Not being a member of the Catholic church, I am reluctant to offer an opinion as to what the Pope should be speaking about as he rubs shoulders with political movers and shakers in his current tour of the USA. My impression though is he is making a good impression and much of what he says needs to be said, especially sticking up for the poor and the oppressed. Given his status as a world leader with great influence, not just among the 1.2 million adherents to the Catholic church, that has to be a positive thing. I cannot think of any other religious leader today that can and does hold so much sway.
His opting to serve in a soup kitchen over dining with the rich and powerful has sent a strong message on where his priorities lie. It is interesting that he has weighed in with his views on a range of issues – pro life, which is more about social justice than just abortion, immigration and a fair deal for the poor (check here and here). But I was intrigued he has also tackled the thorny issue of climate change, urging upon the USA its responsibility to address the human factor i.e. that which gives rise to global warming (check here).
I have to confess that when it comes to issues I care about, climate change has tended to be low down on the list. Since engaging more recently with politicians of the Green variety, I have been made to re-think. I don’t have a definitive view but I do know we need to protect our planet. How we do this is the big question and the Pope of all people is asking it and urging suitable action on the part of this generation in order to safeguard the planet for the next, adding his valuable support on an issue that isn’t going to go away and demands an appropriate response by our world leaders.
The Sun newspaper, unsurprisingly, is not supportive of the Pope’s stand: “The Sun attacks Pope Francis for speaking about climate change … Pope Francis has no business banging on about climate change, according to the editorial of The Sun newspaper … A column in the daily red top accused the pontiff of being “irrelevant” on the issue … Francis has raised concerns about the welfare of the planet on several occasions and made an impassioned speech about the issue from the White House lawn on Wednesday”.
My view is the Pope has every business urging action providing he keeps to the facts and the actions are appropriate and non political, given his role is to declare the word of the Lord and the creation mandate, going back to the very first chapter in the Bible, is we must take care of the planet, something we are not doing well enough.