Usually I skip over stories that have to do with the Pope, but I’ve been reading more of them since Francis took the rather large yarmulke a few years ago because he seems to get the part about treating people like humans. He still has work to do with women and the Rohingya, but his proposed new change to the Lord’s Prayer (which I have as a 45 rock version from 1973) comes at a most perfect time.
Temptation seems to be all the rage these days and I have to agree with Francis that the problem is not with a deity leading us there, but with us as functioning people resisting the lure. And we do have problems with that.
From national and state politicians, media moguls, entertainers, business executives and, yes, the President of the United States, men have been tempted to use their power and influence to harass, rape, threaten, bully and terrorize both women and men for…what? Sex? Influence? Power? Babies? There’s a pathology here because rolling the dice and hoping you don’t get caught must be part of the demonic thrill involved in the chase. And sometimes, even an apology does not substitute for tears.
But there are other temptations that are weakening us too. The Republican Party, tempted by power, is shutting out any reasonable attempt at bipartisanship on health care and taxes, and I imagine that they’ll extend their terrible ideas to infrastructure, government spending and immigration.
The Democratic Party is similarly tempted by the thought of overreaching in their opposition to the president by becoming, at times, irrational baying wolves, calling for impeachment or overturning the election results. Neither of these will lead to the path to power, nor do I believe that they will become a force that compromises or ends the partisan war being fought throughout this country.
For all of this, I am not a religious person, but occasionally religious leaders do tap into the zeitgeist, intentionally or not. We could all use a little humility, and if it won’t come from the president or his inner circle of sycophants, then it must come from us because only the American people can put an end to a tolerance of lies, misdeeds and obstinate behavior.
Pope Francis did not mention Donald Trump, but as the new U.S “President” was being sworn in, the Pope made some interesting statement to a Spanish newspaper, El Paris. Pope Francis warned that “crises provoke fears and worries,” among people, and added that Germans “elected” Adolf Hitler to lead and fix Germany because he was the one telling them, “I can do it.”
In an hour-long interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais conducted as Donald Trump was being sworn in as US president, the pontiff also condemned the idea of using walls and barbed wire to keep out foreigners, among them refugees and migrants. “Of course crises provoke fears and worries,” he said, but added that for him “the example of populism in the European sense of the word is Germany in 1933”.
The pope added: “Germany … was looking for a leader, someone who would give her back her identity and there was a little man named Adolf Hitler who said ‘I can do it’.” “Hitler did not steal power,” the pope said. “He was elected by his people and then he destroyed his people.” The Germans at that time also wanted to protect themselves with “walls and barbed wire so that others cannot take away their identity”, he said.
“The case of Germany is classic,” he said, adding that Hitler gave them a “deformed identity and we know what it produced.”