While the residents of New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. might disagree, Pope Francis is mistaken if he returns home believing he has seen America.
During the pontiff’s six days in the USA he barely brushed the shoulder and squeezed the hand of this greatest of all nations. Granted, the cities he visited are vibrant symbols of our economy (NYC), our democracy (D.C.) and our revolutionary birth – Philly. But they are only three of the thousands of legs America stands and moves upon.
America is an idea as much as a place on the global map. And no one, including an Argentine priest living in the heart of Rome, can grasp on a brief visit who we are and how we feel about ourselves.
But he has discovered something about our heart and personality. We are a raucous, irreverent bunch, happy to welcome a pope who doesn’t pretend to walk arm-in-arm with the God almighty.
He is only a man and he knows it. One of his most common pleas – words he even spoke to House Speaker John Boehner in a private moment – is “Pray for me.”
No matter how large his entourage, Francis knows the journey is long and ultimately lonely. Like all of us, he knows he can’t make it without help.
So…we will pray for the man, and he for us.
And, Francis, anytime you’re in the neighborhood – the door is always open.
Imagine yourself on a New Orleans balcony overlooking Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. Now rear back and hurl a rock into that drunken wave of humanity below…
Whoever you hit with that rock will know as much about global warming as Pope Francis.
The difference is that Francis, spiritual head of 16 percent of the world’s inhabitants, just issued an encyclical (fancy-ass letter) blaming humans and their fossil fuels for global warming.
The pope’s condemnation of coal, oil and natural gas – the economic life’s blood of every advanced nation – has upset even some Catholics. As they point out, the church belief in papal infallibility only applies to pronouncements on faith and morals.
Global warming is neither of those, which means the pope’s opinion on the subject carries no more weight than that of our Mardi Gras drunk.
Still, the pontiff is to be admired for tackling any issue, religious or not, which he considers important to mankind. This week he called all Catholic manufacturers
of guns and weapons “hypocrites,” and is reportedly close to issuing another encyclical – this one intended to strengthen heterosexual marriages.
Vatican spokesman Rev. Joe Metuzzio said the title of the fancy-ass letter will be, “The Pope Francis Guide to Red-Hot Kinky Catholic Sex.”
“His Eminence has never personally experienced red-hot kinky sex,” Rev. Metuzzio said, “but years of hearing confessions have taught him all he needs to know.”
Pope Francis only addressed half the problem of overpopulation in poor Christian countries when he recently said, “Being a good Catholic doesn’t mean breeding like rabbits.”
The other half is the church itself, which tells all those bunny-makers they’ll be excommunicated and risk eternal damnation if they employ the most effective and convenient birth control methods. The Pill, condoms, vasectomies, tying a woman’s tubes – all have been labeled “mortal sins” by that long line of elderly bachelors who rule from Rome.
But not to fret, says Father Church. Couples can still be baby-free by practicing abstinence (fat chance), or by paying close attention to menstrual cycles, female fertility symptoms, the phases of the moon and on which side of the tree the moss grows in their backyards.
That was, and is, all too much for the sex-loving uneducated masses in overpopulated nations. To continue being “good Catholics,” they continue to breed like rabbits.
The Americans, however, rightfully said to
hell with all that – and even to hell withthemselves if that’s what it took. Over 90percent of U.S. Catholic couples have used artificial birth control for decades with nary a peep of protest from the Vatican.
What is sin in one country is apparently not sin in another. Especially if one of the countries puts more in the Sunday collection than any nation on Earth.
Pope Francis is refreshing in personality and theological candor. But until he changes the rules, or excommunicates those millions of U.S. Catholics who openly defy church doctrine – he’d best leave the rabbits alone.
Pet lovers were thrilled by the story last week that claimed Pope Francis consoled a grieving boy in St. Peter’s Square by telling him he would meet his dead dog again in heaven.
“Pope Says Pets Go To Heaven” was the headline around the world, including the front page of The New York Times.
The incident never occurred. The bogus tale was apparently spawned by pasta-crazed Italian journalists who were loosely paraphrasing something said 40 years ago by another pope.
So what are we to believe? Will Fido and Mr. Whiskers eternally romp with us over heaven’s emerald hills and golden valleys – or not? The answer is a resounding Yes!
God does not have Pope Francis on speed dial, and even if He did the pontiff’s opinion is not required. Of all theological questions that great minds ponder, this is one of the easiest to resolve:
By definition and design the residents of heaven are happy without qualification or reservation. Anything pure that our hearts desire – anything that could possibly make us happier – will be available before we ask.
God will not allow us to be only 99.9 percent happy in heaven. Can you picture, for example, this conversation between the Lord and Michael the Archangel:
“That new arrival, Sister Sally, seems down in the dumps. What’s her problem, Michael?”
“She found out you don’t allow pets in heaven, Lord. She expected to see her old dog, Duke, when she pulled in.”
“Well, tough tuna for Sister Sally. Rules are rules!”
Ain’t gonna happen. If you want every pet you ever loved on Earth to be waiting for you just beyond the pearly gates – if that would make you happier – God will make it so.
Put that in your Christmas stocking, right next to the play toys for Fido and Mr. Whiskers.