Pope Francis’s core message of his first full day in Cuba has been “Serve other people, not ideology.”
People in the United States could very well receive the same core message when Francis arrives here later in the week.
I heard this morning that Pope Francis is en route to Cuba, where he will spend a few days before arriving in the US.
His route here will take him to Washington, New York City, and Philadelphia. There will be high profile speeches to the US Congress, UN General Assembly, and at a conference on the family in Philadelphia. There will also be several public Masses with attendance in the thousands for the indoors ones and hundreds of thousands when outdoors.
I have been eagerly anticipating his arrival and plan to watch the coverage, including a group “watch party” for the Congressional address.
I was reading an article by Father Tom Reese in NCR the other day, asking if people would really hear what Francis has to say while he is in the US. I know that I will be listening carefully. I also know that, while I will agree with many of the Pope’s points, I will disagree with others. For example, Francis, though he means well, does not understand women’s lives. While he is wonderful about acknowledging social justice issues with those in poverty or on the margins, he fails to notice that this group is disproportionately female and that sexism and sexual violence/exploitation play a large role in their plight.
I am especially interested in how the Congress, many of whose leaders are Catholic, will react to what is sure to be a challenging speech to them, probably on the grounds of climate change, militarism, lack of care for the country’s and the world’s most vulnerable, rampant consumerism, and greed.
I am hopeful that Pope Francis’s voice on environmental issues and systemic marginalization of those with the least economic resources, especially in the global South, will spark conversation that will lead to a strong US voice for the climate and environment and for justice, for “integral ecology” as the Pope terms it, so that there will be a strong international accord coming out to the Paris climate talks at the end of the year with full US participation in the implementation.
That sounds like I’m asking for a miracle.
Maybe I am.
But I think there is hope through Francis, who speaks not only to Catholics but to “all those of good will” and maybe even may reach those who are not especially “of good will.”
Godspeed, Francis. May you have a safe and fruitful journey.
This is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. This week’s prompt is route/root. Join us! Find out how here: http://lindaghill.com/2015/09/18/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-1915/