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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope John Paul II: America, Defend Life! Pope Francis: America, Defend the Planet

When Pope John Paul II visited America in 1993 for World Youth Day, he spoke about life. He reminded us of his 1987 visit when he said:
If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person.
Bill and Hillary Clinton sat with tight lips listening to him squirming for the whole world to see. Pope John Paul II confronted the world as a sign of contradiction.

What about Pope Francis this morning? (See the video here.) Did the most diabolical president in our history squirm?
Not a bit. He applauded throughout even after the mild reference to religious freedom. The bulk of the pope's nine minute talk was on climate change and defending the planet -- not leaving it to the next generation. And he praised a beaming Obama for his efforts to reduce air pollution. As I write this it's so surreal it's making me laugh. Am I in Oz, Toto? But I forgot. The pope did devote twenty seconds to marriage and the family. (From 1:38-1:58) Thank you, Holy Father.

The bishops must have been pleased that the pope at least mentioned religious freedom (It got about two minutes.) since they've been banging on that single chord for several years. Forgive me if I'm not jubilant. Hey, I'm all for religious freedom, but let's face it. The bishops' concern appears to be more about money than protecting the religious rights of individuals from the hobnailed boot of the state. What a tragedy if the grants gushing down from the federal government dry up like the one on human trafficking. How much money are we talking about? Well, let's just look at Catholic Relief Services which received $427,969,000 in 2013 and  $423,886 in 2014 -- almost a billion dollars in two years. And then there's Catholic Charities and Catholic colleges and universities and the value of the tax exempt status, etc. get the idea. Their focus is the religious rights of the institutions many of which abandoned Catholic teachings years ago. How many Catholic schools and Catholic health institution already provide contraceptive benefits to their employees? How many so-called Catholic hospitals actually perform sterilizations and provide early Plan B abortions in the emergency room? How many Catholic schools put students in abortion mills for practicums? How can you claim religious rights when you're already doing what the state wants to make mandatory?

And I really want to know where the concern is for the religious rights of individuals. I'm still looking for a Catholic Bishop who defended Kim Davis for refusing to issue a marriage license to the gay guys or the statements from the USCCB about the individuals being attacked and losing their businesses for refusing to cooperate in evil. To be fair, the USCCB website has a statement about religious liberty, but when the rubber meets the robe and people actually suffer the discrimination there's almost no support. It reminds me of the Florida bishops twiddling their thumbs (finally releasing a half-hearted statement) while Terri Schiavo was murdered by deliberate neglect.

The pope's disappointing address at the White House was no surprise, though. Trashing the planet with "filth" seems to him more important than burying dead babies in the landfills. Souls appear to be more in danger for littering and burning coal than for murdering the weak at both ends of life. Oh, I know Pope Francis has said lots of good things that get almost no press coverage, but this trip is the perfect opportunity for his unfiltered message to be heard by millions. If this morning's speech, a crowd pleaser for the secular world with its focus on immigration and global warming, then I'm not too hopeful. Tomorrow he speaks to Congress and the pre-speech hype says he'll focus once again on the dangers of climate change. One Catholic congressman, Paul Gosar from Arizona, is boycotting the event. I can't disagree with him. The pope is treating issues of prudential judgment and questionable science as if they are Catholic dogma.

My husband and I aren't boycotting the pope's visit. But the enthusiasm we had for the visits of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict that took us to the streets of D.C. and Baltimore just isn't there. We'll watch the pope on TV and shake our heads over the missed opportunity to call America to account for her real sins, especially the mass murder of the innocent. The Pope is popular all right, but for all the wrong reasons.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta and Francisco, pray for us.


newguy40 said...

I simply can't watch or read anything related to this papal visit.

Crikey, I remember so clearly sitting in my parents home in 1979 watching St John Paul II getting off the plane at O'Hare airport for his visit.

My wife and I went to Mass this morning to thank God for soon to be Saint Juniper Serra. In the middle of Franciscan mission country and I've never ever experienced the level of hatred directed at the Catholic Church as what I see locally and in the home town newspaper. Just awful and maybe diabolical considering some of the comments. It's going to be a tough time with the papal visit and the coming Synod. There is an air of oppression and worry. Reparation prayer and fasting on Friday for myself.

Jane said...

Yes, Mary Ann. Then the pope denounces capitalism but is silent on communism. Nothing critical said against the Castro regime, and he puts smiles on the face of our evil commander in chief. At least there are more than a few who are recognizing that we are reaching critical mass.

I had no desire to go to DC for this, either.

This pope needs conversion.

And we must be faithful to the true magisterium: the unchangeable teachings of Our Saviour.

phil dunton said...

I am taking a page out of Paul Gosar's book so I am boycotting the TV reporting and everything else.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Can't say I have much desire to watch anything. It's interesting to note all the adulation though. If I were the pope, I'd be pretty worried about that.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

Mary Ann, you say, "when the rubber meets the robe and people actually suffer the discrimination there's almost no support"

"Almost no"? I'd say there's been zero-zip-nada support. Their silence is an abysmal disgrace.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the Pope on climate change, and also pray that he will be more forcefully vocal on intrinsically evil matters. However, he should be respected, because he is our dear Holy Father and the Vicar of Christ. I agree with Father Z and Father Gerry Murray on this. They are always very balanced and spot on. The boycott is childish, wrong, and ridiculous!

Father Gerry is full of wisdom here. Pray on it, that's all I ask.


Anonymous said...

And, yes, he missed an opportunity to speak about these issues at the White House, but he HAS spoken of them before, many times--just not enough. Perhaps it is part of a strategy to win souls by not being so in-your-face with regard to the often controversial issues. In that case, I still would not agree with the strategy, but that is what may be at play here. We should not judge his motives. His actions, yes, but not his motives.


Elizabeth said...

@Mary Ann: Worried about what?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...


Jesus made it pretty clear that if the world hated Him, it will hate His followers.

"If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. [19] If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. [20] Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also."

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...


I don't think I treat the pope with disrespect. But he has treated many of the faithful in our Church with disrespect. Those of us who oppose a mass illegal invasion are classed as racists and xenophobes. Those of us who are pro-life need to get with the program that there are other issues in the Church. Those with big families don't need to reproduce like rabbits.

I pray for the pope every day -- more than once since we go to daily Mass and pray the rosary with the prayers for his intentions. But I feel like I'm standing on sand and am off-balance with this pope waiting for him to drop the next bombshell. I think I have much company. To say that is not disrespectful just true.

Elizabeth said...

@Mary Ann: Yes, you do indeed have much company. Sadly. :)

Anonymous said...

I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have false gods before me.

Breathless coverage, themed music, media adulation. One false god meets another meets another in DC. Is anyone murmuring except hard-wired Catholics. I'm looking for humility, holiness, Godliness. What is going on in our Church?

Anonymous Mary

Elizabeth said...

@Mary: Amen to that!

Elizabeth said...

@Mary: An articulate piece about the Pope and his visit:

Anonymous said...

I am just as orthodox as you ladies. I, too, was distressed that the Pope did not stress enough a need for an end to abortion and the importance of religious liberty. However, what I am saying is this. We are used to Popes who are very direct about the non-negotiables. Pope Francis, by and large, as pope, has not been. Still, this could be part of a bigger strategy. He may think that being more subtle, less controversial, will draw more people in in the end. I do not agree with it. I miss the fiery preaching of JPII. With that said, though, only the Pope knows why he chooses to stress certain matters over others. That is something we ourselves cannot know, and we cannot judge him on. Only he and Our Lord know what is in his heart!

Most importantly, the Congressman who "boycotted" his speech is childish and disrespectful. Father Gerry Murray disagrees with the Pope's stance on climate change, too. So does Father Z, I am sure. However, both of them said that what this Congressman did was terrible and out of line. His infantile behavior should not be lauded on Catholic blog. That is the problem (well, one of many) with our society today. People refuse to listen to those with whom they have a disagreement, or even be in the same room with them. It is ridiculous. In point of fact, what that Congressman did reminds me of college students who go to "safe spaces" because they cannot bear to hear speakers they disagree with. I, too, disagree with the Pope on climate change. But were I in Congress, I would have been in that chamber to hear him, because the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, and he deserves my presence and my respect. After all, the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, and that Congressman received his position from Christ, and he should attend out of respect for the High Office of the Papacy, given by Christ.

As for the comment about "breeding like rabbits," his words were very poorly chosen, but I think he was trying to make a point about responsible parenting. More on that is here: He was not trying to discourage people having large families, but just stressing that people discern with God with regard to a families size. People do this all the time, with NFP. And I understand why he said this. I used to think that Catholics had to have as many children as they possibly could, or they were sinning, regardless of health concerns, or anything else. This was before my conversion experience. Now, I understand that it is not about this, but about OPENNESS to the will of God; about letting Him, and not our own selfish tendencies, decide how many children we should have. He may only grace us with one or two, but we should always be open to new life and His will, no matter what. I think the Pope was trying to clear up common misunderstandings people often have about this teaching. Poor choice of words, yes, but that was his attempt.


Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the climate change stuff, like I said, but this UN Speech from today DOES mention the life issues, and even decries the sale of fetal tissue. Also, the Pope met privately with the Little Sisters of the Poor. Please prayerfully consider mentioning that on your blog!


Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I have not read the U.N. speech, Dawn. I will try to make time.

Kay Allan said...

Who are you to sit in judgment of a Pope? The greatest evil is hubris.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I agree, Kay, and a pope who ignores previous popes and the Church's doctrine and undermines the indissolubility of marriage and declares that the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia allows the divorced and invalidly remarried to receive Communion is truly an example of that hubris.

The worst damage to the faith is due to unfaithful shepherds and it is not I who judge the pope, but the teachings of the Church that judge his actions. Read Ezekiel: "Woe to the false shepherds...."

By the way, if we are not allowed to use our "seat of judgment" to judge the actions of others, Isn't your judging me an act of "hubris?"