Pope Francis made his historic address Thursday morning to a joint session of Congress. Once again, the Pope showed Congressional Republicans what it is to a be a true Christian.
In his speech, the Pope made every effort to address the very real issues that affect millions of people, not just in America, but around the world: climate change, poverty, immigration, weapons, and simple kindness.
As American citizens remain divided on the refugee crisis, Francis asked us not to view them as a number, but rather real people with real struggles:
“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. 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.”
The Pope then reminded everyone about the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Just days before the Pope arrived in D.C.., the White House announced the U.S. would take in 100,000 refugees, 10 times more than the original 10,000 pledged.
Calling on people to serve the common good, or mother Earth, Francis said:
“I call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps, and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference — I’m sure. And I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”
It also might have come as a giant shock to pro-lifers when he called on the abolition of the death penalty, saying “This conviction has led me…to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty.”
And then came the critique of American capitalism – which exploits workers for personal financial gain:
“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. 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.”
I hope Scott Walker was listening.
In just an hour, the Pope laid out a vision for this country — a vision for which Democrats and liberals like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been fighting. The Pope took Congress to task, and it was glorious. Yes, he repeated the Church’s commitment to ending abortion and gay marriage. However, it was not the main focus of his speech compared to immigration and climate change. It’s all about context.
Featured image courtesy of NPR.