Thursday, September 24, 2015
People's Pope of Family Stepped One Step to Far?
I don't know. But, perhaps Pope Francis is a bit too brave. And, courageous. Although I savor such stellar stepping out, did he go one step too far earlier today when he addressed the joint session of the U.S. Congress at the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.? I don't know, but I'm paying attention to my parish priest who would have relished the image of the family at a fireplace like a folkloric feast with food and fellowship, so to speak. The late Father Edward Popielzarz of Polish origin in Saginaw, Michigan, perhaps, unlike any other mentor and pastor of my seven decades, taught me to listen well to my feelings, and, to heed what joy or 'heartaches by the number' I may be entertaining at any given time or day. For sure. When Francis called for conclusively eliminating this Nation's death penalty, evangelicals and fundamentalists must have had the hairs on their head, or, neck rise in anger. Really! After a splendid, urgent, and clarion call in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," Pope Francis' urging for the prayer and dialogue of my favorite Cistercian monk of Gethsemane, Kentucky, buried at my favorite retreat house, Father Thomas Merton, got the pope to want the world to emulate Merton, and, connect with the Creator often each day. And, Abraham Lincoln's cry for liberty was held up high for us all, and, union of the Civil War era, finally, revered Catholic Worker Dorothy Day's pleading for social justice, and, the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civil rights' race, and massive march on Washington, D.C., did the pope of the people and the poor and impoverished lean a step to far? I think so. But, I may be wrong. Of course the arc of justice is long, and, it leans toward justice, as King would have applauded the Pontiff, but, one can spoil the soup, so to speak, with one step too much, no? Who knows? With little clarity, the Pope concluded on the side of mercy and hope and rehabilitation possibilities for criminals on 'death's row. He did. I affirm that also. However, some fine nuancing, and, elaboration on this 'magical' man's point would have helped Francis to trek on in his firm, feisty, and virtuous procession through the weekend in Philadelphia for the World Family Meeting without a glitch, and 'possession' of unnecessary attachments, to borrow from his speech to Congress today. The fallout may follow. We'll see. Too risky for the fledgling U.S. family that needs all the help that it can give. The late, and former Archbishop of Detroit, John Cardinal Dearden, would agree. "We never do enough for family," bolted the reasoned and progressive Dearden who participated in all of the sessions of the ecumenical Vatican II Council from 1962-65.