I've been absent from these parts the past few days. In addition to my regular activity, I've been following the almost continuous coverage of Pope Francis's visit to America.
At first, I was annoyed by what promised to be wall to wall Pope coverage. But you know folks, the more I watched, the more I became at peace. This man, Pope Francis, is sending a different message than previous Popes or religious leaders. His message over and over is one of inclusion. Dignity and respect for even those of us who are on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
I'm getting a big kick out of watching how the Powers That Be try to keep taking the Pope away from contact with the Great Unwashed Masses, and keep him isolated for their exclusive use.
Yesterday, after his address to the joint session of Congress, did he have lunch with the Powers That Be? All the IMPORTANT people. Or rather, self-important people? No, he had lunch at a D.C. homeless shelter. Brave Pope Francis.
Over and over again Pope Francis exudes inclusiveness. To me, even though I'm not religious, the true tenants of the Christian faith. How novel in a religious leader, not to condemn but to practice inclusiveness. He even said yesterday while addressing the mass of people outside House Speaker John Boehner's balcony office at the Capitol building (and I paraphrase here):
"Those who believe, pray for me and those who do not believe wish me well."
Finally, something I can say when so many other are offering prayers for whatever malady has befallen them or their families. I've never felt comfortable saying "I'll pray for you" because I don't believe in prayer but I do believe in wishing people well.
Thank you Pope Francis, for being a true emissary of Christianity.