Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope's Speech at the White House Ceremony

Francis wasted no time getting into some so-called "political" issues this morning in his speech at the White House, but focused largely on climate change and religious liberty.

As I listened I must admit that I was caught off guard with his decision to dive right into these issues. In doing so, he probably fed the speculation that he was being too political and not spiritual enough. (Again, see my remarks this morning as to why this Pope is not "political.").

But the more I thought about it, I realized that the Pope is trying to bring Catholic social teaching to bear on the major issues we are facing today in the United States.  He wants to show that Christianity has something to say to these pressing issues.  In the process, he addressed concerns of American liberals (climate change) and Christian conservatives (religious liberty).

This, of course, is only the beginning.

As for Obama's speech, the President emphasized the parts of the Pope's teaching that fit well with his domestic agenda.   I am sure he will be using the Pope's speeches to help him with climate change and immigration reform. (And let's hope religious liberty).  Although I am guessing that the Pope will also say things this week that Obama will not be able to use for his political purposes.  Stay tuned.