Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"At Mexican-U.S. border, Pope delivers a stinging critique "by Daniel Burke/CNN

/http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/17/world/pope-francis-border-mass/



"Even before the Pope arrived in Mexico, GOP front-runner Donald Trump called Francis a "very political person" and suggested he was a tool of the Mexican government.
The Vatican shrugged off the latter charge but pleaded guilty to the former.
"The Pope, with his moral and spiritual ministry, may have a political impact. That is clear to the whole world by now, " Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Tuesday night when asked about Trump's accusations.
Look at Francis' role in encouraging renewed relations between the United States and Cuba, for example, the spokesman said, adding that the Pope has also encouraged Europeans to care for the refugees at their borders.
Bishop Daniel Flores, who has been traveling with Francis during his five-day trip in Mexico, said the central themes of the Pope's sermon and papacy are the same: a call to conversion. "No one is exempt from this; it is addressed to everyone: government leaders, politicians, bishops, clergy, young people, families, prisoners, business leaders..."

In case the message was lost on his modern-day audience, the Pope drove the point home:
"Let us together ask our God for the gift of conversion, the gift of tears, let us ask him to give us open hearts like the Ninevites, open to his call heard in the suffering faces of countless men and women. No more death! No more exploitation!"
Before the Mass, Francis prayed and blessed a makeshift memorial to migrants who have tried to cross into the United States. He then blessed a group of about 400 people across the river in El Paso. Included among these "Francis VIPs" were families seeking asylum in the United States, according to El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz.
It was a grand geopolitical gesture straight from the Pope's political playbook, mirroring his prayer at the wall separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem in Israel. It also thrust Francis into the polarized debates over immigration in both the United States and Mexico.

Vatican responds to Trump's charge

Even before the Pope arrived in Mexico, GOP front-runner Donald Trump called Francis a "very political person" and suggested he was a tool of the Mexican government.
The Vatican shrugged off the latter charge but pleaded guilty to the former.
"The Pope, with his moral and spiritual ministry, may have a political impact. That is clear to the whole world by now, " Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Tuesday night when asked about Trump's accusations.
Look at Francis' role in encouraging renewed relations between the United States and Cuba, for example, the spokesman said, adding that the Pope has also encouraged Europeans to care for the refugees at their borders.
Bishop Daniel Flores, who has been traveling with Francis during his five-day trip in Mexico, said the central themes of the Pope's sermon and papacy are the same: a call to conversion. "No one is exempt from this; it is addressed to everyone: government leaders, politicians, bishops, clergy, young people, families, prisoners, business leaders."
It is unclear, though, whether American Catholics or politicians will heed the Pope's call. GOP candidates Marco Rubio and George Bush, who are Catholic, have openly disagreed with Francis on the environment and may be anxious to align themselves as well with his stance on immigration.
Meanwhile, half of Catholics in the United States say they agree with Francis on immigration, according to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute. But a majority of conservative Catholics (54%) say that Trump, whose signature issue is buttressing the border between the United States and Mexico, would make a "good or great" president, a Pew poll found.
Sister Normal Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, was one of thousands of Catholics who gathered in El Paso to watch the Pope bless the memorial and celebrate Mass in Juarez.
"I hope that every single politician takes note of this trip and thinks of it before they take action," Pimentel said. "I hope they consider the dignity of all people."

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