Habemus papem. Well, the Catholics do, and he seems to be a great choice. Humble, down-to-earth, seemingly a really nice guy. However, as much as I would like to predict a successful pontificate, I can't. There's one thing about Francis I that's doomed to failure from the start, and I don't mean this in any way as a criticism of him personally. It's his message. "The new pontiff named himself after the humble Catholic friar St. Francis of Assisi. President Barack Obama hailed the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics as a 'champion of the poor.'" Yahoo news.
Rooting for the poor? This is definitely NOT the message for the House of Representatives these days. As a matter of fact, there is an ambivalent feeling among most of us that there must be something fundamentally wrong with poor because, after all, if I made it, why can't everyone else? If you don't believe me, ask Mitt Romney about the 47%.
So Francis I doesn't believe anything like that, just like many Americans. But Francis may have done a little more thinking than we did. Maybe he found out that in the present system we've put together, the deck is so baldly rigged that it's better to just let the poor get flushed down the drain, as long as somebody can come out ahead on the deal.
This may account for the opposition to Obama's health plan. More people getting better care may mean lower profits for the pharmaceutical companies. Continuing a "divinely inspired" opposition to things like the Death with Dignity Act in Oregon may mean higher profits for homes where people sometimes spend years living like vegetables while draining the bank accounts of their loved ones. I'm anxious to see where Francis comes down on this.
The main objection to Francis' message about loving the poor is that they just don't "contribute." In the good old USA, everyone has to pull their weight - unless you can get somebody else to do it. How can you make money out of people who have no money?
Poor people are noted for, among other things, an unwillingness to spend large sums of money on crap. That is, except for the crap they're forced to eat because they can't afford anything else. Large firms have come up with all kinds of highly profitable items that contain "empty calories" to fill cash registers rather than basic nutritional needs. This may be why the Republican budget of Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and most of the other well-fed members of the majority cut the snot out of school lunches, childhood health care and early education while preserving anything remotely connected with the military, including billion-dollar programs the brass says it doesn't even want. Francis would be against that.
The new pope said, while in Argentina, that much of the poverty in that country was caused by multinational corporations. That message would go over like a turd in a punchbowl if said in the hallowed halls of a Republican caucus - or maybe even in some Democratic ones. How can goodness be identified with poverty? Everyone knows that success can only be measured by the bottom line. Ask The Donald.
What Francis was saying, I feel, was the same kind of message presented once before by a poor carpenter who threw money changers out of temples. Both of them despised the rigged deck that passed as economics in their time. Then, the pharisees and the priests controlled the deck along with the army. Now, we have "too big to fail."
Poor? You're kidding, Francis. After all, we don't have lepers here and the prostitues can go to jail unless they're celebrities. Everything's just fine. Look at the stock market. The Bible says you can't serve God and Mammon. The big money's on Mammon.