Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Confession

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat...
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.  In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school... The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Steven Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.  Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.  Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.  Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
By Steven Levy, recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.  Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted this CBS presenter to present this piece, as it applies just as much too many countries as it does to America. He only hopes we find God again before it is too late!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pope In WYD Message: Poverty Leads Us To True Happiness

 Vatican City, Feb 7, 2014 / 04:28 am (CNA/EWTN News). - In his message for the 29th World Youth Day, Pope Francis draws his theme from the beatitude on poverty, emphasizing that it teaches us joy, as well as the proper attitude to have towards those who are poor. “To be blessed means to be happy. Tell me: Do you really want to be happy?” the Pope asked in his Feb. 6 message for the 29th World Youth Day, which takes place this Palm Sunday, on April 13.
“In an age when we are constantly being enticed by vain and empty illusions of happiness, we risk settling for less and ‘thinking small’ when it come to the meaning of life. Think big instead! Open your hearts!” World Youth Day (WYD) is a gathering of youths from all over the world to meet with the Pope in order to build and strengthen the bonds of faith, friendship and hope, symbolizing the union between people of different cultures and countries.
This year’s theme, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:3),” is the first in a series of three that will focus on the Beatitudes, culminating in the international event to be held in Krakow, Poland in 2016. In his message to the youth, Pope Francis reflected on the revolutionary power of the Beatitudes, noting that in proclaiming them “Jesus asks us to follow him and to travel with him along the path of love, the path that alone leads to eternal life.” Highlighting how the Beatitudes are “new and revolutionary,” the Pope observed that “they present a model of happiness contrary to what is usually communicated by the media and by the prevailing wisdom” of our culture.
Warning the youth against the many forms “low cost” happiness that the world presents, the pontiff cautioned them not to “stuff themselves” with the wrong things, but to “swim against the tide” and to “say no to an ephemeral, superficial and throwaway culture.” Turning to the beatitude itself, the Pope explained that we can understand the meaning of being “poor in spirit” when Jesus “became man” and “chose the path of poverty and self-emptying.” Looking to the Greek roots of the expression, Pope Francis revealed that the Greek word for poor, “ptochós,” does not “have a purely material meaning,” but “suggests lowliness, a sense of one’s limitations and existential poverty.”
Recalling the life of St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope noted that he “understood perfectly the secret of the Beatitude of the poor in spirit.”  “When Jesus spoke to him through the leper and from the crucifix, Francis recognized both God’s grandeur and his own lowliness,” the pontiff observed, highlighting how he imitated “Christ in his poverty and in love for the poor,” adding that “for him the two were inextricably linked – like two sides of one coin.”  In order to make poverty real in our own lives, the Pope explained that we need to “try to be free with regard to material things,” to “experience conversion in the way we see the poor,” and to understand that “the poor are not just people to whom we can give something.”  “The Lord calls us to a Gospel lifestyle marked by sobriety, by a refusal to yield to the culture of consumerism,” he said, urging the youth to “put Jesus first” and to “be detached from possessiveness and from the idolatry of money and lavish spending.”
Pope Francis also encouraged the youth to care for the poor and to “be sensitive to their spiritual and material needs,” entrusting to them “the task of restoring solidarity to the heart of human culture.” Using the example of Saint Benedict Joseph Labré, who begged on the streets of Rome and gave spiritual advice to many, including “nobles and prelates,” the pontiff emphasized that the poor “have much to offer us and to teach us.” “They show us that people’s value is not measured by their possessions or how much money they have
in the bank. A poor person, a person lacking material possessions, always maintains his or her dignity.”
Moving to the second part of the beatitude, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” the Pope noted that “Jesus is the kingdom of God in person,” and although we have already seen the Kingdom of God through him, “it has yet to be realized in its fullness.”  He also highlighted that there is “a close connection between poverty and evangelization,” drawing attention to the passage in scripture where Jesus sends his out disciples, telling them to “take no gold, no silver,” and “not staff.”  “Evangelical poverty is a basic condition for spreading the kingdom of God,” the pontiff explained, adding, “the most beautiful and spontaneous expressions of joy which I have seen during my life were by poor people who had little to hold onto.” “Evangelization in our time will only take place as the result of contagious joy.”
Drawing attention to the Canticle of Mary, who was “poor in spirit,” the pontiff noted “The joy of the Gospel arises from a heart which, in its poverty, rejoices and marvels at the works of God, like the heart of Our Lady, whom all generations call ‘blessed.’”  The theme for next year’s WYD will focus on the beatitude “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8), and the international event in 2016 will conclude the reflection on the beatitudes by examining the meaning of “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7).

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pope Francis Baptises 32 Babies

Pope Francis today baptized the child of an unmarried couple during a ceremony in the Sistine Chapel, in Rome. The unnamed parents and their child took part in the traditional Baptism of the Lord mass with 31 others, commemorating the day St John baptized Jesus. The Pope has previously spoken out to encourage priests to baptize the children of unmarried women in order to pass on the Christian faith, calling those who refuse 'hypocrites'.
According to the Vatican Network, he said: 'You parents have the baby boy or girl to be baptized, but in a few years it will be they who will have a baby to be baptized or a grandchild... And so goes the chain of faith. 'What does this mean? I would just tell you this: you are the ones that transmit the faith, the transmitters; you have a duty to pass on the faith to these children. It’s the most beautiful legacy that you leave to them: the faith.'
Speaking in the relaxed manner that has become his trademark, Francis broke with the tradition of delivering a long and formal speech, instead reading a short script he had written himself.
The mass took place under the famous fresco painted by Michelangelo, the same room in which Francis was elected on March 13 as the first non-European pope in 1,600 years. In September the pontiff telephoned an Italian woman to tell her he would personally baptize her child after she became pregnant by a man who was already married. Shop worker Anna Romano, 35, was on holiday when she received the call from the Argentinian Pope. At the time she said: 'I addressed the letter simply to Pope Francis, the Vatican and put it in the post. I didn't even send it recorded delivery. I didn't really expect to get a reply but then out of the blue when I was on holiday I had a phone call from him. 'The number was from Rome, with a 06 dial code, and as soon as he started speaking I recognized the voice as his. 'I was just so surprised that he had telephoned me. He said that he had read my letter and he wanted to speak to me personally about it and reassure me that someone was worried about me.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Jar is Full

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’ The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. ‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life:

  • The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
  • The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
  • The sand is everything else—-the small stuff. ‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn. Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Friday, January 10, 2014

What Happens In Heaven When We Pray

I dreamed that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received."
I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world. Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section. The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.
Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section," my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.
"How is it that there is no work going on here?" I asked.
"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked.
"Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.
"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day. If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 700 million people in the world. If you can attend a church/synagogue without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are envied by and more blessed than three billion people in the world. If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm. You're unique to all those in doubt and despair."
"Okay.  What now? How can I start?”
“If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special, and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all. Have a good day. Count your blessings. And if you care to, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.”

Thursday, January 9, 2014


They told me the big black lab’s name was “Reggie” as I looked at Him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean and the people really friendly. I’d only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the street. But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn’t hurt. Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen Reggie’s advertisement on the local news. The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn’t look like “Lab people,” whatever that meant. They must’ve thought I did.
But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner. See, Reggie and I didn’t really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too. Maybe we were too much alike. For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls — he wouldn’t go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes. I guess I didn’t really think he’d need all his old stuff, that I’d get him new things once he settled in. but it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn’t going to.
I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like “sit” and “stay” and “come” and “heel,” and he’d follow them — when he felt like it. He never really seemed to listen when I called his name — sure, he’d look in my direction after the fourth or fifth time I said it, but then he’d just go back to doing whatever. When I’d ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey. This just wasn’t going to work. He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell. The friction got so bad that I couldn’t wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff. I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the “darn dog probably hid it on me.”
Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter’s number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter. I tossed the pad in Reggie’s direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I’d seen since bringing him home. But then I called, “Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I’ll give you a treat.” Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction — maybe “glared” is more accurate — and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down, with his back to me. Well, that’s not going to do it either, I thought. And I punched the shelter phone number. But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that, too. “Okay, Reggie,” I said out loud, “let’s see if your previous owner has any advice.”

To Whoever Gets My Dog:
Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie’s new owner. I’m not even happy writing it. If you’re reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. He knew something was different. I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time ... it’s like he knew something was wrong. And something is wrong which is why I have to go to try to make it right. So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you. First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier. Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hoards them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn’t done it yet? Doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll bound after so be careful — really don’t do it by any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.

Next, commands.
Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I’ll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones — “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.” He knows hand signals: “back” to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and “over” if you put your hand out right or left. “Shake” for shaking water off, and “paw” for a high-five. He does “down” when he feels like lying down — I bet you could work on that with him some more. He knows “ball” and “food” and “bone” and “treat” like nobody’s business. I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.

Feeding schedule:
Twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand. He’s up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they’ll make sure to send you reminders for when he’s due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car — I don’t know how he knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he knows.
Finally, give him some time. I’ve never been married, so it’s only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn’t bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially; which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new. And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you. His name’s not Reggie.
I don’t know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie. He’s a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt, but I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name. For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I’d never see him again. And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything’s fine. But if someone else is reading it, well... well it means that his new owner should know his real name, it will help you bond with him. Who knows, maybe you’ll even notice a change in his demeanor if he’s been giving you problems.
His real name is Tank, because that is what I drive. Again, if you’re reading this and you’re from the area, maybe my name has been on the news. I told the shelter that they couldn’t make “Reggie” available for adoption until they received word from my company commander. See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could’ve left Tank with, and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter, in the “event” to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he’d do it personally. And if you’re reading this, then he made good on his word.
Well, this letter is getting to downright depressing, even though, frankly, I’m just writing it for my dog. I couldn’t imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family; but still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me. That unconditional love from a dog is what I took with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things ... and to keep those terrible people from coming over here. If I had to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so. He was my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.
All right, that’s enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don’t think I’ll say another good-bye to Tank, though. I cried too much the first time. Maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth. Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight — every night — from me.
Thank you,
Paul Mallory
I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer. I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog. “Hey, Tank,” I said quietly. The dog’s head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright. “C’mere boy.” He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted; searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months. “Tank,” I whispered. His tail swished. I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him. “It’s me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me.” Tank reached up and licked my cheek. “So what daya say we play some ball?” His ears perked again. “Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?” Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room. And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Papal Shot at Unbridled Capitalism Stirs Debate

Pope Francis’ critique of unbridled capitalism and trickle-down economics as a “new tyranny” rattled some Republicans across the country. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called the Pope’s comments “pure Marxism.”  But in the conservative and heavily Catholic region of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, both Republicans and Democrats didn’t think the Pope was referring to them when he criticized capitalism. They didn’t see the Pope’s economic views as a direct attack on the American economy – or their politics. Local leaders said they look to the Pope for spiritual, not economic, guidance.
“I don’t dwell on what the Pope has to say about economics,” said Kentucky State Sen. John Schickel, a Catholic and a Republican from Union. “I’m more mindful of what the Pope has to say about faith and morals.” About 10 paragraphs in Francis’ 50,000-word apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) released in December focused on Francis’ economic views and have spurred the debate among politicians. Francis’ economic views don’t stray from the teachings of earlier Popes, including John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, said Fr. James Bretzke, a Jesuit priest and professor of moral theology at Boston College, a private Jesuit college.
It’s the way he’s said it that makes it different, Bretzke said. “I think what the major difference with Pope Francis is, he’s much more popular than his two immediate predecessors and speaks in a way that’s less academic and not as convoluted,” Bretzke said. “This is what makes it difficult for the Republicans to dismiss his remarks.” The Pope’s popularity far outshines Congress and President Barack Obama, with 88 percent of Americans approving how Francis has led the church, according to a CNN/ORC International poll.
In Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Francis took aim at those who have defended trickle down economics. He wrote that the idea that free market capitalism leading to growth helps the poor “has never been confirmed by facts” and “expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” “Today, everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless,” Francis wrote. “As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”


Many don't think the Pope means the United States

Local politicians on both sides of the river downplayed Francis’ remarks on capitalism. “The media has trumped up his statements to sound like an indictment against capitalism,” said Ohio State Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township. “Part of the role of a spiritual adviser is to condemn excess when and where he sees them,” Seitz said. “Unbridled capitalism does not look to the common good. I don’t find a terrible objection in that, particularly given the context of where the Pope came from in Argentina and Chile.” Chile and Argentina have a higher income disparity than the United States, with Chile ranked with the 15th highest income disparity in the world, according to the CIA World Fact Book. Argentina ranks 36th and the U.S. 41st.
Many Republicans and tea party activists thought the Pope’s beef with capitalism didn’t involve the United States. “If he was attacking the quote unquote unbridled capitalism that we have today, we don’t have that today,” said Dan Ford, a tea party activist from Erlanger. “It is very much bridled.” Though Ford and others in the tea party movement want less regulation, they do see a need for controls to prevent monopolies and other abuses.
“If he was attacking the capitalism that said ‘Oh, complete greed is fine,’ and is saying that doesn’t work, well it doesn’t work,” Ford said. “I think we need some level of regulation, but not such that we have today. Like I said, it is very unclear what he was attacking.” Some see the Pope’s target as the super rich, not the middle class. Fourth District GOP Chairman Troy Sheldon said he thinks the Pope’s criticism refers to people like Democratic donor and philanthropist George Soros, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett.
“When he looks at them and the amount of wealth they’ve accumulated individually, what they have given back to society?” said Sheldon, a former Catholic who converted to the Baptist faith. “I think that, in his mind, is unbridled capitalism. Now someone like us who are working day-to-day and have an income and donate so much to charity, I think he’d be a very big proponent of that.”
Both Democrats and Republicans in the region didn’t feel the Pope’s message changed the political landscape. What the Pope said in Evangelii Gaudium is nothing new, said attorney Mark Guilfoyle, a Catholic and Northern Kentucky attorney involved in many Democratic causes. Pope Leo XIII said pretty much the same thing in his 1891 encyclical Rarum Novarum, he said. Guilfoyle, a Democrat, doesn’t see the Pope’s message as changing church teaching or having a big impact on the Catholic vote. “I would think any right-thinking Democrat or Republican would agree that unbridled greed is a sin and something that ought to be avoided,” Guilfoyle said. “That’s all he’s saying.”
The Pope’s comments will likely have some political impact for the GOP, Bretzke said. Based on the Pope’s guidance, conservative bishops will have a harder time urging Catholics to vote for a candidate solely because the candidate is against abortion or gay marriage, he said. Instead, Francis called on Catholics to take a more nuanced approach that includes economic policy when deciding who to vote for, he said.
“I think it’s going to be difficult for the Catholic congressman in my home state of Wisconsin, Paul Ryan, to claim that his (proposed) budget is in tune with Catholic social teaching,” Bretzke said. If the Pope’s teachings are followed, capitalism wouldn’t go away; it just means it would provide a just wage for workers, decent health insurance and access to good education, said Thomas Groome, a professor of theology at Boston College. “It is not that he opposes capitalism,” Groome said. “He wants a moral capitalism.” Schickel said he likes the new Pope and thinks he’s encouraging good debate. “It opens up a discussion, which I think is good,” Schickel said. “There are evils to materialism.”