The Pope gave a speech to a joint session of the US congress. It is worth examining the lies of commission and the lies of omission. I will not comment on his statements that are contrary to the NAP – or even violations to the US Constitution; this post will already be long enough without having to comment on virtually every line of the speech. For clarification, the Pope’s words will be in italics.
I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
He isn’t able to get beyond the opening sentence. What “home of the brave”?
The US military will drastically increase drone flights over the next four years, in a bid to boost intelligence and strike capabilities across a growing number of conflict zones, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Not very brave, murdering thousands from the comfort of an air-conditioned office.
You [congress] 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….Legislative activity is always based on care for the people.
There was a time when this “care for the people” was the function of the Church body. Never did Peter – the rock on whom the Church is built, and from whom the Pope derives his authority – or Paul call for the Roman government to shepherd and guide the faithful.
Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation.
It was God who gave the Law, not Moses. Moses was a messenger. Likewise, Congress cannot give or create law. (I need not explain that I do not expect all people live under Mosaic or God’s Law; the NAP is enough, given its broad applicability.)
On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being.
The Pope is saying flatly that, like Moses, Congress leads us directly to God.
This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”.
The “guardian of liberty”? Tom DiLorenzo already covered this monstrosity.
Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion.
Well, that much is true. Does he point to the US, a supposedly Christian nation, as perhaps the prime example? No.
To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.
I can offer a few hundred examples, but one should suffice:
Most of the world may be horrified at the selection of Saudi Arabia to head a key U.N. human rights panel, but the U.S. State Department most certainly is not.
Returning to the Pope:
The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States.
I can offer a few hundred examples, but one should suffice:
For most of the recent past, U.S. forces and forces armed and trained by the United States have regularly and violently intervened in the affairs of Latin American countries, establishing brutal autocracies to prevent the expansion of Communism.
You would think someone from Argentina would be familiar with this Latin American history.
Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.
In the early Church, as described in the Book of Acts, this was not a matter of “politics” as the word is understood today; it was solely the responsibility of the Body of Christ. It was not a question for the Romans to answer by force; it was a question for a voluntary Church community.
We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.
An exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life.
Returning to the speech:
In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom….Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected….Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present.
How about judging the past by the criteria of Jesus’ teaching?
Next, the refugees in Europe:
Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.
So far, so good. Where is the punch line?
There is no punch line. The Pope says nothing to the US Congress about the American fingerprints that are behind this refugee crisis.
The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
He calls, properly, for abolition of the death penalty – 1400 executions since 1976, not more than 50 per year for the last ten years.
But does he mention abortion?
A total of 730,322 abortions were reported to Centers for Disease Control for 2011, the most recent year numbers are available. (Reporting is voluntary and not 100%.)
No, he doesn’t. Less than fifty demand attention, more than 700,000 not mentioned.
“We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” (Laudato Si’, 129).
Not a word on 700,000 actual deaths per year today, but plenty of time to present his concerns for the unknowable future based on unproven (and even falsified) science. God must have convinced him of this certainty; not all scientists are convinced:
This is a list of scientists who have made statements that conflict with the scientific consensus on global warming as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and endorsed by other scientific bodies.
The Pope moves on to the military-industrial complex:
Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.
Does he condemn directly the world’s largest exporter of “deadly weapons”? No.
Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.
Does he mention at all the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage? No.
God bless America!
Assuming God hasn’t thrown in the towel on this one, perhaps next time He will send a better messenger.
The Pope has an international voice – his office carries weight. He could have taken a lesson from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who offer a prime example of speaking truth to tyrannical power, regardless of consequence. Instead, he said not one word of justly deserved condemnation (other than condemning anything associated with the free market). Throughout his speech, he avoided speaking the truth, or avoided to speak it plainly.
King Nebuchadnezzar did not need to read between the lines to understand Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The three of them offered a clear example of speaking truth to power, openly and directly.
The Pope, instead, took his lessons elsewhere; he took the poor example of Peter – too afraid to speak the truth:
Mark 14:29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” 31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said. 68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
We can only pray that one day soon this Pope will also break down and weep in recognition of and repentance for the damage he is causing.