Monday, September 28, 2015

Pope Francis Notes

Something tells me I need a notepad to track comments, links and reflections on last week's visit of Pope Francis to the US.
This Facebook exchange comes first.

Brian:  They can joke and prod Ben Carson about his take on a Muslim being president, but the wall-to-wall coverage of the Pope by the media and his reception by President Obama, Congress, and New York removes all doubt that the U.S.A. is still a nation based on Christianity, regardless of the statements made by President Obama and others, declaring the opposite.
John:  Why not just anoint the nation Roman Catholic? He sure fell short of a good many non-Catholic Christians finding fault with a big chunk of his messages. And not all are in a twist about abortion and queers. Just yesterday I ventured into a corner of evangelical Christianity to hear a man let me know he had been monitoring what the pope said and did, and when he spoke to the UN he never spoke the name of Jesus even once. To him that was all the evidence he needed to cast a dark shadow over everything else he may have done or left undone.

I don't know about where you live but anti-Catholic sentiments are alive and well where I live. There are plenty of people regarding the pope's visit as sacrilegious. Some may have serious arguments about whether or not he may be the anti-Christ. Do your own search for "is the pope the antichrist" and see what comes up. I get nearly two million links.

Saying that the president and others are "declaring the opposite" implies a binary take on what the president and others have said. It's the old "if you're not for us then you're against us" dichotomy. Declaring that the country is based on many faith traditions -- one of which is Christianity -- is not the same as saying the country is "not based on Christianity." This nuance is missed by many of the same people who argue that those of us who are pro-choice regarding abortion must therefore be pro-abortion. To my knowledge no one is PRO-abortion, even women who face that terrible CHOICE.

That same warped reasoning applies to what Dr. Carson and many others keep saying when they advocate a test of faith for the presidency. Ironically we went through this same mess leading up to the election of JFK. I remember it as though it were last week. And today's maligning of Muslims is every bit as ugly as the way Catholics (and anyone who didn't agree with their critics) were being criticized at that time. As Yogi Berra would say it's deja vu all over again. 
Brian:  I was being a bit facetious, but it's doubtful that an Imam, who is the leader of the Great Mosque of Mecca, a Protestant leader, or any other world religious leader would receive such coverage. 
John:   If your comment had any hint of being facetious I missed it. It reads pretty serious to me. As for a visiting imam, you're right. Unless and until the number of Muslim American followers reaches the numbers of Catholics it's not likely they would receive anything like the reception received by Pope Francis. The treatment and reception of the Dalai Lama is more comparable. That's not too bad but it's nothing close to the festivities of the week we just passed.
So during his sojourn in America the Holy Father surreptitiously met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. News of this didn't become public until after he left, but that news went a long way toward upsetting a lot of people who never imagined he would do such a thing. The official Vatican response has been to mute the story.

Pope Francis hung out privately with gay friends before accidentally shaking hands with Kim Davis
02 OCT 2015

Pope Francis

Pope Francis held a private meeting with a longtime friend who is gay one day before meeting briefly with anti-LGBT county clerk Kim Davis in a reception line.

Yayo Grassi, who has known the pope for more than 50 years, brought his longtime partner and several friends to the Sept. 23 meeting at the Vatican Embassy, reported CNN.

Pope Francis personally arranged the brief visit by email ahead of his visit to the United States, said Grassi — who had been a student in the pontiff’s literature and psychology classes in 1964-1965 at Inmaculada Concepcion high school in Argentina.

Grassi, who lives in Washington, D.C., told CNN that Pope Francis has known for many years that he is gay, but he had never condemned his sexuality or his same-sex relationship.

“He has never been judgmental,” Grassi said. “He has never said anything negative.”

Yayo Grassi (Facebook)

The Vatican sought to downplay the significance of the pope’s meeting with Davis, who was jailed six days last month on contempt of court after she refused to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

A senior Vatican official said Pope Francis met briefly with Davis along with several dozen other guests who had been invited by the Vatican ambassador to meet with the pontiff.

Pope Francis did not know the details of Davis’ situation and did not offer conditional support to the defiant county clerk, the official said.

Grassi, however, said the pope contacted him three weeks before the visit and invited him to meet with him.

“He called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug,” Grassi told CNN.

The Vatican made an oblique reference to Grassi in its statement distancing the pope from Davis.

“The only real audience granted by the Pope at the nunciature (embassy) was with one of his former students and his family,” the Vatican said in a statement.

“That was me,” Grassi said.

Vatican to Replace Diplomat Who Set Up Kim Davis Meeting
Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganĂ², who has been controversial as the Vatican's ambassador to the U.S., is on his way out, sources say.
March 14 2016 
The Vatican is replacing its controversial ambassador to the U.S., who arranged the meeting between Pope Francis and antigay Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis last fall. 
Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganĂ² will leave the position of apostolic nuncio, the equivalent of an ambassador, and will be replaced by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, a French-born clergyman who is currently the nuncio to Mexico, Catholic magazine America reports, citing Sandro Magister, a blogger who covers the Vatican.
[More at the link.]

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