First off - I am not a Catholic and never have been. Raised Mormon, I consider myself a staunch (non-proselytizing) atheist these days. But I watched some of the Homily from the new leader of the Roman Catholic church and found myself hopeful that it may signal a change in the way that powerful institution advocates for change in the world. And what kind of change it advocates for. Through the orange-ly gate for my thoughts.
Here is the draft of his homily:
First, the choice of Francis is a very good sign. A Saint who is known for his devotion to the poor, personally and voluntarily poor, and one who is famous for his concern with animals and nature.
Here are a few choice quotes.
The vocation of being a "protector", however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God's creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God's gifts!Tough for anyone to use that passage to justify gutting air and water regulations.
Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be "protectors" of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be "protectors", we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!
Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus' three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross.Feed my lambs. Is that clear enough? Let us help the hungry. I may not be Catholic but I can support that mission.
I am very interested to hear your thoughts, any comments I make will have to come after I get home from work. Here is to faith in a powerful institution using that power in the service of humanity and the Earth.