Pope Francis delivered a passionately pro life message to Congress today.
He spoke on behalf of life from conception to natural death, for the elderly, the poor and the young who are so confused by the destruction of the family that they don’t form families of their own.
He also came out against the death penalty, selling arms to “those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society,” saying that the motive behind these sales is “money; money that is drenched in blood.” He looked right at members of Congress and referred to the “shameful and culpable silence” in the face of this arms trade.
He defended the environment and called for economics that provide jobs rather than just funneling money into the hands of a few.
The pope repeatedly called on members of Congress to act on behalf of the common good and to lay aside their destructive differences; to dialogue with one another. He also warned these powerful people that if they used the same bloody tactics as those who attack this country, they would become like them.
His message was a call to government in the service of life, justice and the common good. He spoke directly to the assembled members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, the Supreme Court justices and members of the Cabinet, telling them that the call of a politician was a call to serve the common good. He spoke to them as the shepherd of souls that he is, as the Vicar of Christ.
I’ve read a number of comments flaming the pope for this speech. It appears that those on the left and the right don’t like it when the man who stands in the shoes of the fisherman preaches Christ in public. What they want is a one-way address that blasts their political opponents and pats everyone on their side of the political aisle on the back.
The truth is, we can not have two gods. Jesus told us that we can not serve two masters. If our political party is where we look for our moral guidance; if following either the R or the D is how we plan to justify ourselves before God, then the R or the D is our little ‘g’ god.
I’ve been reading politicians for a long time. They’re like an open book to me. And what I saw on my television screen today was a big group of puffed up politicos who had no intention of being persuaded or converted by the humble man in white. Their politics, in fact, their political careers, are their little ‘g’ gods.
Despite attempts by leadership in both parties to stifle the Congressional practice of grandstanding by applauding at one another in a partisan manner, they engaged in that specific bit of tom-foolery, anyway. Their own leadership could not make them behave themselves in a non-partisan fashion, not even for a 30-minute address.
The message in all this — and there is a powerful message in it — is that no one, including elected officials, can follow their political party and Jesus Christ at the same time. It appears from what I saw today that many members of Congress have already chosen who and what they will follow, and it isn’t Jesus.
Their careers in politics trump everything, including their immortal souls.