Pope Francis offers diplomatic meld of faith, politics

(AP)

I’ve been reading through the speech by Pope Francis, looking for a passage or two that particularly struck home, but choosing among them has proved difficult. Overall, I was struck by the sense of humility that Francis demonstrated. The wisdom that he offered in his speech was offered on its own merits, to be accepted or rejected on those merits. He did not try to cloak it as the word of God and did not suggest that to think otherwise would be unChristian or unCatholic. In that sense, he offered an important model in how faith can respectfully inform political discussion.

He was eloquent on the plight of the immigrant and the refugee, and also on the dangers of religious friction and extremism. “We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism,” he told Congress. “…. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.”

He also spoke plainly about the need to address poverty, while also noting that “the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise” must play a crucial role. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world,” he said in words that must have confusing to some. “It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.”

However, the part that I found most interesting was his praise of dialogue:

“I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. It is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces.”

Pope Francis shakes hands with Fidel Castro.

Pope Francis shakes hands with Fidel Castro (AP).

On its face, that would seem to be obvious praise for the reopening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, where Francis visited just before coming to Washington. In fact, the Vatican played an important behind-the-scenes role in brokering that deal, a fact that continues to anger anti-Castro conservatives. But the pope’s embrace of dialogue applies equally well to the successful negotiations that ended Iran’s nuclear-weapons program without resort to force. And it stands in stark contrast to the overall approach to foreign policy laid out by Republican presidential candidates.

During last week’s CNN debate, for example, Scott Walker demanded cancellation of the upcoming state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Carly Fiorina jumped in to say that she would take a similar approach to Russia. “Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn’t talk to him at all,” she said. “We’ve talked way too much to him.”

Marco Rubio has been highly critical of the decision to reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba, claiming that by agreeing to nation-to-nation talks, President Obama has brought “legitimacy to a state sponsor of terror,” and as far as I know the entire GOP field has joined Rubio in that position. Likewise, Republicans were pretty much unanimous in condemning Obama’s decision to open negotiations with Iran a couple of years ago. Long before they had any idea how those negotiations would turn out, they were stridently opposed to the mere idea of discussions.

Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, second from right, and U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan, second from left, shake hands outside the Hofdi at the start of a series of talks, Saturday, Oct. 11, 1986, Reykjavik, Iceland. The other men are unidentified. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, right, and U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan shake hands at the start of a series of talks in 1986 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (AP)

All of those positions share a common premise: To talk with an enemy is an act of weakness, even cowardice, while a refusal to talk or compromise is a bold demonstration of strength.  Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush — they didn’t approach the world that way, but something has changed. I don’t think it’s a stretch to point out that we can find that same mindset applied here at home as well, in our own domestic political debates. As Francis wisely pointed out, that kind of approach is born of “the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners.”

If we allow ourselves to see the world that way, we will always cast ourselves, our party, our faith and our nation in the category of the righteous, reducing our enemy to the role of evil with whom there can be no compromise. But the world is more complicated than that; we are all more complicated than that. And the thing that some fear most about dialogue is that it may force us to recognize that no, our opponent actually isn’t the pure embodiment of evil that we thought him to be. In fact, the most enlightening moment is often the moment in which we first glimpse the world through the eyes of the other side. It is also the most terrifying moment.

It gets back to Matthew 7:12, the single piece of scripture cited by Francis in his entire 34,000-word address: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Reader Comments 0

648 comments
countrybeforeparty
countrybeforeparty

“We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism,” he told Congress. “… seems like John is trying to distance himself from the "Conservative Extremism" the his party champions. 

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

The City of San Fran has driven the last gun store in the City out.  Fine, I'm sure they will prosper somewhere else.

Gotta love this liberal logic about the requirements placed on the shop by the City (videotaping all transactions and giving to the City):

“If High Bridge Arms is so scared of implementing such a practice, my first question would be, ‘What do you have to hide?,'" he said. "Why in the world aren't we requiring all gun stores to tape sales at this point?”

The old "What do they have to hide?" argument, so disdained by liberals in other times.

To paraphrase Edna St Vincent Millay:  It's not freedom's going that pains my days, but that it went in such little ways."

TBS
TBS

Breck

That was weak

Dead conservative?

Really

says more about you than the social cons

Kamchak
Kamchak

Kevin McCarthy likely top contender for speaker: lawmaker

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the likely leading contender to replace outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, Republican Representative Peter King told Reuters on Friday following Boehner’s resignation announcement.

King made his remarks after leaving the closed door meeting at which he said Boehner surprised the entire rank and file, including McCarthy, with his announcement.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Kamchak That's like saying Romney was the front-runner back in 2013 for the 2016 race.  Miles still to go.

Dusty2
Dusty2

Let Democrats celebrate, Betty.  The will need to remember all the fun they had when the presidential election slams them into the darkness of defeat.  OH the tears!  

TBS
TBS

Didn't you say something similar about Romney?

Don't forget McCain

Yes ...,, oh the tears

Bwhahahhaha

breckenridge
breckenridge

@Dusty2 

Like I always say Dusty: the only good social conservative is a dead social conservative.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Dusty2 Already the celebrations have begun, again from those with whom Boehner shared an ideology and a party. “(President Obama) has run circles around us since John Boehner was speaker of the House,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), told the Washington Post after the news broke. “I think it’s a victory for the American people.”

From Jay... SHEETZ!

breckenridge
breckenridge

Sounds to me like Dusty is ready to renounce Social Security and Medicare benefits. Free stuff for moochers don't you know.



breckenridge
breckenridge

Yeah well these so-called good Christians in the US House, I'd imagine everyone of them have 3 or 4 mistresses that have had 3 or 4 abortions apiece.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@~moonbat_betty~ Well, there's that Club For Baby Seals lobbyist group they all want to sign a pledge to.  Baby seals beware!

Kamchak
Kamchak

WATCH: Conservative Values Voter crowd goes bonkers when they learn Boehner is resigning

Religious conservatives broke into a rowdy and prolonged cheer when they learned House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would resign from Congress.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced the news Friday morning during the Values Voter Summit — and the crowd enthusiastically greeted the news.

How can it be that we sent a Republican majority to Congress, and yet they’re still not able to stop our country from sliding in the wrong direction?” Rubio said.

“We’ll see how things progress,” Rubio added. “Just a few minutes ago, Speaker Boehner announced that he will be resigning.”

A cheer immediately went up, and the crowd screamed and clapped for a full 30 seconds, before the Republican presidential candidate began speaking again.

Seems I just read some puerile drivel that Dems were rejoicing over Boehner's resignation.

Must've been coming from the barnyard....

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Kamchak Truthiness has always been a hallmark of Dusty's postings.  No reason to take it seriously.

TBS
TBS

In Dusty's quest to be fair and balanced she must have missed that

Otherwise she would have mentioned it

/sarc

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Good riddance to Boehner. One of the worst, most ineffectual speakers in our history. He will not be missed.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Eye wonder Define "effective" given the make-up of the Republican caucus.

foo2u
foo2u

If only he had the ineffectual buns of some of our esteemed wingnut posters...

Derp...

honested
honested

@Eye wonder 

In all fairness, it is difficult to manage a passel of kindergarten wannabes armed with bags of rocks.

lvg
lvg

Boehner just resigned! 

Which of the hayseed conservatives from Georgia are going to try and take his place?

TBS
TBS

Said here by no one but moonbat

Next

TBS
TBS

Boehner was a glass away from polishing off a bottle of wine and this song came on the radio

He teared up and realized his time in the limelight was coming to an end

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xtolv9kM1qk

But he saw the light and that's what matters

Amen

Dusty2
Dusty2

Honested


Democrats don't bother reading the Constitution very often.  They still think they are the only party in the USA and every body else should  keep quiet.


And someone mentioned my preference for Jeb Bush as president.  Yes, indeed.  I think a fine, responsible man in the White House would give us a stable feeling we  haven't had in a longggggg time.  No more giveaway I'm so great and watch me work miracles  in the White House while the country goes broke. .  We need a fine, sensible man to lead us .


We have really missed that with a Chicago Democrat who thinks he is invincible.  . 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Dusty2 "They still think they are the only party in the USA "

If the Republicans had common sense and could be a viable choice for moderates, then they can be a party of the people again. 

As it is, they are fighting against women (Planned Parenthood attempt to defund.)

They are fighting against minorities (see immigration debate.)

They are fighting the young (see their stance on gay marriage.)


All of these groups make up a vast majority of people, and they keep growing.  One of these days, the Republicans will have to stop fighting these groups and join the 21st century. 

TBS
TBS

Bwhahahaha

Thanks for the morning comedy

honested
honested

@Dusty2 

This is America.

I recognize you are free to believe whatever artificial, lunatic construction of reality you see fit.

foo2u
foo2u

Orwellian Unicornstitution? With skittles and all?

Dusty2
Dusty2

@honested @Dusty2


I only see what is in front of me without the magic moments Democrats conjure up. You better see an opthalmologist  for your blindness.  

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@Dusty2 such tripe so early in the morning . . . but all the right buzzzzzzzzzzz words. good job.

ByteMe
ByteMe

 Boehner also told the lawmakers that Pope Francis' visit to Congress the day before was a crystallizing moment, according to the lawmaker.

So there's that.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@barkingfrog Where a third of the caucus says to themselves: "Oh crap, now we can't b~tch about you in the media any more because you won't listen to our wacky ideas."

foo2u
foo2u

Told you those were tears of shame.

King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

The Pope's speech moved his heart and he cannot oppress the poor anymore. 

BTW anyone remember who Paul Ryan was? Did he resign too and we didn't hear about it? He is surely absent from my TV screen.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@King_of_Kolob He's still around, but finally figured out that he's better not trying to be the face of the Republican policies.

honested
honested

@ByteMe @King_of_Kolob 

Even back home.

As scott slowly disappears on the iceberg, Representative munster doesn't want to suffer the same fate.

TBS
TBS

Consumed

That is a good point

Didn't think about that

Thanks

honested
honested

@TBS 

Imagine, a republican speaker attending to the business of the United States in a manner that considers what is best for the Citizens of the United States.

A rare moment in history indeed!

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@TBS i was only thinking about the current shutdown threat. as far as future shutdowns, i guess that will depend on who gets the nod for the new speakership. In that case, i'm guessing 70, 85, 90% might not be that far fetched . . . but we'll have to see.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

From the quotes in the Boehner article: "Speaker Boehner believes that the first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution and, as we saw yesterday with the Holy Father, it is the one thing that unites and inspires us all," said a Boehner aide via email. "The Speaker believes putting members through prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution. He is proud of what this majority has accomplished, and his Speakership, but for the good of the Republican Conference and the institution, he will resign the Speakership and his seat in Congress"


So, it seems Boehner was touched by the Pope.  He was struggling in turmoil, and he has found a way of peace going forward. He sees all of these know-nothing tea partier types trying to oust him, and he says "sure, go see how hard it is to be the leader of whiny babies who can't actually do anything. Have fun! I know I sure will!" 


Well, that's how it looks to me anyway. 


BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

He wasn't touched. He seen how this played out before and he wants no part of it