Pope Benedict flew to Brazil last week to address the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean.
On the airplane, he was asked by reporters what he thought about the Mexican Bishops and their threat of excommunication to politicians who voted to legalize abortion in the first three months of pregnancy in Mexico City.
The Pope said that the Bishops were doing nothing new, that they had the right to do what they did, and that they were merely reflecting what canon law says about such situations.
This did not sit well with a few American politicians who issued a statement
against the Pope. They specifically said:
“The fact is that religious sanction in the political arena directly conflicts with our fundamental beliefs about the role and responsibility of democratic representatives in a pluralistic America – it also clashes with freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution. Such notions offend the very nature of the American experiment and do a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done.”
In other words, "shut your mouth, Pope! How dare you interfere with our darling political process?"
The interesting thing about all of this is that Pope said nothing about America or the upcoming elections. But some people, particularly those who support abortion, are mostly unable to discern events except in relation to how they affect themselves and think that everything that is done is done directly to them, no matter what the circumstances or how obscure the reference.
In other words, a German Pope who has lived in Italy for the past 20+ years, flies to Brazil and talks to reporters about Mexican Bishops is accused of meddling in American politics.
The truth is that if he flew to Antarctica
and praised the penguins for their impressive efforts in saving the lives of their young, no doubt some irate American would demand that he cease his fear-mongering and interfering
with the American political scene.
In their obsession with themsleves, people miss out on what the Pope is really saying to the people as he did at the Vespers service
while in Brazil:
"Wherever God and his will are unknown, wherever faith in Jesus Christ and in his sacramental presence is lacking, the essential element for the solution of pressing social and political problems is also missing."
Yes, indeed. Pray that people actually turn to Christ so that the problems we face, whether political or social, may be fixed.