Pope Francis likely to discomfort politicians in US visit

Pope Francis is likely to touch on several topics that could well cause discomfort to US politicians when he speaks there later this year.

In September, the Pope will address a joint session of the US Congress and Senate, being the first Roman pontiff to do so.

What Francis might say on that occasion was previewed by Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga during a recent visit to Washington, DC.

The cardinal said he thinks “Congress will receive very well the advice [of the Pope] – even if there are some things that will not be comfortable”.

“Even the congress people can listen to other voices, to counsels, to advisers. It’s a human attitude that we have to develop,” he explained.

The Religion News Service reported the cardinal saying both he and the Pope are aware of the opposition Francis faces from many activists and pundits in the US.

Nonetheless, polls show that the Pope is enormously popular with Catholics and the wider public, and across the political spectrum.

One topic that Francis could well touch on is political partisanship among US Catholics.

“For many Catholics, first is the political party, then is the Church,” Cardinal Rodriguez said.

“I see this in some attitudes of citizens who are first Republicans or Democrats.

“Then comes Catholicism,” said the cardinal, who leads the Pope’s advisory council of cardinals.

“This is a big problem. Because we have to put everything in order.

“God is first, then all other human institutions.”

Francis is also likely to make some pointed comments about economic inequality.

“Capitalism is not a god. It is not a divinity,” Cardinal Rodriguez said.

“It is not a system that is perfect and does not need any modification.

“This system is fostering tremendous inequalities.”

The Pope will likely promote an economy that supports middle class families and the poor, the cardinal added.

Other topics Francis is likely to address include welcoming migrants, protecting the environment and promoting dialogue, rather than ideology.


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