Saturday, August 01, 2015

Papal pushback

Will Pope Francis' strong message meet resistance in US?

Michael Sean Winters | Jul. 31, 2015
National Catholic Reporter

Those looking for clues of what to expect from Pope Francis when he visits Cuba and the United States at the end of September should study his trip to Latin America.

Francis' eight-day trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay July 5-12 accentuated almost every theme of this pontificate. At a large prison in Bolivia, he told the prisoners, "I could not leave Bolivia without seeing you." He went to a riverside barrio in Paraguay, and appeared more energized from that encounter than the formal, diplomatic airport welcoming ceremonies in the three countries he visited. In Ecuador, he reiterated some of the central themes of his encyclical on the environment and, in another signature sign, when speaking to clergy and religious, he set aside his text and spoke without notes for 30 minutes.

Even the seemingly remote subject of curial reform was evident in the trip: His entourage was slimmed down and he was accompanied by only one Vatican cardinal.

The keynote address of the trip, when Francis met with community organizers from around the world in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, July 9, is already being called a "mini-encyclical." Francis was unrelenting in his criticism of contemporary capitalism. After listing many of the ills of modern society, he said, "And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea, one of the church's first theologians, called 'the dung of the devil.' An unfettered pursuit of money rules. That is the dung of the devil."

(Continued here.)

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