There isn’t a reason in the world to let Pope Francis off the hook for his silence on Israeli ethnic cleansing in Gaza. But he’s been making some seasonal pronouncements worth nothing. No offense to the Pontiff, but we didn’t need him to speak ex cathedra to tell us there’s a place for pets in heaven. We knew that. It is a big improvement over St. Augustine who didn’t think there was a place for women. So with the Pope’s blessing you can now conduct rituals when you bury your beloved companions & are free to utter “May they RIP.” And you’re free to do the same for your mother.
The Pontiff is less impressive when rebuking those who equate Islam with violence. Turkey might not have been the best choice of venue for making his statement & it would have been good if he had just stopped there. Instead he went on to urge Muslim leaders to issue a “global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype.” They may want to consider that right after the Pontiff issues a belated global apology for the Inquisition.
Where our man did good is in his scheduled speech (Jan. 1st 2015) on modern slavery entitled “No Longer Slaves, But Brothers & Sisters.” Our heartfelt desire tempered by skepticism is that his speech will be more than abstract moralizing & will nail neoliberalism as the common denominator in human bondage. Naming names would be a starter. Abstractions let too many off the hook & are indistinguishable from Obama commiserations.
And lastly, Vatican officials met with US war-monger in chief, John Kerry to offer assistance in closing down Guantanamo. The offer will be declined but the willingness to apply moral pressure on the US is an admirable thing. Not ground-breaking, but admirable. The media report on the offer had this to say: “Obama came to power six years ago promising to close Guantanamo, but has been frustrated in his efforts by a combination of opposition from Congress & the difficulties involved in finding homes for prisoners who are often unwanted by their home states &/or suspected of involvement in terrorist actions, including the September 11, 2001, attacks in some cases.” When it comes to alibis, that’s a beauty. They can’t find homes for the prisoners so they continue to waterboard, anally rape, terrorize & humiliate, & threaten to take out their families.
If it’s just a case of finding refuge, there are millions of decent people around the world who would welcome them into their homes; there are actually governments who would provide sanctuary.
So nice job, Pope Francis on Guantanamo. We await your solidarity with Palestinians.
(Photo of Pope Francis from Huffington Post)