Pope invites non-believers to join in effort for peace

December 25, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More

I’m ambivalent about Pope Francis. He believes many things I don’t, including non-physical sentient beings, virgin birth, life after death and many other things too numerous to list.

Today, however, he made another eyebrow raising statement, inviting non-believers to join the effort for peace, according to the NYT:

Francis has regularly attracted huge crowds in Vatican City, and almost overnight he has emerged as a major figure on the global stage, surprising many Catholics with his nonjudgmental tone on issues like homosexuality and divorce, and his focus on the plight of the world’s poor. He has also been unpredictable, telephoning ordinary people who have written him letters, embracing a badly disfigured man at St. Peter’s and making unannounced visits in Rome.

He proved unpredictable again on Wednesday, when he went off script to include atheists in his call for peace, rare for a Catholic leader.

“I invite even nonbelievers to desire peace,” he said. “Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace.”

What kind of person would mention non-believers without vilifying them? A half-decent person. Thus, the Pope’s neutral inclusion of atheists was quite a low bar, indeed. But he did hop over that bar. For a Pope, this statement was extraordinary, especially considered along with the many other reasonable statements by this Pope, including his refusal to obsess about abortion or homosexuality. Many of this Pope’s recent statements are shocking only in comparison with the many ludicrous, bigoted statements of his predecessors.

Consider also, this statement the Pope made on December 5, 2013:

In a speech that shocked many, the Pope claimed “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.”

I would summarize as follows: “One small step for a man. One giant leap for a Pope.”

May the new Pope continue to be decent, which must be extraordinarily difficult in such as wretchedly backward and corrupt place as the Vatican.

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Category: Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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