Focus Friday: Pope Francis visits the United States


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


For this week’s Focus Friday, we discuss Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. and the impact he is having on Americans.

Is the outrage over the Pope’s stances justified?

Opinion columnist Carol Cao: It depends on the stances. If we’re referring to the recent general conservative outrage over him, it tends to come down to conservative politicians scratching their heads at the Pope’s desire to assist the marginalized and increase the prospect of the poor. Whether or not the Pope will live up to these ideas, the conservative opposition to these expressed idea says plenty more about them than the Pope.

Opinion columnist Austin Turman: Absolutely not. What Pope Francis is advocating for are the values of his faith. By inviting him to speak to the U.S. people and to discuss Congress directly, you shouldn’t be surprised about him repeating those values. Speaking about the concepts of helping the poor, saving the planet, ending the death penalty, or ending xenophobia are not shocking for the person who is the face of a faith based upon mercy and doing good for your fellow man. Perhaps what is shocking is that it took so long for any Pope to address the issue of helping fellow humans.

Opinion editor Anthony Torres: Pope Francis is arguably emulates Jesus more than any Pope in modern times. He’s not only speaking about poverty and helping the needy, his action portray someone who genuinely cares about everyone. After his address to Congress, he’s even eating with the homeless instead of lawmakers. People who are angry about his comments on climate change or income inequality need to remember that basic Catholic values include helping those who need help. They need to stop with this “he’s bad for America” talk, because it’s absolutely ridiculous.

Is he changing your view of Catholicism? 

Torres: Even Al Gore is converting Catholicism because of this Pope. I was raised Catholic my entire life but stopped practicing because of a pompous priest who preached about how condoms were the devil. Here you have a pope who forces his caravan to stop, so he could bless a homeless man on the side of the road. He is showing what Catholicism truly is at its core and is an amazing example of a human being.

Turman: Being a secular person, my attitudes on Catholicism have not changed. My hope for a reformed Catholic church, however, has. Pope Francis continues to drive the church towards a humanitarian goals and reforming the internal problems they have had. Former Popes have granted asylum to certain clergymen who have been accused of child molestation, and Pope Francis has put a stop to it. It’ll take time, but I believe the vision of the current Pope is changing the direction of the church and making a better institution for help, not profit.

Cooglife editor Karis Johnson: Pope Francis is the new name and face for Catholicism’s most prominent position, but my view of the world’s largest religion is staying the same – despite Francis’ fresh take on modern issues. With the Pope’s stance on topics such as abortions and climate change, many people have accused him of directly opposing the fundamentals of Catholicism. While the Pope’s decision to speak out does reflect the Church due to his high position, I believe it reflects open mindedness and a desire to work through these issues. Rather than gasping in horror at his discussions on abortion, we should look hopefully at the leader of the Church as he tackles the tough questions — something the Church has had a hard time doing over the past few decades.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment