Pope Francis Speaks On Immigration, Abortion During First U.S. Prayer Service
Pope Francis is determined to make a splash during his six-day visit to the United States, and he’s already off to a head start. It’s clear from the Pope’s rhetoric that he means to make this visit as political as he can, to offer support for the fight against climate change, and to weigh in on such divisive issues as illegal immigration, marriage equality, and abortion.
As far as the issue of climate change goes, Pope Francis has only praise for the strides President Obama has made. “When it comes to the care of our ‘common home’ we are living at a critical moment of history,” he said.
He also told our president that it is “encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation.”
He told Obama that it was “encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation.”
Climate change was just one of the issues he tackled during his visit to Washington today. Famously anti-capitalist (to an extent), Pope Francis offered some pearls of wisdom for developed, rich countries like the United States, to make capitalism more of a moral enterprise: “I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development.”
He also had a message about the current state of illegal immigration solely in the United States, as well as the current global refugee crisis.
“From the beginning you have learned their languages, promoted their cause, made their contributions your own, defended their rights, helped them to prosper, and kept alive the flame of their faith. Even today, no American institution does more for immigrants than your Christian communities. Now you are facing this stream of Latin immigration which affects many of your dioceses. Not only as the Bishop of Rome, but also as a pastor from the South, I feel the need to thank and encourage you.”
“Perhaps it will not be easy for you to look into their soul; perhaps you will be challenged by their diversity. But know that they also possess resources meant to be shared. So do not be afraid to welcome them. Offer them the warmth of the love of Christ and you will unlock the mystery of their heart. I am certain that, as so often in the past, these people will enrich America and its Church.”
What is undeniably most important to note about Pope Francis’ rhetoric and beliefs is the emphasis on moral value, not political gain. Pope Francis is arguably the most accessible pope in recent history, and the most tolerant. But that doesn’t mean he sacrifices the moral rules the Catholic Church teaches and follows.
It is with this lens that he spoke about abortion and child abuse:
“The innocent victim of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature – at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters. It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent.”
The Pope has received an overwhelmingly positive response in the United States, especially riding along in his Wrangler Popemobile and in a tiny Fiat that was humorously at odds with his security’s humongous black SUVs. During his visit, he will continue to speak about American and world issues, and call attention to the Catholic Church’s stance on these issues.