Yesterday, in the Washington Post, I came across two important articles about popes – current and past.
This afternoon, Pope Francis will celebrate a mass almost literally against the fence which is the U.S. Mexico border. Crux offers this information about watching/participating in this historic Eucharistic celebration:
If you can’t make it to El Paso, but still want to participate, the Vatican TV livestream of the Mass will be available on Crux. Mass is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, with the prayer service coming shortly before that.
Above is a photo, taken from the U.S. side of the border showing the construction of the dias on which the papal altar will be placed. Here’s the altar near completion:
Entitled “Donald Trump is Right. Pope Francis’ Visit to the Border is Political”, Washington Post writer John Gehring quotes Francis himself:
“A good Catholic meddles in politics,” the pope has said, a pithy summation that reflects centuries of Catholic teaching that views the common good and human dignity as the ultimate aim of politics.
Gehring concludes the article:
But the pope’s presence is a stark reminder to politicians and presidential candidates — especially those who tout their Christian values and court religious voters — that immigrants and refugees are not, in his words, “pawns on the chessboard of humanity.” Demonizing immigrants, talking tough about higher walls and promising massive deportation stirs up a base of angry voters on the campaign trail…
In Mexico, Pope Francis reminds us once again that politics does matter because people’s lives are on the line.
Crux has an article with the succinct title: “Vatican to Trump: Don’t Lecture the Pope on Immigration.” which begins:
CIUDAD JUÁREZ/EL PASO – A Vatican spokesman took on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump Tuesday night, calling Trump’s criticism of Pope Francis over his pro-immigrant stance “very strange” and suggesting Trump could use a dose of global perspective.
The other Washington Post article entitled “John Paul II ‘secret letters’ reveal a connection to married woman he called ‘a gift from God.'” is similar to ones in Crux and National Catholic Reporter among many others.
There’s nothing salacious in this discovery for as the Post notes:
This week, however, an unexpected glimpse of the man beneath the white hat came from the BBC. In a new report, the network has shined a light on “secret letters” from John Paul II to a married woman that show an intense, if not necessarily inappropriate, friendship.
I see in these two articles the best that the Catholic church has to offer as these leaders of the Body of Christ are being human in deeply loving ways. Francis literally touches all of those whom Jesus himself touched. St. John Paul was intimate and loving through friendship. These men, like all of us, are commissioned in baptism to do as Christ did – love others as God loves us. As I strive to do this myself, especially in the season of Lent, I’m grateful to have these examples to guide and inspire me.