pope francisOn Tuesday, Pope Francis arrived for his first-ever visit to the United States. The popular pontiff has a number of events scheduled during his five-day stay, which includes stops in Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia. Pope Francis made history on Thursday by becoming the first pope to make a speech in front of a joint session of Congress. Even more notable, however, are the issues on which he spoke and the stances he took. The pontiff touched on a number of controversial issues, including advocating for liberal immigration policies, pleading for an end to the death penalty, and urging action on climate change. His powerful message was not lost on Congress – he received rousing applause at times, and even brought Speaker of the House John Boehner to tears.

A Divisive “People’s Pope”

However, his message underscored an ongoing conflict between the religious right and the increasingly liberal head of the Catholic Church. Widely dubbed the “people’s pope”, Pope Francis has become famous for his departure from rigid Catholicism and his penchant for voicing progressive views on social and economic issues. This papal departure from the norm has forced many republicans in the U.S. to reevaluate their views on Vatican-endorsed policies. The complexity of the clash between religious and political values was clear during the Pope’s address on Thursday. Caught between admiration for the most prominent figure in the Christian world and adherence to their deep-seated conservative ideology, many republican members of Congress had mixed reactions to Pope Francis’ address, especially the section of his speech relating to climate change.

Pope Francis Brings Heat to Conservatives on Environmental Policy

pope francisThe conflict over environmental policy came to a head back in June, after Vatican leaders released Pope Francis’ encyclical calling for action on climate change. Since that release, a number of republicans have issued public statements disagreeing with the pope’s environmental policies. Among the most notable was Jeb Bush, who in June stated that “I don’t get economic policies from my bishops, my cardinals, or my pope”. The strongest reaction from Thursday’s address may actually have been from Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who blatantly told POLITICO that the pope is wrong about abolishing the death penalty. What do you think? Are republicans right to disagree with the pope?

Should the Pope Put His Money Where His Mouth Is?

As for economic issues, Pope Francis has continuously made headlines by denouncing exorbitant wealth, interacting with the poor, and advocating for their well-being. However, some people view Pope Francis’ calls for economic justice as hypocritical. It is well known that the Vatican is immensely wealthy; bankers estimate its assets to be worth at least $8 billion dollars. However, these are just estimates. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to know just how rich the Vatican is. While the pope has publically urged world leaders to enact policies to stem the accumulation of wealth at the very top, the Vatican itself is sitting on an untold number of assets, including gold reserves, real estate holdings, and a myriad of profitable investments. With this vast treasury at its disposal, the Vatican has more than enough money to cover its expenses – and then some. Yet, there has been zero effort to distribute any of this extra wealth to the poor. Surely Pope Francis has good intentions, but the question must be asked: why doesn’t the Vatican put its money where its mouth is?


  1. stpeterldspunk says:

    The Vatican does put their money where their mouth is, they feed the homeless, have homeless shelters, have organizations that help kids get out of gangs, orphanages and theses are just a few of the organizations they sponsor.

    1. Daniel says:

      I believe the same, I feel there is something big about to happen, The Pope needs to mind his busisness, and let the USA take care of the problem, I say you round them up and ship them back to their country

  2. Julia says:

    I must agree put his money where his mouth is or quit going out and asking everyone else to do something himself has not even made the effort to do.

  3. Tom Jaynes says:

    As a child, my parents always admonished to “do as I say, not as I do; because my words will sometimes not match my actions”. Realizing the imperfections in us all, Pope Francis would probably applaud this. However, a close examination of him shows that he walks the talk. For every large “political” assembly he addressed, he then went to a school, a prison, or a homeless shelter. He demonstrated what he believed in. Going back to his days in Argentina, he walked the talk. He spent his time with the poor, the disadvantaged, and the downtrodden. He rode city buses, he measured the effectiveness of his priests by the condition of their shoes. Dirty shoes meant they were working where they should have been. When elected Pontiff, he chose to forego the Papal apartments and stay in the little hotel in which he resided during the Conclave. He rides in a Fiat in Rome and everywhere else. By example, he is demonstrating his word that the church needs to be poor serving the poor.

    Yet he realizes that he is only one person. Supreme Pontiff though he may be, he cannot wave a magic wand and say open the treasury and distribute it to the poor and needy. Instead, he acts as we should all act. Caring for those less fortunate, visiting the disadvantaged, etc. Can the riches of the Catholic Church solve the problem of world hunger? No. Can the wealth of the church change the hearts of people and bring them closer to God? No. Yet, if we all followed the example set by the Pope, we just make affect a change in a lot of things.

    The truth is we cannot change nations, groups of people, churches, or communities until we change ourselves. Change begins with us, each and every one of us. If we change, our families might change. If they change, our communities might change. If communities change, nations can change. Ultimately, the world can change in the end. This was the Pope’s message. If I rely on my government or my church to make changes, I am nothing but a “clamging brass in the wind”.

    Is the Church wealthy? I suppose they have more than I do. But if they gave it all away, sold the art and the treasures and gave it to those in need; would their be no more needy? Sadly, no. Would hunger be eliminated? No. It is the little steps that make the difference. By Francis telling all the parishes in Europe to take in at least one immigrant family is a little thing, but a powerful thing. How many of our churches have done this or intend to. Not many, I fear.

    Please do not condemn those who you think may not be walking the talk until you have walked with them and seen the imprint of their steps.

    1. Mary says:

      I could not have said that better myself, amen to all of that! We are to lead by example. I have always made it my path to help others in need. My mother in her golden years, other senior citizens, veterans, people with disabilities. I do outreach for all that need and ask for help. The song “man in the mirror” by Michael Jackson always held a special place in my heart. We can’t change unless we start with ourselves. This world is on a bad path, but we can all put our mark of goodness on it, and that’s what I believe the pope was speaking. Doing right by others , doing good works is what my faith has and always will teach me. And I will continue to do so, as should we all.

  4. Tom Jaynes says:

    Along the lines of the theme of this subject, news is coming out that Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples allegedly met with the Pope during his American visit. I am not sure at this point if the Vatican has confirmed or denied such a meeting or has repeated the conversation actually held during it. I do know that the Pope said on the plane trip back to Rome that conscientious objection was a right for any government employee in response to a question about Kim Davis. Please let me express my feelings on the subject.

    1. I believe that every individual has the right to deeply held and personal religious beliefs.
    2. I believe that every individual has the right to conscientiously object to doing anything that they feel is in conflict with those deeply held and personal religious beliefs.
    3. The question comes when the manner you choose to demonstrate a conscientious objection is contrary to the law of the land. Ms. Davis was elected by the people in her County to perform a job that is paid for by taxpayer money. Additionally, she took an oath, swearing before God, to fulfill the duties of that office. When her job description changed because of a Supreme Court ruling, she had only two options – do the job she was elected, paid and sworn to do or resign and seek employment somewhere in hopes that her religious sensibilities will not be offended by the job description of another form of employment.

    While employers should make accommodations for employees religious beliefs, such as days off to observe religious services or holidays, they are under no obligation to rewrite a job description to exclude those duties that the employee does not agree with. This is especially true of elected officials. They knew well in advance of running for the office what the job entailed. They also knew that things and laws change and as a result, their job description could possibly change accordingly. Conscientious objection carries with it a degree of personal honor that implies you are free to engage in those activities you believe in, but it does not include the right to impose those personal beliefs on your employer, on your co-worker, on those you are elected to serve, or on anyone else.

    Note to Ms. Davis: I respect and honor your deeply held and personal religious beliefs. I agree completely with your right to conscientiously object to performing any duty that conflicts with those beliefs. Now, do the honorable thing and resign your position as a demonstration of just how conscientious you are.

    1. christopher says:

      Well said my friend.

    2. Bro. bill barr says:

      License are being granted by her office just not by her. To that I feel is a reasonable thing to do. How often even in small counties does the elected official issue a license? You will find it is routinely done by the staff member at the counter at the time. Now it will be up to the voters in that county to decide at the next election. I see a lot of friends drinking the cool aid on this issue back off don’t give this obscure issue life it should not have been given to start with. If everyone keeps up it will turn into a movie yuk!! Perhaps for male cast duck dynasty family members and the guy from the famous line in deliverance squeal like a pig. Enough all ready we still have people afflicted with aids, we still have gay children being bullied fight a fight you can make a difference in. In the love of Christ Bro bill .

  5. Minister Rob says:

    Walk the talk? Firefighters and the like “walk the talk”. These mere mortals risk everything to pull complete strangers out of fiery hells. You don’t even have to believe a certain way or live a certain way. Love them, hate them, or be completely indifferent…They’ll still risk it all to try to get you, your pet, and/or their buddies out of an inferno.

    Does the Pope walk the talk like this? Does the Vatican?

    Does the Abrahamic God?

  6. Bro. bill barr says:

    I as a protestant and family going back to when King Henry broke from Rome for what I would call all the wrong reasons admire this pope. My own belief is that of primitive Christianity as practiced prior to it becoming the church of state. Government as it always does perverts everything it can for power. The message of Christ was the antithesis of of what became of his teaching. King Henry appointed a fellow playboy and confidant to become the new head head of the Church of England who was a deacon. The evening before he was made Archbishop of Canterbury that wonderful thing that has transform many washed over him. He was blessed by the Holy Ghost and became a new creature in Christ. That evening he gave all of his fine cloths, household goods and vast wealth away to the poor. This was not immediately know to Henry he was looking forward to having his hand appointed man in charge of the wealth of the church and the two of them could go about living as the grandest of playboys on the wealth of the church. Plundering the church was as great a goal for the king as a divorce and perhaps greater. Suddenly Henry is faced with a new foe his old friend answered a higher call to be the guardian of the faith. Henry had him murdered. I mention all of that as the backdrop of humanity, Francis knows who evil lurks in the hearts and minds of men. As we all know robes and collar have hidden many a wolf. It is my thought this man is early in his reign and blessed I would think he has had thought of just going in and spending it all down to nothing but he knows his life would be taken in the offing. He is moving slowly methodically one of his first acts was to remove the Bishop in Germany who was building a 50 million dollar residence. I believe we will see a head roll over being tricked into meeting with that clerk from Kentucky and it appears now that was a set up by an American Archbishop. This man will move slow he has to look no further back then John Paul the first to know evil lurks behind every door in the Vatican. He has set out to find those he can trust to surround him and do the work he believes must be accomplished to bring Rome back to the teachings of Christ. As to the claim in the one post about the church doing nothing. I would suggest that writer buy a ticket and volunteer a month in India working with the ministry Mother Teresa left behind. Please join me in praying for Francis and all world leaders that they do the bidding of Christ for Christ sake. You are each in my thought and prayer please be good and more importantly do good. In Christ love bro bill

  7. TedP says:

    The Pope is entitled to his own opinions, and is refreshingly open and above board with his views. However, his references to Mr. Trump are incomplete. His statement, as I heard it on TV was, “if all he thinks about is building walls….” That part is continually left out. It is a dis-service to the Pope to publish partial statements for the purpose of promoting your own views.

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