitly condemns Communism and Socialism, but makes some critiques on Capitalism as practiced in particular places, but to say that one absolutely must apply these principles in a specific way is more than likely wrong). And it if necessary, I’ll recite the creed. I am available to do that, eh. (Great, do so in Greek, but, you'll notice completely absent is how we go about doing specific social issues in the Church...but something tells me this is more or less a comment because he was annoyed rather than in true sincerity) 

  • To say necessarily that he was denying leftism is a bit much. Rather more or less, I tend to take him at his word, describing using the left as his thought process would be wrong, he's saying his intentions come from the social doctrine of the Church, (which do somewhat seem left to use political language), which is entirely different than saying a denial of leftism took place. Sometimes I think people read between the lines, when there's only white space between words :p....But it's certainly easy to see how people can interpret what he's actually saying as something else. 

It's certainly okay to lean left of center to want to solve problems (One might be wrong of course), but there are legitimate issues where we can all disagree on how to solve problems....We're not supposed to be brainwashed minions that just recite an answer when available you know?

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good (paraphrased from the CCC, fair enough, we should indeed seek the common good for all, and not just the select few), for this is the chief aim of all politics. 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.

I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. (No St Francis Xavier Cabrini? (I'm not just biased because I was baptized at that parish))
This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom.” Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity. (One could argue that there was NOT a lot of subsidiarity going on during those days, and quite a bit of top down dictation, instead of solving problems on the local level, but hey, who am I to judge? ™ And one could argue, there's NOT a lot of subsidiarity going on today as well, There are many top down solutions being provided to situations, where state and local governments can provide a better solution, but hey, maybe I missed that :p)
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 (specifics help here, WHO?), 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 (Surely, but again, specifics help, it's hard to point out things when specifics are not mentioned). This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion (You can say that again, but also apart of that balance is being able to explicitly say x is a problem), an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps (Well, when it comes down to it, things are good or evil...what we can't measure are peoples' hearts towards said actions, or their intentions it can be also said...So in other words, I can say abortion is evil, I can say objectively that a person who does so is in mortal sin, what I can't say is what motivated the particular person to do that, as reading their hearts is left to God). We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place (Well, how do you get rid of people that want to kill you? Sometime tells me dialoguing over tea isn't quite going to cut it ;)). That is something which you, as a people, reject.
In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society (Yes, because we Catholics have been treated soooooooo well throughout the founding of the US, and it's history). It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus (Consensus has gone wrong in so many ways....especially in 5-4 situations).
Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776). 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. (In short politics are not an end in of themselves....which in our case is definitely a good thing)
In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom (Here we go, let's see where this goes). We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners (Well, I'm not fearful of anyone who prepares me for their presence by knocking on the front door, come into my house unannounced though, that could be problematic), 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. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected (But is there an absolute right to immigration? No, one is bound to follow the laws of whatever country one is entering (CCC 2241), Yes, many of us are sons and daughters of immigrants, and most if not all came here legally...And before someone has the audacity to say the Europeans came and invaded the native Americans that were living here...we do not know the immigration laws of the various tribes of that time, so their status isn't quite as crystal clear as people would like to think). For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War (Oh dear, no). This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, 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? 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. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12). (Well, any immigration should be done with discretion and prudence. We should first make sure these are not terrorists posing as refugees, and various background checks, a nation does have a right to protect its own borders)

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 (No one can indeed disagree, I fully agree, but the golden rule does not suspend use of our reason and our judgement). 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 (It is true that we can't give what we do not have.). 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.
This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty (Oh goodness no dear Holy Father, stop here. There is a major difference in degree between abortion immigration and the death penalty. The death penalty is a matter of prudential judgement, I can certainly agree when innocent people who did not do the crime are killed, yes it's wrong. Yes, it's also expensive and maybe a nation that is near 20 mil in debt ought to perhaps consider where its resources are going, but to say we must be against the death penalty, I do not think the doctrine of the Church is this way. There are times where it is warranted). I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred (Amen!), every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes (Now for the question, can all people be rehabilitated? To what degree are we responsible for the prisoners rehabilitation?). Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.
I''ll upload the rest of my comments later...

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