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The Pope is in Town

The following is taken from a column I wrote for the local Knights of Columbus Chapter.

Well, not exactly.  The Pope didn’t come to Tompkins County but he did come to Cuba, Washington, DC, New York City, and as I write this he is in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

From a U.S. perspective, a visit to Cuba by the Pope might have seemed impossible.  It was a communist regime but things are changing.  Surprised?  We shouldn’t be.  As a people of faith who acknowledge our sins, change is our hope.  We commit the same sins over and over but we keep confessing and praying for the grace to change and we can.

When Pope Francis arrived in the U.S., he was greeted as he got off the plane by President Obama.  When foreign leaders come to the U.S. it is common for them to meet with the President but few are greeted at the airport.  In DC, Pope Francis became the first Pope to address Congress.  In New York City, he addressed the United Nations.  Now, in Philadelphia he will address the World Meeting of Families.

The World Meeting of Families is a Catholic event and Pope Francis has been stressing the importance of family.  So, of course, he will speak there but why the U.N. and Congress?  I see two reasons for this.  The first lies in the fact that the Vatican is its own country and the Pope is the ruler.  So, when he addressed the U.N. he officially does it as a leader.  When he addressed Congress, he was introduced as the Pope of the Holy See, a strange title to us but perhaps appropriate.

The second reason the Pope spoke at the U.N. and Congress is the respect he has as a man of values and as a man of God.  Countless thousands came to see the Pope in America.  Our society is in moral decline but I think the fact that the Pope draws so many people and was invited to address the U.N. and Congress shows people long for something more.  So we have hope!

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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