The Pope, The US and the Jubilee

The Pope, The US and the Jubilee

The Pope addressing the US Congress

Through the papal bull MISERICORDIAE VULTUS, Pope Francis recently announced a special Jubilee of mercy, which will begin December 8, 2015 until November 20, 2016.

September 29, 2015 | Rome, Italy | Andreas Mazza, CD EUDNEWS.

From September 19-28, Pope Bergoglio, Head of the Vatican State and Primate of the Catholic Church in the world, embarked on an 'apostolic' journey at first visiting Cuba, former Communist country, then the United States. 

Particularly noteworthy during the trip to Cuba was the meeting with former dictator Fidel Castro and the mass celebrated right under the giant image of the revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara.

Landed in Maryland, aboard an Alitalia flight, the Pope was greeted by President Barack Obama, his family and several members of the US government.

Before going to the White House, the Pope had a meeting with the US bishops, during which he addressed the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church in America, calling it "a wound that has weighed so much on the American church - a mistake never to be repeated."

At the White House, he spoke with President Barack Obama mostly regarding religious freedom and climate change.

"Here in the United States," said Obama, "we care about religious liberty. Yet all over the world right now, God's children, including Christians, are being targeted and even killed for their faith. Believers cannot attend places of worship. The faithful are imprisoned. The churches destroyed."  Then Obama expressed appreciation for Pope Francis' Green Encyclical.   "You remind us that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet, God's wonderful gift to us."

It left quite an impression hearing the US president call the Pope 'Holy Father', which is a title usually used by the faithful Catholics addressing the Pope.

Pope Francis was the first Pontiff to speak to the US Congress. It was a historic event. Greeted by a big round of applause, Francis addressed several issues from religious extremism, to the death penalty to the arms trade. While praising the US for being a land of freedom, the Pontiff strongly supported the abolition of the death penalty. Dr. Ben Carson, Adventist US presidential candidate, was also present.

Pope Bergoglio wanted to also give a message to the UN assembly. As a matter of fact, the Pope ended up asking for a UN reform. Then he focused on issues such as technology, drug trafficking, nuclear power, corruption and religious extremism.

Soon after he went to Ground Zero where, together with 12 other religious leaders, he prayed for the victims of September 11, "a place that is a symbol of death", he said, "can be transformed into a symbol of hope. "

The visit of the Pope in the US has been celebrated by newspapers and TV as the arrival of an all-time world star. The media has been almost totally involved in celebrating the visit, the words and the image of the Pontiff. Being a country essentially deep-seated in Protestantism and in refugees displaced partly because of European religious oppression of past centuries, the event cannot but arouse special attention and maybe even a little concern. Apart from the due hospitality and friendliness owed to a religious leader and head of state, the festive celebrations by the political class and the American media certainly seemed out of balance, beyond any institutional protocol.

The Pontiff's words can largely be accepted by any person that is Protestant, secular or even atheist. The reference to human dignity, religious freedom, respect for nature and a more equitable economy and solidarity can easily be endorsed by the majority of the world population.

Through the papal bull MISERICORDIAE VULTUS, Pope Francis recently announced a special Jubilee of mercy, which will begin December 8, 2015 until November 20, 2016. He said that the Jubilee will be dedicated to the mercy of Jesus Christ.

In the Bible, the Jubilee takes on social and global significance. The land goes back to God and is no longer exploited by man. In Leviticus 25, the Lord tells us that He will make sure the fruits of the land are free. The earth is a gift from God and is for everyone. It must therefore have a universal destination. 'All forms of exploitation by one man against another must cease'. The Year of Jubilee calls for forgiveness and introduces a celebration and feast of reconciliation. Finally, the Year of Jubilee calls for debt relief of the needy and oppressed.

Would it not be inappropriate to coincide promises and appeals of the Roman Pontiff with a social and global year of jubilee  - applying the measures dictated by the King of the Universe Himself? Would it not be right and proper for the Pope and all the powerful people in the world to heed the call made to them by the Most High God?

Would it not be appropriate to ask for a right consistency between words and deeds ?

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