As Pope Francis makes his visit to the United States, one might ask themselves whether his trip is a political one or not. If we look to the secular media, it would seem that the Pope is endorsing the left leaning political movement. I find it interesting that, on his flight to Washington D.C., the Pope had to come out and say that he is not a liberal. And he is quite right (pardon the pun) in saying that. The Pope is neither liberal or conservative in the sense of being political. He is simply standing up for Jesus and his teachings, and especially with respect for the poor.
The liberal might say that Pope Francis leans to the left on issues of global warming, environment damage control, redistribution of wealth, etc. But the conservative will point to his stance in regards to the sanctity of life (against abortion), pro marriage (1 man and 1 woman) and family, etc.
The Pope has been given the promise from God that in areas concerning “faith and morals,” he will be kept from speaking in error. That doesn’t mean that the Pope has all the answers to how we go about accomplishing certain goals with regards to things such as environmental concerns and lifting up the poor. He can state his opinion on what method to accomplish certain goals, but it might not be the best. For instance:
The Poor of our society
It could be said that Pope Francis seems to be blaming capitalism for many of the problems of the poor. Is that the teaching of the Church? I would venture to say not exactly. Unbridled capitalism left unchecked would be a problem, but we all know that the United States does not practice this type. In fact, we are overwhelmed with regulation that constrains capitalism. The United States puts in laws that help give everyone a chance to succeed, unlike Communism or socialism. Capitalism may not be perfect, but history shows that it is the best method of raising the poor out of poverty. Here’s a quote from a Thomas Sowell column:
“As distinguished economic historian David S. Landes put it, ‘The world has never been a level playing field.’ But which has a better track record of helping the less fortunate — fighting for a bigger slice of the economic pie, or producing a bigger pie?
In 1900, only 3 percent of American homes had electric lights but more than 99 percent had them before the end of the century. Infant mortality rates were 165 per thousand in 1900 and 7 per thousand by 1997. By 2001, most Americans living below the official poverty line had central air conditioning, a motor vehicle, cable television with multiple TV sets, and other amenities.
A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much criticized market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left (Thomas Sowell, The Left has it’s Pope).”
Pope Francis is neither advocating for a “left or right” political agenda. He is trying to bring the message of Jesus Christ and asking that all countries continue to do a better job of seeking that end through love of neighbor. Some countries are having better success than others. As for the United States, it can claim the best record of doing just that. America is the most generous nation on the planet, takes in more refuges than all other nations combined and has helped spread freedom to a world filled with oppression. It also has the best record by far with regards to the environment.
So, I think Pope Francis is reaching out to everyone, no matter who they are and where they live. He actually lives out what he preaches with regards to the poor of the world’s society. For instance, instead of eating lunch with the congressmen on capital hill after his speech to congress in Washington D.C. today, he ate lunch with low-income and homeless people at a Catholic Charities. At the lunch, the pope arrived and waded through the crowd, raising his hands and wishing those assembled: “Buon appetito!”
Until next time, God bless.