I am on vacation, so I don’t want to drift to far into the papal visit (which I am not closely following right now). I might add this, however:
While we don’t expect anything along the lines of what Benedict XVI delivered either in Westminster Hall or to the German Bundestag, if a Pope shows up at U.S. Congress, and you are a Congressman… you go.
This comes via my friend Fr. Gerry Murray, who is doing some TV coverage of the Pope’s travel to Cuba and North America. HERE
Don’t Boycott the Pope
Priest says lawmakers should hear Francis out, even if they don’t like message
by Fr. Gerry Murray
Boycott the pope? That is what a Catholic congressman, U.S. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., has announced he might do when Pope Francis addresses a joint session of Congress on Thursday.
“If the pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend,” Gosar said. [No, you go and listen.]
Gosar claims that is what Pope Francis plans to do. [Even that’s what Francis does, you go. This isn’t a General Audience in St. Peter’s square. This is the floor of Congress and you are a Congressman.]
“Pope Francis is intending to spend the majority of his time on one of the world’s greatest stages focusing on climate change,” he said.
But no one knows what Francis will spend the “majority of his time” speaking about until he actually speaks. Still, Gosar thinks he knows.
“I have both a moral obligation and leadership responsibility to call out leaders, regardless of their titles, who ignore Christian persecution and fail to embrace opportunities to advocate for religious freedom and the sanctity of human life,” Gosar said. [It may be that, as a Congressman, you should be there… in Congress, for the address. Just saying’]
The congressman is way out of line here. Is he rebuking the pope ahead of time for ignoring things he will undoubtedly speak about during his time in Cuba and the United States?
No one knows exactly what he will say to the House and Senate members, but Francis has addressed these issues already in various speeches during his pontificate, and he is no passive bystander in defending those who are persecuted, or put to death unjustly. His message is clear.
But what about the issue of global warming or climate change? Will Francis repeat what he said in his encyclical letter Laudato Si that man-made climate change is real and requires urgent solutions? Certainly he will, but that does not mean anyone should walk out on him. If you disagree with that message from the pope, you can, as a good Catholic, argue against it and state your reasons with clarity — and charity.
The climate change debate is a scientific debate, not a religious debate. The moral and religious debate touches upon what we should do if, in fact, man is the cause of climate change, and if, in fact, man has the true capability to reverse course and undo global warming without causing even greater problems.
Francis’ judgment on scientific questions is as good as the science he marshals in support of his conclusions. The same standard applies to his critics.
So Gosar, and the rest of us, should sit back, listen to what the pope says, and then engage in the kind of rational discussion that furthers our common efforts to promote the welfare of our society and our world.
Boycotting the pope is a bad idea, especially when the man threatening to do this is, as he states, “a proud Catholic” who attended a Jesuit college where he “was taught to think critically, to welcome debate and discussion and to be held accountable for my actions.” Well, let’s start the debate and discussion by being present when Francis talks about whatever he wants to talk about.
The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D., is pastor of Holy Family Church in New York.
If for no other reason, go so that the fakers who claim to be “devout”, such as Nancy “the Theologian” Pelosi can’t crook their digits and say “At least we were there.”
If at the White House Pope Francis can sit an listen with attention to the self-righteous, hypocritical and manipulative blather from POTUS, then congressmen can earn their paycheck by going to a joint session of Congress and listen to the Pope, whether they are onside or not. This is what public figures do.
I can understand the congressman’s disappointment though. The more Pope Francis talks about ‘climate change’ the more liberal ‘catholics’ will point to it as justification for voting for pro abortion politicians. Today started the 40 Days For Life and I was disappointed that the Holy Father did not address it in any meaningful way that would lend support to those faithful Catholics on the front lines.
Here is a fascinating story on a book Pope Francis gave to Fidel Castro while in Cuba:
I am not american, but maybe the thing to do is to clap and explode on ovations for 10, 15, 20 minutes as soon as he just would mention something near to condemn abortion. (And to pray before that he would)
I think it was a publicity stunt.
And it worked.
You could always do the classy maneuver and yell “You lie”.
While I like Pope Francis, he is blowing it re. the year of mercy. He needs to say 20-30 times a day that the church wants all to be reconciled it provided they confess their sins, acknowledge that each and every sin was a mistake, and vow to try to do better. Not that complicated. Why he is not saying this every 2-3 minutes is beyond me.
Agreed, Father. The Congressman owes it to his constituents to represent them, some of whom may want to hear the Pope, by attending. As for how to react, in order to avoid giving the liberals the public theater of standing and clapping everytime the Pope says something that sounds supportive of their liberal politics, the GOP ought to stand and applaud the Pope’s courage for descending into the pit of hell itself, there, on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The Bishop of Rome lectures the people of the U.S. on the Evils of Capitalism. The same Capitalism that makes the United States the most generous country on the planet when it comes to aiding other country’s either in financial aid, Medical aid, food aid or even “boots on the ground” aid. The Bishop of Rome condemns the use of “air conditioning” (heavily used in Western Societies) while at the same time at the Vatican, well needless to say, “Climate control systems” are used extensively. While Jesus met and engaged sinners, never once, did he appear to give assent to the sin. The Bishop of Rome is a head of state, so he must engage President Obama. But he is the Country’s biggest proponent of Abortion on Demand (Let’s not even mention suing the “Sisters of the Poor”) But did VP Joe Biden present himself for Holy Communion at mass this afternoon? Did minority leader Pelosi? If they did, where is the Bishop of Romes condemnation (and Cardinal Wuerls-another topic) of this sacrilegious act? Has the Bishop of Rome considered what the monitory costs of “climate change” reforms would be to nations? The disastrous affect it would cause to the poorest of the poor? Members of Congress are Representatives (at least they are supposed to be) of the American People. Greet the Bishop of Rome as a head of state, yes. Be respectful of the man and his office, yes. Attend his address to the joint session of congress or not. But as the elected representatives of the American people, members of Congress should not be subjected , with disrespect. Just as the visiting head of state should not be subjected to disrespect. If I were a member of Congress, I would not attend. Good faithful Catholic Members should not give credence, by being present, with those that would use the Bishop of Rome (Pelosi, Biden etc), for promoting “ideas” contrary to the Doctrinal teachings of the Church. The main stream media will use images of Francis, Pelosi and Biden to promote the false narrative that Francis is loosening things with abortion, marriage, agrees with Obama on “Climate Change” and Capitalism is Bad. Being respectful to the visiting head of state does not mean one needs to agree with/or be in attendance at the functions said head of state is present for. I sincerely wish the present Bishop of Rome would have followed in the path of one of his predecessors: “I come to the United States of America as Successor of Peter and as a pilgrim of faith. It gives me great joy to be able to make this visit. And so, my esteem and affection go out to all the people of this land. I greet all Americans without distinction; I want to meet you and tell you all—men and women of all creeds and ethnic origins, children and youth, fathers and mothers, the sick and the elderly—that God loves you, that he has given you a dignity as human beings that is beyond compare. I want to tell everyone that the Pope is your friend and a servant of your humanity. On this first day of my visit, I wish to express my esteem and love for America itself, for the experience that began two centuries ago and that carries the name “United States of America” ; for the past achievements of this land and for its dedication to a more just and human future; for the generosity with which this country has offered shelter, freedom and a chance for betterment to all who have come to its shores ; and for the human solidarity that impels you to collaborate with all other nations so that freedom may be safeguarded and full human advancement made possible. I greet you, America the beautiful!”~St. Pope John Paul II on his First Apostolic Visit to the United States, October 1, 1979 (Mass at the Boston Common)
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Wasn’t it JPII who said “the Church must stay as close to the centre as possible?”
It would have been nice if the Pope came right out and asked the President, “Why is your administration forcing our institutions to pay for things that offend God deeply?”
Congressman Gosar needs to grow the hell up.
Beginning with the baby boomers, adults in this country no longer have any capacity to listen respectfully to a legitimate opposing viewpoint, much less to an illegitimate one.
Pope Francis is free to believe whatever he’d like about climate change. It’d be a shame if he spent more time on that than, say, the major moral issues facing Western Civilization. Still, that’s his decision to make.
The Congressman needs to find his big boy bloomers and put them on.
All I know is that if my elected representative was going to spend their time attending a speech which even, in part, discusses such a serious and pressing issue as their constituants can reduce their monthly power bill by evaluating and implementing a proper Air Condidtioning system maintinance schedule, I would expect that the person delivering the portion of the speech was a licensed HVAC professional. Just want to make sure my tax dollars are efficiently used….now if my representative attended a speech by a religious figure…and the speech was about (pick one or many of the following): Christ, Marriage, Abortion, the persecution of Christians, Natural Law, the proper place of the Church in the public square; I would assume I’m getting my money’s worth. I mean those would be areas I would expect that religious leader to be an expert in, where they would be making a valued contribution.
P.S. Remember to changer your air filter Monthly
Expecting a miracle here at the Synod via Pope Francis, hoping that a reconfirmation of the truth of the faith will win through, thinking that those who want to modernise sin, marriage, communion rites and confession are going to get bloody noses.
When Pope Francis talks about demons , confession , gossipers and gossip and the church being more inclusive in the sense that certain elements within the pews try to drive out other families from their church (Seen this first hand) he is correct.
The Congressman should certainly attend. As a matter of respect, to become a first hand source to counter Liberal spin… Heck, forget all that, may I have his seat????
The most beautiful thing I have read so far from the visits was from a mass with priests and religious in Cuba. So much in there: the beauty of religious calling, support for life, and another call for priests to show mercy by being in the confessional!
Under what conditions should a congressman boycott a speaker addressing a joint session of Congress? Gosar exaggerates and speaks out of a childish frustration. But I think Fr. Murray minimizes the issues this papacy raises for faithful Catholics. As a Catholic Gosar should listen with respect to what any pope has to say. As a public official the fallible man who sits in the chair of Peter may or may not have something of value to say to the Congress. He may or may not be worthy of our respect and attention. Under certain circumstances a congressman would be right to publicly boycott a speaker. In this case it seems that Gosar is acting out of his frustration as a Catholic layman in the context of the duties of his public office. He would be right to quietly find something more useful to do if he thinks this pope has nothing of value to contribute to the work of the Congress. It is another thing to publicly boycott. Nothing this pope has done remotely justifies an action of this sort.
People like Fr Murray need to address honestly the issues this papacy raises for faithful Catholics who are confused, frustrated, embarrassed and feel betrayed by this pope. And maybe he has.
If the Pope says something you dislike, you may, after reasonable thinking-it-over, disagree and (in most circumstances) also voice your disagreement. You may do so because the Pope, outside the condition of infallibility, can err.
You may not boycott his speech. Because even if erring it’s still the Pope that errs.
[As for applying that easy distinction on other current topics… I won’t deviate from the topic here… feel free to do so :-) ]
The only ones who have hitherto boycotted Papal speeches in Parliament were anti-Catholics.
There is a memorable scene from the European Parliament when Pope St. John Paul visited it. The later Lord Bannside found it necessary to disturb the speech repeating an old lie out of his Protestant mythology, running forward to the Pope with his fists ready… and than HIH the Archduke, together with a couple of Irish parlamentarians (among which, as Bernd Posselt report goes, a whiskey-steeled soccer professional), physically secured that the Pope remained out of harms way, and that the speech could go on.
Must have been a lovely scene.
The Congressman, in my opinion, has an obligation to listen to a visiting Head of State. At a minimum, he should show a little charity towards the person the Holy Ghost chose to sit in the Chair of Peter. That is the Catholic thing to do. Secondly, the Pope is a Head of State. My hope is that all heads of state that are invited to Washington D.C. will receive that respect. Reserve judgements for after the address.
On the flip side, I would say that this Pope’s journey to the Western Hemisphere has been a challenge to my faith in Holy Mother Church. I can understand much better those who have claimed that they didn’t leave the church, the church left them. When the Pope makes an address at the White House and speaks mainly about climate change, but doesn’t address the most serious issues of American Catholics but with a glancing remark (Divorce, Abortion, and Religious Freedom), this is a squandered opportunity and a marginalization of the main fight that the faithful here are fighting. I get the idea of the search for the “Lost Sheep”, but the Good Shepherd doesn’t abandon the rest of the flock to the wolves in his search for lost sheep either. I have been fervently praying for our Pope as I believe he was put in place to test our faith. I hope he makes strong reference to the continued genocide here in America, to the moral relativism, and the hedonism during his address today.
I could not agree more with organistjason and Sonshine135, and thank you both for expressing yourselves so well.
We are in the realm of personal opinion, so here’s mine.
Whether or not Rep. Gosar attends does not matter much to me. He has an obligation and he does not yet know what Pope Francis is going to say, so, perhaps he should attend, then comment afterward. He is probably giving a gift to the left if he boycotts. I hear that.
However, I can empathize. Nothing I have seen or heard from this papacy does anything but give my spiritual radar a fatiguing workout. These days I feel like a sensitive receiver on the stage of an ACDC concert.
As in the days before Internet and blogs, I am being revisited by the old angst when, sitting in our Catholic church, we knew something was wrong, terribly, terribly wrong, but nobody talked about it, so we just went on with vague concern and puzzlement. Our concern was local then, (ah, the old days!) now, our concern is right up to the top.
It is understood that clerics cannot speak freely right now. As a member of the laity, not well informed like so many are here, even I understand that is so. As a Catholic, I hope devout in my small way, I am loathe to criticize a papacy, a pope. It gives no pleasure to voice it.
Many are voicing it, and oddly, ironically, that gives consolation, because all this is too horrible in isolation. A burden shared is a burden more easily borne.
We are in diabolical days. This can be no coincidence, it is just too much, too quickly, too neatly, to be coincidence.
I need know no more than that we have babies being ripped apart live and sold like car parts, our world has been taken over by radical homosexualists, and marriage decimated, to know that if I am hearing about air conditioners and economics, while we are chastised to take in hordes of those who have declared and proven themselves to be our enemy, PRIMARILY, something is very, very wrong.
Just go to the speech and offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory.
Sonshine135 sez: he should show a little charity towards the person the Holy Ghost chose to sit in the Chair of Peter.
The Holy Spirit does not choose the pope. How did it happen that so many Catholics came to believe this?
“I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.” -PBXVI
I am trying my best not to read the comments of others regarding Pope Francis and environmentalism because a lot of folks still cannot seem to avoid interpreting his message using political categories. When you really drill into his message, in its complete context, he is right. Again, in its complete context. We need more prayer and reflexion and less reaction.
Ironically, I find myself disagreeing with Father here. I spent 15 years working on the Hill, and one thing I have learned is that C-SPAN destroyed any remaining real work that was done on the floor of the House – a place where there was little true legislative work ever done anyway.
With respect to Joint Sessions of Congress, there have been serious complaints over the last 20 years that with their exploding number, they take away from the ability of Congress to conduct it’s regular work. A complaint I find that I have to associate myself with.
In any case, the true work of Congress occurs in Committee — not the flood of the House – nor during a Joint Session. So, with respect to “earning their pay”, I find that argument less than compelling. Arguably their pay is earned mostly elsewhere — not on the floor. — nor in a ceremonious Joint Session.
I find myself compelled to agree with what Woodrow Wilson (the future President) wrote in Congressional Government in 1885. He wrote:
“The House sits, not for serious discussion, but to sanction the conclusions of its Committees as rapidly as possible. It legislates in its committee-rooms; not by the determinations of majorities, but by the resolutions of specially-commissioned minorities; so that it is not far from the truth to say that Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, whilst Congress in committee-rooms is Congress at work.
With what I said previously, I still find Rep. Gosar’s comments and actions less than couteous, which should be expected fait accompli when it comes to receiving a foreign dignitary, never mind Peter himself.
I don’t think the Congressman should boycott the speech, but I do think he should be prepared to say something about it afterwards. I think Rep. Bosar is probably frustrated, like many of us, because he feels the Pope is using US Catholics as a prop to advance his own version of the Democratic party political agenda.
Here is the text of the Pope’s address to Congress.
Very appreciative of the post, Father. It’s simply embarrassing on multiple levels that any sitting Congressman, no less a Catholic himself, boycotted the Pope’s address to our nation’s representatives.
I wish you were in my parish. We could talk about the times we live in, the role of the Church and what we ourselves are doing day to day to serve God in his plan for us.
God love you.
I hope he chose to be there, and that his heart was moved. A stunning speech, especially with the inclusion of Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.
[Not sure about “stunning”. Solid, perhaps. I would like to have heard something more vigorous, but… they didn’t ask me.]
I think it was a publicity stunt. And it worked.
Well, that remains to be seen, if — by “it worked,” includes it benefited the Congressman politically (which ought to be included).
It’s very hard for me to see any political upside in this for the Congressman.
Now, if all he wanted was “publicity,” he’d do better to walk down Constitution Avenue in his boxer shorts.
Seriously Father, at this point it would have been in the best interest of the souls of all congressmen not to have attended that horrific address.
What’s more disturbing is the uptick of anti-Catholic remarks on news blogs, with the speeches Pope Francis is giving. I’ve been surprised by how many Protestants are familiar with what the Holy Father has been saying on climate change/immigration/capitalism over the past few months and how it’s bleeding into the response to the messages he’s been delivering here now. For decades and decades we American Catholics worked to tamp down the anti-Catholic bias so prevalent in much of America – the charges that we’re uneducated and superstitious – and now it’s all coming back thanks to Pope Francis’ leftist rhetoric. The commenters refute him with facts and logic and then add that he has no business using his office to promote his political agenda. However much you agree or disagree with Pope Francis, there’s no denying that we’re once again being characterized as uninformed acolytes who follow a Pope instead of Jesus Christ.
DisturbedMary, thank you sincerely, I wish I were too.
I neglected to add perhaps the most important point I wanted to make. As long as I’m here, I wish to make it.
ISIS is the greatest existential threat we have faced in contemporary times. These evil people, these demons, are burning and slashing their way through the Middle East, and their deeds are right out of hell itself. They are killing Christians and Mosul now has no Christians, none, and they were there for 2000 years. There has been no resistance to ISIS from the US or Europe or the Middle East. As a middle-aged American, I remember what the American military can do when directed, and whatever this current response is, is not a directed American military. It is nothing. Europe is also doing nothing.
And now that we are doing nothing, a vacuum has opened up and ISIS has filled it. Not being content with decimating Christians, they are doing what they do, coming to the West for conquest. Europe may be too far gone. Weakness and compassion is despised by Muslims, and they smell opportunity. Opportunity has been given to them on a silver platter.
In America our borders are now porous, we are no longer a sovereign nation, and South America is flooding in. We wouldn’t let one Catholic nun in here from one of the Middle Eastern countries, couldn’t get her in, but we have opened the floodgates to the entire South American continent. Send us your poor, your tired masses, your criminals and your crazies. Now, our president wants to bring muslims by the tens of thousands here, this year and next. He wants to bring to us what Paris now has and the rest of Europe will have, a predominantly muslim population. Do the math calculations on birth rates, then tell me what we will all have in fifty years.
I just read, in the last fifteen years in Switzerland, 1400 young girls have been raped by roving bands of Palestinian men. This is what the US and Europe cannot wait to import. Political correctness is how they will do it. They will use our obsession with PC to accomplish what an invasion on our shores has not done. We are protected by our oceans, but our politicians have found a way to bridge that geographic advantage and neutralize it for what gain, I don’t know.
When Pope Francis calls for our bishops to “welcome immigrants”, it leaves me wondering how he, as our Holy Father, can possibly be so blind to the reality of what he is calling for, that he can possibly call for this. Whether he knows it or not, he is calling for the influx of an ideology that has proven time and time again cannot and will not coexist with Western culture nor Christianity or Judaism.
Why is he not condemning ISIS and radical Islam every day and insisting the heads of other nations and bishops do the same? How is it possible for us to talk about everything else under the sun and pretend there is not a raging problem in the Middle East, growing in Europe, and soon to be on our shores? Are we seriously going to continue pretending there is no threat, and our Holy Father is talking instead about air conditioners?
I don’t know about anyone else, but to me, this is madness on a grand scale, and I don’t know how much longer this can go on, nor what it will take for voices to really raise up. We are all indoctrinated into nice talk. God forbid we be strident or (horrors) unpleasant. But I believe we are operating in a fog, a spiritual fog from which we had better wake up and soon.
Call me hysterical. I don’t care anymore. But something dark this way comes. Will we wake from our malaise in time.
The congressman did the wise thing. Had I boycotted his pathetic speech I wouldn’t be so angry I can’t see straight. We got a throw away line about dignity of life from womb to tomb. The rest of his speech ragged on us for our prison system our military and the idea we may want some control of our border. He also doesn’t seem to know the amount of money we spend on our poverty programs. Does he realize his championing of obamas climate change program will hurt the poor and put many of todays middle class in that category? He also sides with Obama with his Iran deal. I have read he doesn’t listen to television and gets his news from 1 newspaper and most of his advisors are from the left. This if true explains a lot.
I agree with you 100%.
I almost wish I had boycotted watching this address.
No mention to this massive crowd so desperately in need of them, of the necessity of God, Christ, His Church.
Lots of time on the secular agenda so dear to his heart, but only an oblique reference to abortion and the possible reference to homosexual marriage. But *plenty* of time to condemn what? –the death penalty, which is entirely moral and just and in accord with Catholic teaching up to and through the recent CCC.
What a lost opportunity. Truly a sad day for the papacy, straining at moral gnats while ignoring the moral elephants trampelling all around. Even my Protestant friends were looking for *some* kind of religious message, but alas, not as important as chiding us about immigration policy.
Mr. Gosar’s comment on his Facebook account posted a few minutes ago: “This morning, I listened to Pope Francis’ address to Congress from my D.C. office, and afterwards, read the full transcript of his remarks. Much of his speech was uplifting, such as focusing on the importance of family as the foundation for our society. However, I believe this was a missed opportunity, by one of the world’s most powerful voices for good, to specifically challenge Congress and the American people to take action against the horrific slaughter of Christians and non-Christians throughout the Middle East, as well as to put a stop to the trafficking of unborn baby parts. Religious tolerance and the right to life are not only Catholic teachings, but also fundamental American principles immortalized in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. My decision not to attend the Pope’s address was made to bring awareness to these critical issues, which deserve priority over climate change.”
I agree 100% with Kathleen, and I disagree 100% with Fr. Z.
Pope Francis has turned the Papacy into a tool of the radical left; by using his encyclical and his visit and his speech to Congress to promote climate change theory and liberal policies, he has handed the left their treasured political talisman….the ability to mainstream unlimited government power in favor of liberal climate change policies, all in the name of the Catholic Church.
I’m stunned beyond belief. Two years ago I thought the worst thing Francis might do is mess with the Traditional Liturgy….in another month who knows what Francis may endorse from the Synod?
If I’m reading the text of the Pope’s address correctly, he never once used the term “climate change” or “global warming” — he referred to “environmental deterioration caused by human activity,” which could include anything from toxic waste dumping to strip mining to contamination of waterways by discarded/flushed contraceptives. Also, he only addressed that issue in one paragraph of the speech. So it seems to me that he could be just as readily accused by leftists of ignoring or downplaying climate change as he could be accused by conservatives of ignoring abortion by referring only to “respect for life at all stages.”