A paunchy old man in a white frock and beanie (aka Pope Francis), who happens to preside over an obscenely wealthy institution (the Catholic Church) riddled with practicing child molesters, flies to the world’s first secular republic and receives not torrents of abuse and cries for impeachment, but a reception befitting a head of state (which he is, thanks only to the fascist government of Mussolini and the Lateran Treaty).
During his visit, said frocked and beanied pontiff utters soothing verbiage about tolerance and rights and the need to welcome refugees, yet the Vatican itself has taken in a total of one Syrian family (and a Christian one, of course). Aware of mounting criticism to his organization’s penchant for aiding, abetting and sheltering child molesters, he nevertheless lauds his bishops for their courage, “self-criticism” and “great sacrifice” in having to deal with their proliferating child abuse cases, thereby outraging their victims. (This, just after it emerged that Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham, in sworn testimony delivered in a federal court, has de facto blamed such victims for their own molestation.) Speaking before a joint session of Congress, the pontiff then proffers insipid banalities and gets standing ovations, and has the gall to preach about the welfare of children.
Or you can see it this way:
Papa Francesco had dropped in down the street at Our Lady Queen of Angels, looking more relaxed and happy than he had been all week. The kids outside the school sang to him, switching up the lyrics to "When The Saints Come Marching In" to "When The Pope Comes Marching In." Inside the school, an eight-year old named Kayla Osborne, now more famous than she was on Thursday, gave the pope a short tutorial on how to use a touch-screen display in the classroom. He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself.The internet is a big place. And maybe one way to think about it is, it lets you see where the lunatics are, and what they are up to. Sort of like the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"This is so exciting," said Anna Ortiz. "The pope is on my block!"
The visit to East Harlem was a clear and striking demonstration that Papa Francesco has brought both of the elements of his startling papacy to this country. In formal settings, before Congress and before the United Nations General Assembly, he is formal, yet pastoral. When he visits a school, or a homeless shelter in Washington D.C., he is pastoral without being formal. When he gives the schoolchildren a "homework assignment"—"Please pray for me"—he does so in a different tone than when he makes the same request of his audience at a mass in Madison Square Garden, but the appeal is still the same, the connection is identical.
Makes you wonder, though, how the people at SPLC put up with it.....