Francis spoke to Congress, yesterday.
The Daily Mail reports that
Pope Francis delivered a stinging blow to nativist conservatives bent on keeping illegal immigrants and Middle Eastern refugees out of the United States, saying Thursday in a landmark address to Congress that Americans should show compassion to immigrants of all stripes.
‘When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past,’ the Roman Catholic pontiff said. ‘We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.’
Speaking in English – a language he has learned only recently – Francis also dropped coded messages to conservatives about gay marriage and abortion, and made an impassioned plea for a left-leaning approach to capital punishment in an unprecedented visit to Capitol Hill by a sitting Pope.
‘I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without,’ Francis told a packed House chamber filled with legislators, Supreme Court justices and multiple presidential candidates.
‘Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.’
And without mentioning abortion by name – or the name of the embattled domestic Planned Parenthood organization – Francis told lawmakers that the ‘Golden Rule … reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.’
Francis spoke calmly but emphatically, never raising his voice as presidents often do in their State of the Union addresses to joint congressional sessions.
He was greeted by polite applause at certain points – particularly when he began reciting the Golden Rule but was interrupted before he could finish – ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you.’
Also, notably, applause broke out after these words: ‘The Golden Rule reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of development.’
But the applause was never raucous, a sign that members heeded party leaders’ directive not to applaud effusively or ‘glad-handle’ Francis if they got close to him.
Behind him on the raised speaker’s dais, close watchers got a different show during the speech, as both Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner – both well-known emotional men – proved to be almost as watchable.
Throughout the speech, Biden gravely nodded his head and looked down as if in serious thought. But Boehner appeared to tear up at several points, and was openly crying later on the Speaker’s Balcony after the address.
Francis’s speech was sprinkled with references to American history, as the pontiff repeatedly referenced and occasionally quoted from President Abraham Lincoln, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., Catholic Worker Movement founder Dorothy Day and Cistercerian monk Thomas Merton.
The pontiff made clear his firmness on the sanctity of human life, not only the veiled reference to abortion but also his opposition to the death penalty.
Biden, a Roman Catholic who co-presided over the Joint Session of Congress as the constitutionally appointed president of the U.S. Senate, caused a stir this week by declaring that he believes life begins at conception.
But it’s Francis’ comments about immigrants that will be most sharply felt as the U.S. deals with the twin crises of Syrian refugees and an immigrant invasion from Mexico and Central America, both of which the Obama administration has taken steps to pacify by loosening America’s borders as a show of compassion.
‘Thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones in search of greater opportunities’ in in North America, he said. ‘Is this not what we want for our own children?’
‘We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.’
WIthout naming Syria, the Muslim faith, the ISIS terror army, or any of the European nations that have hedged their bets again welcoming the tide of migrants displaced by Islamist armies, Francis noted ‘a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.’
‘This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions,’ he said.
Ultimately the shepherd of more than 1.2 billion Catholics counseled adherence to a Biblical do-unto-others philosophy.
‘Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated,’ he implored Congress. ‘Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.’
‘In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.’
Francis did warn against religious fundamentalism of the type that drew ISIS into the fight that has displaced an estimated 4 million Syrians, mostly young men.
‘Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion,’ he said.
‘We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.’
Since this happens to be my blog, please allow me to state the following, as I believe it to be:
Friends have asked me if I believe that Christ would be in favor of this “Social Justice” movement that has consumed some churches in America, replacing Christian Doctrine with a Modern Liberal Political Agenda. No. I do not believe that Jesus would be a part of the social justice movement. His was and is a soul-saving movement. One that still brings hundreds of thousand of people to individual salvation on this terrestrial ball every day. A movement that, in fact, was embraced by the founders of this cherished land.
Regarding his comments concerning “immigrants”, the Pope left out a very important word: ILLEGAL.
The last bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform happened during President ill “Bubba” Clinton’s tenure. Bubba appointed former congresswoman and Democratic icon Barbara Jordan as its chair. Jordan came from humble beginnings to become a lawyer and the first Southern black woman elected to the House of Representatives. A DEMOCRAT, she was a leader in the civil rights movement, a professor of ethics, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a world-class orator (two of her speeches are considered among the greatest of the 20th century). Her appointment gave the commission instant credibility. According to Jordan, she believed her responsibility as the head of the commission was to restore credibility to the U.S. immigration system. On the issue of illegal immigration, Jordan was very clear and succinct:
Unlawful immigration is unacceptable. Those who should not be here will be required to leave.
I understand that people want a better life for themselves and their children. We are all immigrants in this land, except for American Indians, and they got here by crossing the Bering Straight. But there is a huge difference between immigrating here legally and sneaking in illegally, between assimilating into an existing culture, and insisting on replacing a country’s existing culture with that of the country you left.
Do you want to have access to the blessings of American Citizenship, such as the right to attend our schools? Fine. Become an AMERICAN CITIZEN.
Regarding the Syrian “Refugees”:
Why did the Pope only concentrate on the Muslim Refugees from Syria? Why did he not mention the Christian Refugees from Syria, presently in our country, whom Obama is sending back to their home country to most certainly be killed?
And, why did he not mention Pastor Saeed, and the other three prisoners, being held unjustly in Iran, when Obam and Kerry are lauding their “Genbtleman’s Agreement” with that country of Muslim Barbarians, giving them nuclear capability?
With all due respect, sir, Christ threw the money changers out of the temple. He hated sin. Yes, he spent time with sinners…TO LEAD THEM TO REPENTENCE. JESUS CHRIST DID NOT CONDONE SIN. BREAKING THE LAWS OF A SOVEREIGN NATION IS COMMITING A SIN.
So is entering a country to commit violent acts, in order to spread Islam throughout the world.
I’m just saying.
Until He Comes,