Thursday, September 24, 2015

Congressman Refused to Attend Pope Francis Speech Before Congress Due to Climate Change Politics

Rep. Paul Gosar on Papal Speech to Congress

This week, the hot ticket in the District of Calamity was getting tickets to see the Pope.  Only 25,000 people were allowed entrance for the Mass at the Basilica in Catholic University.  The White House allowed 15,000 people to see the Pope on the South Lawn of the White House (along with a couple of uncomfortable invitees for the Vatican). On Capitol Hill, 50,000 tickets were issued to see the Pope's address to the Joint Session of Congress, albeit many watching on the lawn.

But Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ 1st) rejected his two allotted tickets because of his belief that Pope Francis is too political. The Papal Encyclical Laudato Si was trumpeted by the secular press as being a bull about climate change (instead of being properly read as a all encompassing missive about the ecology of humanity).  So Congressman Gosar made his protest and is presumably sitting at home for the speech.

While it is true that Pope Francis did speak in glowing terms about enacting climate change legislation, the pontiff did not let the power that be in the White House off easy.  Pope Francis' remarks at the White House started with a subtle slam for President Barack Obama about respecting the fine American tradition religious liberty.  Later in the day, Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop to visit the Little Sisters of the Poor, the religious order being forced to cover contraception against their consciences under Obamacare.

As a Jesuit, Pope Francis is all about dialog and encounter.  It's a pity that Gosar as a practicing Catholic chose not to participate in that by politely hearing out a visiting Head of State and Holy Father to 1.2 billion Catholics. As a faith leader, Pope Francis is not bound to American ideological boxes of conservative or liberal and ought to instruct his faithful in ways that may make people feel uncomfortable.  If Rep. Gosar has proper catechesis, he ought to know that not everything the Pope utters is infallible.  In fact, Paragraph 189 of Laudato Si urges robust but honest and transparent debate over the matter.  It is a pity that politics nowadays is sometimes degenerated to trolling for attention instead of seeking solutions through honest debate and deliberations. 

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