I am not a Catholic in the Holy Roman Church sense, and indeed have long had a distrust of organized religion because of its historic role in perpetration of and tolerance for violence—the infamous bloody Crusades not being the only such example in the annals of the Catholic Church.
I have been wanting for some time to write a post on the remarkable new leader of the Catholic Church—Pope Francis I. As another Easter approaches—a holiday celebrated by millions around the world, Catholic and otherwise—I find myself longing to hear that people are really listening to his messages of peace and social justice.
Here are just a few excerpts from his recent APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION, “to the bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful on the proclamation of the gospel in today’s world”
*Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality….
*Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode.
These messages are catholic in the sense of “universal’ and “wide-ranging” and what a miracle it would be if they could spark a renewed commitment to the sense of brotherhood, and sisterhood that are essential to peace and social justice.