Pope Francis has revitalized the Catholic Church and earned the respect and admiration of most religious people around the world. His chosen name, Pope Francis, was selected to honor the patron saint of the poor and in just a few short months he has renewed the church’s support for the poor and impoverished.
He is the first Pope to become Time magazine’s Man of the Year in his first year as Pope, a truly remarkable achievement. He immediately demonstrated his humble values when he paid for his hotel room himself. He then declared his healing mission for the poor, and even hugged a grossly deformed, chronically ill man.
“In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church…How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” He then belittles capitalism’s excesses, confirming, “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth” will follow. “This opinion…has never been confirmed by the facts.”
He says the church must work “to eliminate the structural causes of poverty” and that “the rich must help, respect and promote the poor.” Imagine a world religious leader speaking out for fairness, food and compassion for the poorest among us. Our conservative media immediately accused him of being anti-capitalistic and an advocate of wealth redistribution, despite the greed that has become so popular, particularly in the US.
“Who am I to judge?” … was his answer when asked about homosexuality by a reporter.” He then stated that if a gay person is “of good will and in search of God, I am not one to judge.” Pope Francis also supports immigrants as he recently gave gift bags to 1600 immigrants and included telephone cards so they could call back home.
“Francis has made society’s most vulnerable—the sick, the elderly, immigrants and children—the focus of his ministry.” Isn’t helping “the sick, the elderly, immigrants and children,” the essence of Obamacare? In addition, Medicare, Social Security and Head Start are all Democratic achievements and we are still working for full immigration reform.
Providing food stamps for the poor, a livable minimum wage, health care for all, acceptance of gays and immigrants are all core Democratic values and issues that Republicans vigorously oppose. So isn’t Pope Francis really a Democrat philosophically?
By Stephen H. Frye, M.D.