Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces Summarizes Pope Francis' Visit to the U.S.

In a piece published in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Blog "To Go Forth," Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces summarized Pope Francis' visit to the United States on Sept. 24-27. Bishop Cantú wrote the piece in his capacity as chair of the USCCB's Committee on International Justice and Peace. 

Here are  the themes that Bishop Cantú summarized in his post:

(To the U.S. Congress) “How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty!”...“Now is the time for…combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”

(To the U.N. General Assembly)“To enable … real men and women to escape from extreme poverty, we must allow them to be dignified agents of their own destiny.”....Developing nations should not be “subjected to oppressive lending systems which … generate greater poverty, exclusion, and dependence.”

(To the U.S. Congress): We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.”...“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.”...Immigrants “travel north in search of a better life…for their loved ones. Is this not what we want for our own children?”

The Environment
(To the U.S. Congress):“I call for a courageous and responsible effort to ‘redirect our steps’, and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity."...“I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play.”

(To the U.N. General Assembly): "A right of the environment’ does exist … because we human beings are part of the environment.”...“Any harm done to the environment … is harm done to humanity.”...“The poorest are those who suffer most … and suffer unjustly from the abuse of the environment.”...“The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species.”...“I am … confident that the Paris Conference on climatic change will secure fundamental and effective agreements.”


(To the U.S. Congress):Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering…? [S]imply for money: money that is drenched in blood….”“[I]t is our duty … to stop the arms trade.”

 (To the U.N. General Assembly):“There is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons….”He affirmed the P5+1 Agreement with Iran as “proof of the potential of political good will and of law, exercised with sincerity….”[S]top and … prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities’ and … protect innocent peoples.”...End “social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences: human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation…, slave labour, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism, and international organized crime.”...

In Summary
"In his speech to Congress, Pope Francis lifted up the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12)," said Bishop Cantú. "He noted that “[t]his Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. … In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. … The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.: In many ways, the Golden Rule sums up his approach to foreign policy and global concerns. “Do unto others.…”

Here are the texts of  Pope Francis' full speeches to Congress and the U.N. General Assembly

The USCCB site has links to several other speeches or homilies by Pope Francis in the U.S., including the one at Curran-Fromhold Penitentiary in Philadelphia. "I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother, to share your situation and to make it my own. I have come so that we can pray together and offer our God everything that causes us pain, but also everything that gives us hope, so that we can receive from him the power of the resurrection," the pontiff told the audience at the Philadelphia penitentiary.

Here is a video of his interaction with prisoners at the facility. 

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