What about this Pope?
In the last year the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has added to the dialog, and to the polarization of the world. It has become another contentious dialog between those who wish to see change vs. those who believe nothing should ever change; that the Bible is a tool of God vs. the indisputable word of God. It is the people who believe the Pope is the spiritual Head of the Church vs the Pope is the spiritual Head of the Church, but spirituality and politics don’t mix. It seems that talk about money/politics and faith are separate conversations, not one ongoing conversation.
This Pope has had the temerity to suggest, among many things, that we should be kind to homosexuals, review policies that exclude divorced couples from the sacraments, that we shouldn’t judge others, and, worst of all, has suggested that an equitable way of redistributing the worlds wealth should be sought!
We live in an age of ever increasing mechanization of labor, and still increasing population, and stagnant wages. Labor is told to get a job, but jobs are dwindling, and the real buying power of wages has shrunk dramatically. All the while the rich are getting disproportionately more wealthy.
The Pope sees this as against the teachings of Christ, around whom Christianity was born.
What is the response I have seen most often to this Pope’s stand on our world capitalist (Trickle down) economy model? The Pope is a Socialist! The Pope is a Communist! The Pope doesn’t “get it”, when it comes to Capitalism, because he took a vow of poverty and because he lived in a poor country! These are the cries I hear from people in the media…and from many people I speak to.
I, personally, think this means the Pope “gets it” more than any one of the media pundits, or anyone who lets others form their opinions for them. This Pope has seen first hand, and in grinding reality, what poverty really is, and how the “trickle down” economic model is not working. He has demonstrated that happiness comes from within not without. He has seen the effects of entitlement and separation from one another…and Divinity.
There is a whole discussion one could have right now on exactly what “Socialism” is, but I will only say that there is no one definition, and that it is a fluid thing, with, at its core, parity for all, with each culture defining what is of “value”, and what defines an individuals “value”.
What “Socialism” isn’t is an end to individualism, nor does it necessarily mean the government runs the whole thing. It is a fluid thing. What it means is that we can decide what our unique version of “Socialism” looks like, and then declare what we value and deem “productive” or having “value”…and isn’t that the same thing as deciding how we wish to express Divinity in our lives? America can invent and refine and define what “Socialism” means in America, other countries can determine how it would work for them.
Socialism does mean a shift back to production for use, not strictly for capital gains. It means that we will have to re-examine just how influenced by the attitudes of buy, buy, buy and begin to know that there is enough for everyone…and understand who benefits, and who does not, if these attitudes change. It means that a thing or persons value is determined by its usefulness, not by its exchange value. It means that when enough of a thing has been produced, we may have to share and repair!
Who, we must ask ourselves, is feeling the heat from the words of a Pope who also believes there is enough for all if we have the will to see life as being filled from within, and not from without?
So many of the issues that this Pope has brought up, and which are getting so much reaction, are also those that effect the marginalized or some minority… women, the poor, gays and lesbians. Why is it so upsetting to so many? What would happen if these suppressed groups changed their minds about themselves…what power do they possess?
This Pope says to welcome the immigrant, which usually translates to “the poor”, who will not, in economic terms, “contribute” in the short term fiscal picture. I believe very person of any strata of society in any contributes to the “system”, if not through income tax, then through sales taxes, labor, knowledge, spirituality, and even, simply, the belief in something better. None of these are small things, and most people do not see, minus the immigrant, their country would not look like it does today. The idea that the immigrant population pollutes the pure genetic strain is ridiculous and completely denies that we are all One. I don’t believe for one moment that different skin colors were created by Divinity as a social ranking tool, but merely as a means to know who we are through contrast, in this human experience….and I believe this Pope sees exactly that.
I ask…who and what is your God? Does your God represent all or just the privileged? Does your God ask you to fear change and your fellow man, or to know it is all God? Does this Pope create fear in you, or anticipation? Should this Pope stick to strictly “spiritual” issues, or is, as CWG says politics our spirituality expressed?
(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of, and Spiritual Helper at, the global website at www.cwghelpingoutreach.com She may be contacted at: Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)