The pope is defined as the ultimate spiritual earthly authority and head of the Holy Catholic Church. The word catholic means universal. Therefore, the pope is supposed to be the voice of Christianity throughout the world – as represented by the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis became the first pope in history to address a joint session of the Congress of the United States. He had the eyes and ears of America – and the eyes and ears of much of the world. He was given a huge platform, pulpit and microphone. So what did he say? Let me begin with what he did not say – it is frightening and telling. I used a word-search engine on the transcript of the pope’s speech, and here is what I discovered.
The words the pope never used in his speech:
Bible, biblical, Jesus, Christ, sin, repentance, repent, forgive, forgiveness, holy, judgment, savior, salvation, scripture, heaven, Lord, prophetic, prophecy, redemption/redeem, born-again, Holy Spirit, mercy, grace, gay, homosexuality, Christian, Christianity, Islam, ISIS, Muslim, terrorism, jihad, persecution, or the Middle East. And although he did briefly refer to the practice of abortion (read on) – he never used the word abortion.
However, he did use these words:
Gospel – He used it once speaking of Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. He proclaimed that Ms. Day was “influenced” by the Gospel.
Church – He used the word one time talking about Cistercian monk Thomas Merton – who opened “New horizons for souls and for the Church.” There was no discussion as to what these “new horizons” were.
Faith – He used this word three times. Twice he used it in reference to Dorothy Day. Once he uttered the word in a general sense – making no direct reference to faith in Jesus Christ or the Word of God, or the Gospel message of salvation wherein we must place our ultimate faith.
Sinners – The pope used this word once. Here is the quote in which he used it: “But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners.”
But, isn’t that the way God sees it? Isn’t that the overarching message of the Word of God and the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ? Of course it is! Did the pope just tell the world to “guard against this simplistic reductionism” as expressed by Jesus Himself and the clear message of the Word of God?
Direct scripture quote – He used only one. He referred to “The Golden Rule” and then quoted it: “Do unto others …” Even then, he didn’t name the verse nor the fact that it was spoken by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount or even that it came from the Bible. Yes – believe it or not, there were many listening to the pope speak who would not have known that quote came out of the mouth of Jesus. Thanks to Pope Francis, they still don’t know it. And, in using that quote, he was lecturing America about borders and immigration – while the Vatican has some of the most stringent immigration rules on the planet! He also used the word “Golden Rule” one more time when obviously referring to abortion (a word he never used directly).
Hell – Pope Francis used this word once (quoting Thomas Merton).
God – He used this word nine times. The majority of the times he used it, he was quoting other people, including Abraham Lincoln. The pope did say, “The figure of Moses leads us directly to God.”
However, this statement is not entirely true. Moses was a man used by God to speak to the children of Israel. But it is Jesus Christ who leads us directly to God through the blood of His salvation offer. The pope ended his speech with the obligatory God bless America.
Spirit – Interestingly, the pope used this word eight times – yet never in conjunction with the word “Holy.” In fact, it was never in conjunction with anything directly biblical at all.
He spoke of religious fundamentalism – without mentioning the most prominent focus of religious fundamentalism sweeping the planet today – Islam and Islamic terrorism, barbarism and butchery.
The pope proclaimed, “Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion.”
On the subject of abortion:
The pope, in the entirety of his speech with the world raptly listening to every word he said, spoke only one sentence on the topic (never using the word abortion). Here is the sentence:
“The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”
That sentence (devoid of the words sin, murder, unbiblical, etc.) was sandwiched between several paragraphs about America’s duty to welcome our illegal-immigrant neighbors (“We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome”) and the necessity to “avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.”
Ending America’s death penalty, on the other hand, received a full paragraph of the pope’s attention. Remember, Pope Francis never uttered the words ISIS, Islam, or Christian persecution, yet he did feel the need for America to end the death penalty for violent criminals convicted in a court of law.
How does the pope, with a current congressional debate over abortion and the harvesting of baby body parts, all but gloss over the subject of abortion – choosing instead to focus his speech about climate change? Most of the Christian world, which the pope is supposed to be representing, labels abortion as child murder. When one considers that over 700,000 child murders are being committed each year in the United States with the full endorsement of half of Congress (the Democratic Party) and the executive branch, where is the pope’s outrage and admonishment in this matter?
And what about the holocaust being carried out against Christians in the Middle East and Africa by ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, al-Nusra Front and other jihadist groups? The only reference to this horror was a passing mention, a heavily veiled reference, of “violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion.” Alas, he instead spent more time lecturing the United States about the death penalty.
On the subject of gay marriage:
He did mention gay marriage (without using the words) near the end of his speech. His reference was lukewarm at best: “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.”
Instead, the brunt of his speech was focused on climate change – a climate that has been changing since the opening pages of the Bible. Did the pope forget the worldwide flood of judgment and the judgment of fire that is to come?
With all the concern of the Catholic Church concerning performing exorcisms around the world, on entire nations, why didn’t he perform an exorcism on Congress? And since even the media admits that one of the main reasons for the pope’s visit was to somehow lend a sense of moral authority for Obama’s agenda, I would have to say Obama got exactly what he wanted. Gee, thanks Mr. Pope.