I’m among the hundreds of thousands on Philadelphia’s JFK Parkway near Logan Circle, watching on a jumbotron as pope Francis, at Philly’s Independence Hall—standing at the very same lecturn as Abe Lincoln used to make the Gettysburg Address—addresses the millions of Americans watching in person and at home on TV.
To paraphrase his speech, I think Francis just said to Donald Trump and all the idiots who follow him: SUCK IT! The theme is immigration and religious freedom, and Francis is very succinctly rebuking the current Trumpesque sentiment of vile immigrant bashing. It’s a nice speech. You have to know Spanish to follow in real time as the English subtitles are minutes behind Francis, which has the non-Hispanic folk scratching their heads while all the Spanish speakers in the crowd, tens, hell, maybe hundreds of thousands of of them, are wildly clapping and screaming joyfully. Sarah Palin is probably pissed he was’t speaking American. I’ve clapped loudly at several of his main points.
My take on this pope:
The man has tremendous charisma and a quiet, beautiful manner that made many around me turn to tears as he spoke. A hispanic woman near me shouted in Spanish, “He’s so CUTE!” He seems genuine and not much of a political actor, moreover he wisely avoided making any radical statements that would set off the American right wing. I came to this not knowing anything about Francis and left thinking he’s a great man who says some beautiful things, inspiring things, though I am not a member of his religion nor do I particularly agree with much of its doctrine. But his words were powerful and moving. If, of course, you understand Spanish, and I do understand enough to have gotten the gist of what he said.
Francis is a pinko socialist like me on many social issues, not against capitalism as much as for a more regulated form that lessens the wide gap between rich and poor. His call for noblesse oblige, in other words the well-to-do among us reaching out to the poor and helping them, was inspiring. Then he called out specifically to Hispanics: Do not be afraid to assert your language and culture! THAT was inspiring, and all the Hispanics around me were crying out his name, or “Si, Papa!” There was a massive flood of Latino tears in Philly today.
I think he’s a good man leading a church that may not agree with his left-leaning ideals; there are too many who don’t agree with Francis in the halls of the Vatican and certainly the more right-leaning Catholic USA. While he won’t change the conservative orthodoxy and doctrine of the church he leads (you know, like the fact women are still second-class members of a church ruled by old, celibate men), I do think he’s making lots of people think, including skeptical me, the pinko socialist side of me, that is; on religion I remain steadfastly atheist, the very core of my intellectual belief system and something that will not budge, ever.
Francis does stand for peace, freedom, saving the environment, and equality, with the exception of the equality of women within his own male-dominated church. Most of my life, with usual bevy of priests, bishops, cardinals, and previous popes, I’ve largely ignored their fairly repugnant social views, and have been horrified by their treatment of women, plus I completely tuned out their religious dogma; after all, I quit being a Catholic long ago because, simply, I didn’t believe any of it, especially the part about there being a god.
This pope at least has me listening to his more enlightened social views with which I heartily agree. Now if he can show the same enlightened thinking with how his church treats women. THAT would be monumental.