Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Pope/Obama: Control/Chaos

What would that clichéd anthropologist from another planet make of the doings on ours this week?

One gaggle of aging men selects an infallible leader for multitudes while another hobbles the choice of millions into political impotence.

As Barack Obama expresses hope that new Pontiff will have “a tremendous and positive impact on the world,” he admits discouragement about reaching agreement with Tea Party Republicans on anything for the American future.

Are complete control or chaos the only two choices for social organization in this century? Are an all-powerful Pope and an intractable John Boehner the only alternatives in this complex technological world?

Even under all its strictures, the Catholic Church shows more signs of evolving than the GOP. The new Pope chooses a name inspired by a saint synonymous with love and concern for the poor while Boehner rants at Obama for not acceding to his protections for the rich and powerful.

For those not blessed with devout religious faith or absolute political beliefs, this is not a time for trusting that doubt and reason will lead to human progress, but the new Pope’s humility is more encouraging than anything in our new world.

As Joe Biden prepares to attend the installation in Rome, we are reminded of what he said in debate with fellow Catholic Paul Ryan last year:

“My religion defines who I am. Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s position. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians, and Muslims, and Jews.”

Tell that to Boehner and his true believers.

Update: To confirm his priorities, Boehner, who is Catholic, turns down an Obama invitation to join the delegation attending the Pope’s installation. Too busy with spiritual matters on Capitol Hill, no doubt.

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