Francis and Biden
I notice I’ve been gone from this space for a month. I figured out how to circumvent the computer problem a while ago but have been putting writing energy into my next book and letters to editors.
Pope Francis inspires me. Anyone who is not positively affected by him has something wrong with him or her. If this statement is judgmental, so be it.
I have not changed my opinion, however, that Francis doesn’t get it when it comes to justice for women. The gravest injustice against women is training people to pray to a lord, the ultimate cause of all gender injustice. As my latest letter in National Catholic Reporter states, “The Lord/Father image is cherished and difficult to dislodge. But how could never praying to her and always praying to him not affect gender relations?”
A few weeks ago I listened to Joe Biden being interviewed by Stephen Colbert. What sent me to find the interview online is Mark Shields on the PBS Newshour saying that this interview should be viewed by everyone in the country, especially every candidate for president. Listening to Biden was like listening to Pope Francis. And it gave me the same uplift I get from reading the words of Abraham Lincoln.
What is their common feature, the one that penetrates and disarms cynicism? Depth. A connection with the Inner Realm that comes from spending time in communication with it.
Biden teaches us by example to be utterly without guile. He must have had a superb upbringing, shown by quotations from his parents sprinkling his conversations. Negative feelings, the ones people don’t want to admit, like shame,low self-esteem, or wanting misfortune for others, are not part of his make-up.
Francis went through a classic period of purification to become the shining example he is now. In his first leadership role for Jesuits in Argentina he was an authoritarian stickler for orthodoxy, as shown in a fascinating PBS documentary I recommend. He was transformed from being a hostile opponent of Liberation Theology to advocating for it. Liberation Theology interprets Christian faith with a focus on poor people. It began in Latin America and calls for social change to mend structural injustice.
I wish, but do not have realistic hope, that Francis would undergo another transformation by experiencing the feeling of abuse victims always forced to pray to a lord.
Still, I find myself smiling as I listen to all the rhapsodizing comments about Francis in the media, particularly those coming from non-Catholic pundits. A satisfying departure from Trump-mania.
And yet, it is the Christian-based West that has been the creator and promoter of gender egalitarianism (on a large scale.) On your view, we should have found egalitarian societies evolving in the world's nontheistic cultures. But, we don't. In fact what we find is the opposite- the cognitive traditions, those that are accented towards the transformation of consciousness, have been some of the most inegalitarian societies.