Monday, September 28, 2015

In the Wake of The Pope's Visit

Pope Francis has ended his much ballyhooed visit to the United States.

While here, he preached a little sermon to the U.S. Congress about its duties:

“Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.”

Of course, the hypocrites of the House and Senate applauded these and other lines delivered by the leader of the world’s Catholics.  So did the Catholics of the Supreme Court, including the  Opus Dei  member Antonin Scalia, who thinks corporations are people and that women should be kept barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. This is called “family values.”

I suspect that even the Pope realized that his speech to the Congress was an exercise in futility, that what passes for minds in those chambers could not be changed even by his persuasive rhetoric. And, as some critics have pointed out, much of that rhetoric rang somewhat hollow, coming from someone who only reluctantly acknowledged that bishops were guilty of “wrongdoing” when for eons they shielded from prosecution the priests who sexually abused children, honored with sainthood a priest who had been among the worst debasers of native Americans in Spanish colonial America, and who himself was mute in his Jesuit leadership when thousands of citizens were “disappeared” in his native Argentina.

None of this diminishes the importance of his messages about climate change caused by human activity, criminal economic inequality in the capitalist world, government guilt in the worst refugee crisis to confront humanity since the last great war, the blood-gorged oligarchs of an arms industry that feeds on human death and suffering, or a human society that increasingly dismisses the Golden Rule as old-fashioned nonsense.

And these are the messages that his applauding audience in congress choose to ignore.  They would defund the organization that does the most in our society to provide medical services to women too poor to get them otherwise.  They would deny black Americans the right to vote.  They would provide military weapons to police officers who shoot unarmed men with their hands up, or in wheelchairs, or with their backs turned, simply because those men are black, or wearing ‘Fros, or hoodies. They would  impose an intolerable tax burden on its working poor while collecting virtually nothing from its greed-gorged oligarchs and obscenely profitable corporations. They would blindly pursue a policy of endless war, endorse Israel’s genocide against Palestinians and hurl fusillades of lies against those who dare to try to take tiny steps toward peace somewhere in a benighted world.

They applauded the Pope even as they plotted new methods of debasing “those in situations of great vulnerability or risk.”

They are scum.

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