As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Pope Gives Sustenance to Dems and Mods

Pope Francis injected the papacy directly into U.S. politics on Thursday, cautioning Americans against being “fearful” of foreigners and implicitly questioning the values of those who want to limit immigration.

Since Donald Trump entered the Republican presidential race in June vowing to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, the immigration issue has roiled the campaign. It has divided the GOP between those who would accommodate the influx and others, like Trump, who support stopping it in its tracks and sending illegal immigrants home. And it has provided Democrats with a cudgel with which to whack Republicans as intolerant and even racist.

Francis, who appeared before a joint meeting of Congress, cast immigration and many of the other issues on which he sided with moderates and the Left in moral terms, giving conservative opponents — whether Democrats or some Republicans running for president — a heightened platform from which to condemn the policies of the right.

“Grateful for the inspiring words of @pontifex,” tweeted GOP candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. “People of good will must work together to advance the common good.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the pontiff’s remarks “extraordinary,” saying Thursday was a “Day of profound joy.”

Pope Pelosi

Socialist Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont tweeted out his joy: “He forces us to address some of the major issues facing humanity such as war, income and wealth inequality, poverty, unemployment and greed.”

Francis held nothing back on immigration, associating those who hope to limit immigration with the ignoble actions of earlier generations who have inflicted violence and other “sins” against the newly arrived.

“Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected,” he said. “Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our neighbors and everything around us.”

The opposition to massive immigration, he suggested was based on “fear,” and we need not concern ourselves with the hordes that are entering.

“We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners,” he said. “We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.”

As expected, the pope warmed Democrats’ hearts by pressing U.S. action on global warming, adding a moral imperative to the plea by linking it to care for the poor.

“In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity,” Francis said. “Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”

The pope mostly kept away from the hot-button issue of abortion. Conservatives on Capitol Hill are on the cusp of initiating a government shutdown over government funding for Planned Parenthood.

Francis used the sanctity of life argument instead to make a much more explicit case rapping the United States for allowing the death penalty, which he, like many Democrats, wants abolished.

“The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development,” the pope said in a partial allusion to abortion. But he then made the reference apply explicitly to abolishing death penalty.

“This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty,” he said. “I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes.”

GOP presidential hopeful Texas Sen. Ted Cruz rebutted the pontiff.

“I believe the death penalty is a recognition of the preciousness of human life, that for the most egregious crimes, the ultimate punishment should apply,” he said.

While the pope’s remarks generally tilted left — sometimes emphatically so — when he turned toward his concern for the traditional family, it was Democrats, and not Republicans, who could be seen sitting on their hands.

“How essential the family has been to the building of this country!” he said. “And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without.”

And he put in a word for business, even while warning that politics must not be a “slave” to finance.

“Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world,” he said. “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.”

A version of this story first appeared in PoliZette, which I also edit.

24 Responses to Pope Gives Sustenance to Dems and Mods

  1. Regarding the Pope’s immigration statements: How many refugees has the Vatican accepted? One family? Sorry, but that’s pretty anemic.

    With all due respect, the Pope isn’t paying the bill for illegal immigration. He isn’t permitted “representation without taxation” in my opinion. Neither should anybody be permitted.

    We have too many people influencing decisions that don’t have to pay for them.

    • I have a dear friend in Argentina who can’t understand why we let “that idiot” Trump near a microphone to talk about illegal immigration and deportation. To him, it’s all about people, not money. Of course, he’s wealthy way beyond my dreams and not paying for any of it. But he is so convinced that his is the only way to think about the issue. I am really tired of being labeled racist because I disagree with Obama, sexist because I disagree with Clinton, an idiot because I agree with some of Trump. What’s next? Ageist because I don’t agree with Bernie?

  2. Before this visit, all I’ve heard is how irrelevant the Pope (& the Catholic Church) has become – how secular America has become.
    Now, his remarks are carrying tremendous weight?

  3. Still waiting…..I have not heard Pope Frances say at the end of any of his addresses…”God Bless America”… But maybe it should be…”America Bless God” There was in history only one divine visitor. There will be not another..The book is closed.

  4. It makes me sick that the abortion supporting, “great Catholic”, bitch Pelosi finally got her picture with the Pope.

    IIRC Benedict didn’t fall for her BS. He wouldn’t take a picture with her.

    I left the Church because of hypocrites like her. I couldn’t stand to be in the same room with them.

  5. Maybe after the Pope tears down that great wall surrounding Vatican City and changes their immigration policy what he says may mean something.

  6. I could be wrong but I think he is speaking at the UN. The UN that we support and who should be handling this “humanitarian crisis”. Although this would be a good time for him to speak out against the atrocities against Christians in the ME, I suspect he will not.

    • I am mixed on the Syrian refugee problem and wish we could throw money at it — in the Middle East–for big shelter programs, feeding programs…not shantytowns…but the pope was on the wrong track, I thought when he chided us for being afraid of foreigners, not being charitable–good grief, some foreigners killed a bunch of us and others are asking for quite a few services. Also, he seemed to show more empathy with awful, cruel prisoners on death row than for unborn babies.

  7. Bernie Sanders Fights to Raise Starvation Minimum Wage to $15!

    “There is no justice in America when the largest low-wage employer is not McDonald’s, it is not Burger King, it is not Walmart. It is the United States government,”Sanders said, he voiced support for a $15 minimum wage for federal contract workers. “There is no justice when millions of people throughout our country, including people working in the United States Senate, are working for wages that are too little to take care of their kids, to take care of their family. That’s wrong, that has got to change,” Sanders said.

    Watch Bernie Sanders on YouTube:

  8. Bernie Sanders Echoes Pope Francis on Climate Change, Poverty, Inequality!

    “Pope Francis is not just asking us to alleviate poverty and move toward a more equitable distribution of wealth and income. Nor is he simply requesting that we act boldly to combat climate change and save the planet. He is asking us to create a new form of society where the economy works for all, and not just the wealthy and the powerful. He is asking us to become a different kind of person, where our happiness and well-being comes from serving others and being part of the human community – not by spending our lives accumulating more and more wealth and power while oppressing others.”

    “He has a very, very progressive agenda,” Sanders said. “He is looking in the eyes of the wealthiest people in this country … and he is saying, ‘You know what? You cannot continue to ignore the needs of the poor, you cannot continue to ignore the needs of the sick.’ And he is also saying trickle-down economic theory … really doesn’t work. That government itself is obliged to protect those who are vulnerable, and that is a message, I have to be honest, that my Republican colleagues do not want to hear,” Sanders said.

    Watch Bernie Sanders Talk About Pope Francis on YouTube

    • He is asking us to become a different kind of person, where our happiness and well-being comes from serving others and being part of the human community – not by spending our lives accumulating more and more wealth and power while oppressing others.”

      Once again–this is a straw man. “We” cannot be “one kind” of person. Plenty of people accumulate wealth and serve others with it–Bill and Melinda Gates come to mind. Just having money does not make you an exploiter. I despise this kind of “wrong” thinking–it is so seductive and so incorrect.

  9. Bernie Sanders: America Must Have A Political Revolution!

    CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asks presidential candidate Bernie Sanders if he is surprised he is leading in Iowa and New Hampshire. Sanders said, “We are doing well because of the issues we are talking about. Something is wrong in this country when the middle-class continues to disappear, almost all new income and wealth goes to the top 1%; when millions of families cannot afford to send their kids to college. We need a political revolution that says that the billionaire class can’t have it all, that we need a Congress and a government that represents all of us and not just large campaign contributors. That is what is resonating with the American people,” Sanders said.

    Watch the entire CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer on YouTube: