Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pope Francis's Visit

Pope Francis’s Visit

          The historic visit of Pope Francis to the United States just ended.  For me, as a teacher in a Catholic school, it was very exciting.  We did all sorts of preparations, and being in a Catholic school in California, the canonization of Father Junipero Serra was particularly special.  In general, it was a time of celebration for American Catholics.

          But, of course, there were those who saw the pope’s visit as a political opportunity.  Facebook was saturated with memes showing the pope and including some quote undermining the Church, which of course the holy father never said.  Sadly, these things are “shared” ad nauseum, even after they have been debunked.  On the other side, some people criticized everything the man did, as if he were a politician rather than a shepherd of souls.

          I’ll admit that I would have liked to see a more explicit condemnation of abortion in his address to Congress, especially when the funding of Planned Parenthood is such a hot topic.  But the pope’s pro-life credentials are unquestioned; who am I to critique his judgment on what needed to be said?

          His speech to the United Nations was extremely powerful, and beautiful.  Throughout his visit, the holy father stressed the importance of religious liberty, and raised issues that challenged politicians on both the right and the left.

          What I would really recommend is reading the interview he gave as he flew back to Rome.  This gave his impression of the visit, and I think provided a clear window into his heart.  Especially for Catholics with any concerns about the holy father’s visit, this interview will leave you impressed and hopeful.